The “Refugee Women Count” project was a year-long initiative by the FCJ Refugee Centre in Toronto. The project assisted in developing unique and diverse skill sets of newly-arrived refugee women through a popular education, anti-oppression, feminist approach. The project was unique in its capacity to address how precarious immigration status intersects with wider societal and civic participation. The project was focused in promoting a thorough understanding of the rights and responsibilities of participants, aiming at equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve greater success and a more equitable participation in Canadian society.
It is our experience that women with precarious immigration status face greater barriers and risk in accessing necessary services in Canada, and become increasingly vulnerable as a result. This project directly offset this disparity by increasing awareness of rights and responsibilities, and providing participants with tactical strategies to increase their equitable and safe participation in Canadian society.
This was achieved through a series of workshops developed and delivered in response to the expressed needs of project participants. Some of these workshops were led by participants themselves, offering an unparalleled platform for skills-exchange and knowledge-sharing. Overall, this project succeeded in creating a space that values inclusive education and community engagement while tangibly responding to multiple forms of oppression and inaccessibility.