This year was one of unprecedented challenges for women across the globe. The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives – and its disproportionate burden on women has created a sense of urgency for our community to act. Now more than ever, the Women’s Centre has a critical role to play in providing the opportunities and support that women need.
This Fall, we have been asking women what they have seen around them that the Women’s Centre should respond to. The answer came back clear: We need community. We need to rebuild our community of support and connection.
We have heard from so many women and girls that having a place to connect with others, either virtually or in person, has been vital during this pandemic, which has exacerbated social isolation and mental health challenges for many. We also know that for the women in our community, contributing is as important as connecting.
We heard this from women like Flora, who came to Canada in 2013. She first came to the Women’s Centre to get assistance with food and personal care items. With pandemic restrictions lifting and the opportunity to volunteer in-person now an option for her, she wanted to give back. Her English was sparse, but her willingness to step up to help was unbounded. In the first few weeks, Flora visited the Centre every day, doing everything from helping to organize our food room to sweeping the front steps. During this time, she also joined the Practice English workshops and formed strong friendships with other women in the Centre.
In her own words, The Centre changed my life in many ways. I got so many answers for my questions, [and] this made my life easier. And also, it made my life more interesting, without the Centre I would feel lonely and would have less meaning in my life.
With your contribution, women like Flora are able to receive direct assistance, strengthen their social supports and friendships, and volunteer to build their community. This is the unique nature of the Women’s Centre; a place where women feel belonging, a place where women can take, and give.
As the year comes to an end, I can’t help but look forward to the exciting projects that are on the horizon. As we move into 2022, women are counting on the Centre to play an important role in bringing diverse women together to advocate for change on social issues that affect their lives, and to inform a just transition in a post pandemic recovery. Equally important is our journey to re-imagining what community, belonging and care look like in a world that has had its social fabric torn apart by lockdowns, restrictions, and a pervasive sense of uncertainty.
We anticipate that over 6,000 individual women will connect with the Centre for assistance, support or an opportunity to connect. We know that each of these women will be experiencing an issue that affects their ability to live their best life.
Today, I ask you to donate to the Women’s Centre – to support not just our vision for an equitable society, but our belief in how that vision should be realized.
We believe that society can and must be more equitable. We believe every woman has something to contribute, that every woman brings something of value to our society. We believe that all of us will face a time when we need help and we believe that all of us will have times when we are able to give help.
I want you to know that I truly appreciate your support of the Women’s Centre and your donation will contribute to making a real, lasting impact in the lives of women and girls in Calgary.
The Women’s Centre of Calgary is planning to raise an estimated $250,000 this year in fundraising campaigns and activities. It will cost us an estimated $10,000 including support staff costs. The money will support the Women’s Centre programs. For more information, contact the Centre at 403-264-1155