Empowering Immigrant and Refugee Girls in Edmonton

  • The Girls’ Club at the Ice Castles in January of 2018. Tsion Demeke Abate

Each Saturday morning, the Girls’ Club meets at the Edmonton Intercultural Centre on 9538 – 107 Avenue. This program is a special initiative for immigrant and refugee girls in Edmonton and is run by the Multicultural Family Resource Society (MFRS) and funded by the Canadian Women’s Association.

This space is created for young girls between 9-13 so they could explore their daily lived experiences around identity and belongingness in a safe and culturally-responsive environment. Our activities are based on the girls’ interests and insert discussion topics in creative ways. Fall 2018 starts year three of our program and provides fun-filled activities that support us to celebrate confidence. In the past couple of years, we focused on two themes: identity/belongingness and leadership. We went through a lengthy process of building identity maps to express how we see ourselves in the world. The concept of leadership took us towards the road of learning and unlearning our preconceived ideas and later towards discovering our hidden potentials.

The program also provides opportunities and experiences to form friendships in a creative and fun way. We have naturally developed a sense of community with peers and mentors. We encourage creativity and problem-solving skills as we, together, navigate obstacles and share stories of wisdom on how to tackle an issue that has arisen in our surroundings.

We have started our fall 2018 program by sharing our new-found empowering experiences of feeling confident in the face of emotional vulnerability. By cultivating respectful and supportive environment and by emphasizing common purposes and ideals, we continue to encourage each other to reflect on personal, cultural, and societal experiences.

Our Saturday mornings are fun and playful. It is an exciting journey of exploring, inspiring, expressing, and empowering immigrant and refugee girls to celebrate confidence! To refer/join the MFRS Girls’ Group, please contact Tsion at girlsclub@mfrsedmonton.org or by calling (780) 993-1771.

Tsion Demeke Abate has 12 years of experience working on meaningful community engagement internationally and within Canada. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Alberta, and has a demonstrated history of working in research, policy analysis, and program management. Tsion is also the recipient of the 2015 Recognizing Immigrant Success in Edmonton (RISE) Award for Community Leadership: Immigrant category. She is the Program Coordinator of the MFRS Girls’ Club.

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