Multicultural Women's Association
44 Torbay Rd. (Nuport Building)
St. John's, NL
(709)-726-0321 – Kaberi Debnath
Origins of the group: The Multicultural Women's Association in St. John's, NL is attuned to the needs of immigrants. An autonomous and non-profit organization, the Association formed in 1986 as a part of the National Organization of Immigrants and Visible Minority Women of Canada in Ottawa. The group includes over one hundred families today in St. John's. The Association seeks to assist previously isolated women and provide them with the resources to thrive and grow. Activities emphasize wellness, exercise, and awareness, as well as encouraging the continued growth of cultural diversity within the community.
Highlights of group's history: What is the vision of the Multicultural Women's Association? It is equality for women through and through, and a united voice within Canada and the community of St. John's itself. The Association provides a medley of programs with these goals in mind, such information sessions about cancer, where it provided the opportunity to talk to a doctor.. The Association seeks to empower women with information about common issues. These information sessions are impressive not only for information they provide, but in the thought that the Association puts into them: easy to understand language and no differentiation or racism in any of its programs or services are key. The Association promotes religio-cultural diversity by ensuring that none of the foods provided to the session-goers will contain any beef or pork and that vegetarian options are available.
Present Goals of the group: The Multicultural Women's Association has a strong interest in reforming the services provided in St. John's so that they are "culturally competent." This ideal means that anyone who immigrates to St. John's will find them to be valuable, easy to use, and targeted to their needs. With women's equality at the forefront, the Association has Violence Prevention Services. Importantly there are frequently male participants in this prevention program. These activities are a great example of the partnerships that the Association builds in the community. For instance, working with the Newfoundland Sexual Crisis Center, women in shelters are counselled and taught preventative measures. Another goal of the Association is to make women aware of their rights. Recently, the Multicultural Women's Association has also commenced a Computer Training program funded by the Women's Policy Office of the Newfoundland provincial government.
The Multicultural Women's Association is breaking down language barriers with businesses in St. John's. Through its Cultural Awareness and Diversity Education Program the Association is teaching services and businesses how to make themselves more accessible. So far, between ten or twelve businesses have been trained in this area and growing; the Human Resources Department at Memorial University is currently undergoing the training. As for facilities within the office itself, these include an onsite childcare room, a large meeting room, and a computer. The Association also puts out a newsletter advertizing upcoming events and news.
Recreationally, the Multicultural Women's Association is extremely active – rug-hooping, yoga, and meditation are favoured activities within the group. An excellent manifestation of all of their goals, beliefs, and success can be seen in the annual International Food and Craft Fair put on by the Association in St. John's (a calendar of events is available on the Association's website). The most recent International Food and Craft Fair was a success – live music from various cultures, tables of crafts and supermarket goods from every corner of the world, and delicious food tables which included Afghanistan, India, Greece, Sierra Leone, and many more showcasing their culture's best in food.
Career exploration is another focus of the Association, and it frequently extends invitations to such groups as the RCMP Recruitment Group to come and speak to the immigrant community: getting new Canadians out into the workforce in St. John's is a large initiative that the Association is dedicated to: it is the ultimate provider of cultural diversity within the community. Helping women find a career that's right for them, teaching them about their rights, emphasizing equality, reforming services so that they are useful and usable for the immigrant community, providing a network of support and outlets for expression, and being at the forefront in the promotion and continuation of cultural diversity in St. John's are just some of the ways that the Multicultural Women's Association is making St. John's the rich, diverse place that it is becoming..
Leaders and contacts: The Multicultural Women's Association can be contacted at the street address, telephone number, and website above (under Contacts and Information)
Facilities: The facilities within the office include an onsite childcare room, a large meeting room, and a computer.
Information: The Association puts out a newsletter that announces upcoming events and news. Please contact the Association to receive a newsletter.
Recreationally, the Multicultural Women's Association is extremely active – rug-hooping, yoga, and meditation are favored activities within the group.
Schedule of Events: A calendar of events is available on the Association's website