Sometimes singing is the only thing that can lift one’s spirit. The late, great Pete Seeger sang, “It’s a song about love between my brothers and sisters all over this land.”
One way that Spirit’s Call Choir is helping welcome immigrant women is with songs they will share at a benefit 7:30 pm, Friday, May 9, 2014 at Jubilee Place, 173 Talbot Avenue. Proceeds from the concert will assist the Immigrant Women’s Association of Manitoba (IWAM) to continue their necessary work in helping immigrant and refugee women transition to Canada.
Services offered by IWAM, 128-424 Logan Avenue, include outreach, counselling, drop-in times, yoga, meditation, computer classes and specialty workshops on topics ranging from mental health, post partum depression, interview skills, healing circles and understanding taxes, to name just some of the issues addressed.
Membership in IWAM is free for all those who believe in supporting refugee and immigrant women and their families through difficult times.
Maral Poorali, Project Co-ordinator, takes great pride in the work she has been able to do at IWAM as one of two staff members. She values the mission of IWAM to address the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects of immigrant women’s lives. As someone from Iran who had to learn all the little things so crucial for survival in her new land such as how bus transit works and how to dress for winter, she can relate to women who are overwhelmed by “the white things coming out of the sky.”
Poorali helps to facilitate the safe environment for immigrant women who need to access free phones and computers in order to learn about programs and resources pertaining to housing, employment, childcare and how to deal with stress.
IWAM is the first port of call for thousands of immigrant women who need help with the practical and the emotional impact of transitioning to a whole new world. “We are a starting point where the women are listened to with respect,” says Poorali.
Lesley Whitten, IWAM Board Member, says their goal is to “provide the prerequisites for building a life in Canada. We are most appreciative for Spirit’s Call Choir’s concert proceeds as our agency receives very limited funding from government and we could not do what we do for immigrant and refugee women in Manitoba.”
IWAM offers culturally sensitive therapeutic counseling (204-414-9452) as well as an outreach program to access assistance with legal and medical appointments.
Group and individual English as an Alternate Language tutoring programs for immigrant and refugee women are much needed services also provided by IWAM.
Whitten says, “We know we have done our job when the women no longer need us and feel integrated into Canadian society. They are our success stories.”
Past winners of the Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award, Spirit’s Call Choir acknowledges the important work of the Immigrant Women’s Association of Manitoba by working tirelessly to produce a top notch evening which features Gentil Mis nominee for Canadian Immigrant of the Year Award. Click here to learn more about Gentil’s inspiring story.
Even more concert highlights encompass a Pete Seeger sing-along classic, a tribute to mothers and a powerful original score, Sing, by choir bass John Oldham and conductor Jeremy Vallance. Renowned for their “feel good concerts” Winnipeg’s Spirit’s Call Choir will also feature accompanist Heajin Kim and a variety of musicians on banjo, drums, oboe and cello.
To round out a fantastic evening there will be a sneak preview by Those Guys of their upcoming event at Manitoba Theatre Centre.
Tickets for this Spirit’s Call Choir show on May 9 can be obtained by calling Margaret at 204-488-0078 or IWAM at 204-999-3137. Adults are $16, while youth (ages 5-17) are $5.