Message from the President
While the Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre (RIWC) is particularly sensitive to the needs of immigrant and refugee women, newcomers, and internationally educated professionals, our services are available to all marginalized populations within the Greater Toronto Area.
Despite ongoing challenges of the pandemic throughout 2021-22, RIWC was able to deliver on many of the goals we set out to achieve thanks to the dedication of our staff, placement students, and volunteers who remained committed to moving forward with our programs and new initiatives. We are so grateful for all of the support we have received from each and every person involved with the organization. In times like these,
every contribution makes a difference.
To meet both client preferences and safety precautions, most of our programs continued online. Although there was provision for in-person sessions, VAW counselling services were conducted remotely via phone or video. Over 30% of the participants in our employment training programs received financial assistance to obtain a laptop and/or internet access. Supplemental computer classes were made available to those in need
to remove barriers to participation in Zoom sessions. New online workshop content was developed to address the high priority areas of concern amongst Wrap program participants, including housing and health and wellness. We also provided iPad loans and technical support to senior and older adult women enrolled in the Women in the Garden program as part of the digital literacy training component.
Seniors, in particular, were negatively impacted by the pandemic with the loss of community connections. We felt it important, therefore, to launch a Seniors’ Digital Literacy & Wellness project in 2021 for racialized senior and older adult women to promote healthy aging and improve access to information and government services
through technology training and group webinars. Multilingual volunteers and Social Work placement students were recruited and matched with participants for one-on-one digital literacy training as part of our efforts to encourage social engagement.
Online wellness group sessions for 2LGBTQ+ BIPOC youth in 2021 proved popular with positive reviews from participants. Due to the success of the pilot project, we managed to secure funding in 2022/23 and expanded the eligibility criteria to create a space for intergenerational knowledge sharing.
After developing our strategic five-year plan, we look forward to innovating in fundraising and programming to continue to meet the needs of our community!