Helping refugee women integrate into Canadian society with education and support
Refugee Women’s Network’s mission is to empower women with tools and resources to enhance and develop their skills through education to successfully integrate into Canadian society, while still maintaining respective cultural values. Our vision is to help refugee women become a vibrant part of Canada’s economic and social development growth.
What we do
At Refugee Women’s Network, we help immigrant women throughout the course of their settlement by providing sustainable skills to enable them to support their families, to advocate for their children and to sustain aging family members. These are the same challenges that Canadian women face as well. We will help asses their language abilities, provide language programs, prepare them for formal education, provide financial support for training and development and help them become confident, empowered and self sufficient.
Who are refugees?
Refugees are specifically defined and protected in international law. Refugees are people outside their country of origin because of feared persecution, conflict, violence or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order, and who as a result, require ‘International protection’. Their situation is often so perilous and intolerable, that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries, and thus become internationally recognized as “refugees” with access to assistance from states, UNHCR and relevant organizations. They are so recognized precisely because it is too dangerous for them to return home, and they therefore need sanctuary elsewhere. These are the people for whom denial of asylum has potentially deadly consequences.
Why help women?
- 48 percent of migrants are women
- Women are the primary family caregivers
- Women advocate for children, elderly
- Are viable economic contributors
- Women promote education and sustainability
From 2001 through 2006 the population of immigrant women in Canada grew by 14 percent. That is four times more than women born in Canada. It is projected that by 2031, Canada will have 11.1 percent of immigrants and 52.3 percent is made up by women.
Our Learning Lab
Learning Labs are designed to help refugee and new immigrant women learn English in a supportive and safe environment. English is a crucial tool for women to help settle in their communities. Being able to communicate proficiently enables a woman to advocate for their children, speak to their doctors about their care and provides them with opportunities to upgrade their education.
Education and Training and Development
Education and Training & Development supports women arriving in Canada with a professional degree from their country, which is not recognized in Canada, by retraining at a Canadian University. The program builds a bridge between language assessment and financial support to undertake the degree program as a beginner.
Women Helping Women
Women Helping Women is a support group offering refugee and new immigrant women opportunities to share and discuss challenges they may be facing. Through the conversation group, women are encouraged to become advocates for their children and elderly family members by seeking support from the group. Refugee women need the support of the Women Helping Women support group to help them through the physical and mental trauma they have faced.
Volunteers are an integral part of Refugee Women’s Network. Our programs are volunteer-run, from the Learning Labs, to the Women Helping Women support groups to the Education and Training & Development program.
Our future five year plan includes the following:
- Raise funding to hold Learning Labs in different locations throughout the city
- Recruit volunteers to run Learning Labs in various locations
- Recruit more volunteers to hold Women Helping Women support groups in two to three spots
- Five year fundraising plan with focus to have an office space with rooms to run Learning Labs, computer center for women in educational programs and support groups.
- Organize referral for settlement and immigration
- Onsite counselor to support women facing transitional challenges