Gender and Women’s Studies grant helps The Women’s Resource Centre offer immigrant assistance workshops

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Portrait photo of Faith John-Praise
Faith John-Praise is working at The Women’s Resource Centre over the summer.

A grant from the Gender and Women’s Studies program at Brandon University (BU) will help The Women’s Resource Centre support immigrant women in Brandon.

The $4,000 grant, made possible by the Margaret Laurence Endowment Fund, has helped The Women’s Resource Centre (TWRC) extend their employment of Faith John-Praise, who will be putting on Newcomers’ Skills Workshops and Information Sessions through the summer.

John-Praise, herself a former Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) student who graduated from BU with a Bachelor of Arts in 2014, says that being an immigrant woman herself helps her understand the importance of community support.

“When I first moved here, I did not know half of what I know now, and I only know most of that because I’m active in the community,” says John-Praise. Originally from Nigeria, she moved to Brandon to attend BU in 2011 after coming to Canada a year earlier. “I remember my first year, I was the only black girl in a lot of my classes. Now there’s a lot more different cultures in Brandon, and we have to help them with the settling in process.”

She says her workshops will run into August, helping newcomers to Brandon learn about everything from career preparation and job searching to immigration to wellbeing and first aid.

Day-to-day, John-Praise also does administrative work with TWRC and works as a community resource advocate, meaning she’s available to help women in the community access resources like housing, legal assistance, food hampers or more.

“Faith is an incredible resource who brings an important perspective to the Women’s Resource Centre,” says Brandy Robertson, Executive Director of TWRC. “She’s a breath of fresh air, and she helps us enormously getting in touch with people from different backgrounds in Brandon’s growing immigrant population.”

That’s a perfect fit for the Margaret Laurence Endowment Fund, says Corinne Mason, coordinator of the Gender and Women’s Studies program. The fund is specifically designed to foster links between community-based organizations and the GWS program.

“The Margaret Laurence Endowment Fund allows Gender and Women’s Studies to really break out of the ivory tower,” Mason says. “I teach students about theories of intersectionality, and here, Faith is working at the intersections of gender, race, immigration, and rural life in our community. As a gender studies professor, I couldn’t be more happy to be able to support this project and Faith’s work at the WRC.”

Along with the annual Margaret Laurence Endowment Fund, GWS also regularly considers applications for sponsorship (or co-sponsorship) of one-time events, speakers, or workshops.


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