The Archway Community Connections program hosted their 9th annual International Women’s Day celebration on March 11th at Central Heights Church.
It is hard to put into words the significance that one event can have for those who are new to Canada, who are isolated due to language and other factors, who are here without family that can celebrate with them.
As former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson explains belonging is key to good citizenship. We find belonging in shared lived experiences and coming together with other newcomer women on International Women’s Day means we are not alone in our experience of being new in Canada.
“For our program, hosting this annual event is not just about a few hours of fun. It means working together to build a community of inclusion and belonging for every newcomer woman who arrives in Abbotsford,” said Community Connections supervisor Elise Marier.
Almost 100 newcomer women from 15 different countries gathered to celebrate, create and learn. There were stations for decorating jars of DIY bath salts and henna art application as well as a photo booth. At another station, women were able to decorate planters with succulents donated by Van Belle Nursery.
Ibtihal and her daughter with a succulent planter they decorated.
“The Woman’s Day event helped me to be happy and feeling that I’m not alone. ..most women are homesick, this event gives women the opportunity to get together and making new friends.”
Free clothing and feminine hygiene products were also available for those in need and several community organizations attended showcasing their services available. Participants also had the opportunity to learn more about recycling through the Abbotsford Mission Recycling Program, which is part of Archway.
Attendees were given a take-home lunch and gift bags containing small items such as skincare and health products, photo frames, soaps, makeup, candles, loofas, nail files, water bottles, and a gift certificate for a free pizza courtesy of Panago Pizza.
Thank You to our Sponsors & Volunteers
This event wouldn’t be possible without our venue sponsors, Central Heights Church and their Women’s Ministry. They put so much love into the event and provide ongoing support of newcomer women in the community. We are very grateful for their continued partnership.
We are very grateful to the many businesses and individuals who supported us with donations and the 48 community volunteers and Archway staff who put in countless hours to make this event a meaningful experience for the newcomer women to enjoy.
- Venue sponsor is Central Heights Church and their Women’s Ministry
- Donations were gratefully accepted from many wonderful donors:
“We are very grateful to the many businesses and individuals who supported us with donations and the 48 community volunteers and Archway staff who put in countless hours to make this event a meaningful experience for the newcomer women to enjoy. “
Around the world, International Women’s Day on March 8th brings recognition to the social, economic, cultural and political contributions of women. It is also an opportunity to look ahead and work towards equity for women across the globe.
Archway’s Community Connections program supports newcomer families and individuals from over 40 different countries. We work closely with refugee and immigrant women in our community as they settle and adapt to life in Canada.
This work has led us to hosting an annual event in honour of International Women’s Day. The event celebrates the strength and resilience of women, while also giving them a few hours to enjoy relaxation and self-care as well as create connections with other newcomer women. The event has been held every year since 2012, except in 2021 due to COVID restrictions
Quotes from Attendees
- It gave me happiness and women strength and motivation
- I learned women have too much strength and they do anything in the world
- Help me to find myself to be a happy mother and lady
- I have more friends, my feelings so happy, Thank Archway community and team work. Wish you all the best. Thanks volunteers team.
- It can meet a lot of people, can make friends, because I don’t know anything about Canada at all
- The Woman’s Day event helped me to be happy and feeling that I’m not alone. In my point of view, I think it is important because most women are homesick. This event gives women the opportunity to get together and making new friends. – Ibtihal
- I was very happy that you invited me to the women’s day and really enjoyed it. Thank you for holding this event and the gifts you gave me.
- I enjoyed a lot. The henna, plant and clicking picture sections were awesome. Thank you for organise such a great event.