Thank you to everyone who participated in “A Celebration of Immigrant Women.” The evening celebration was held at Toronto City Hall Member’s Lounge and brought together close to a hundred attendees. We are very pleased to announce that the event was a huge success with performances by amazing artists and talks by inspiring immigrant women speakers. It was definitely a night to remember!
A Celebration of Immigrant Women event launched a brand new Skills for Change program, Women Connecting with Women, a program designed to provide counselling and support groups, foster networking and mentorship for newcomers women in our communities.
Surranna Sandy, CEO of Skills for Change welcomed all guests and introduced the mission and work of Skills for Change in supporting immigrants and newcomers in Canada. She highlighted that Skills for Change started 36 years ago as a women’s program with an office training for a group of women from Southeast Asia and introduced Women Connecting Women,a new program to support new immigrant women who face multiple social and economic barriers with their integration into the Canadian Society.
Guests were witness to exciting and unique performances by Toronto Arirang Nanta, an all-female immigrants drumming group, a stirring sitar solo performed by Dr. Swarn Lata, and an inspirational spoken-word performance delivered by Gesilayefa Azorbo.
Speakers for the evening included Alyssa Lai, a Digital Marketing Coordinator for the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation. Alyssa was selected as a 2017 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow for her contributions to numerous non-profits and governance boards. Alyssa’s greatest accomplishment to date has been her work with Hamilton HIVE, one of Ontario’s largest young professional networks. At only twenty-four years old, Alyssa was awarded the YWCA Hamilton Woman of Distinction Award and the McMaster Hamilton Community Impact Award.
Alyssa’s talk titled “Finding Your Sweet Spot” touched upon her experience navigating a new life as a newcomer to Canada ten years ago and lessons she learned along the way. Alyssa spoke about her community involvement and how volunteering helped her immerse in purpose-driven work. She said: “I caught the volunteer bug…and it taught me an important lesson about community, purpose and meaning.”
The second guest speaker for the evening was Aisha Addo, the founder of the Power to Girls Foundation, a non-profit created to align young women with female mentors. Aisha is also the CEO of DriveHER, a platform for women to provide safe rides for other women. She shared her journey of being an immigrant women entrepreneur and how she broke personal and societal obstacles to live her most authentic life.
Aisha Addo urged all attendees to find strength from our journeys and from our backgrounds. “Never forget your roots. Never forget where you come from,” said Aisha. This June, Aisha will be awarded the Excellence in Entrepreneurship award at Pioneers for Change, at our annual gala celebrating the outstanding achievements by immigrants in the Toronto region.
We are inspired by all the incredible women involved in the event! It was the perfect way to launch the start of Women Connecting with Women, with women connecting with one another and sharing each other’s experiences.
We believe that immigrant women are an invaluable part of our community. Skills for Change is proud to celebrate and support immigrant journeys and celebrate immigrants who make our city a truly diverse and amazing place to live.
For more information about Women Connecting Women, visit our website: http://skillsforchange.org/womenconnecting Learn how you can get involved by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Skills for Change. Building welcoming and equitable communities since 1982.