Thursday, December 13

Low Income Women's Group Goes Under

There's a question as to whether WISE (Wellbeing thru Inclusion Socially and Economically) can survive beyond this month, when their second SWC grant expires.

Thanks to changes to SWC made in the Fall of 2006 by the Harper government,WISE and all other unincorporated women's groups - almost exclusively run by marginalized women - are no longer eligible for SWC grants. For WISE, this means we must immediately change the way we do things.

WISE began in 2003 as one woman's vision, to make a difference in the lives of low-income women like herself. Over the next four years, WISE gathered homeless and other women in poverty into its fold and grew into a national movement. In 2006, with the aid of the second of two grants received from Status of Women Canada (SWC), local WISE groups began to form in BC communities and the seeds of others began sprinkling nation-wide.

WISE developed its Scarlet Letter Campaign. Scarlet Letter workshops share elements of both learning opportunity and pep rally, by combining listening, learning, and lifting participants' self-esteem through validation and reinforcement of their individual and collective value and power. Among other topics, workshops discuss the root causes of poverty, how WISE is addressing them, and offer practical accessible methods for women on low income to work together to lead change from within their own communities.

WISE, as it has existed over the past four years is, therefore, shutting down effective December 15, 2007. They have cancelled their phone service to reduce expenses and will cancel their post office box if they do not receive sufficient funds before its renewal comes due January 30th.

Will they survive? That has a lot to do with timing, but they are foreverhopeful. Their history has proven them capable of pushing the boundaries of what low-income women have been expected to achieve.

CONTACT: Chrystal Ocean, Coordinator.Wellbeing thru Inclusion Socially & Economically

No comments: