The Downtown Eastside Women’s Center-Claimed by Nolda Ware. Here are her words:
My best friend and I started volunteering at the DEWC five years ago. My friend’s sister had died after living a hard life…and this Center had been an important place over the years that kept her safe, gave her a safe place to be and honoured her for who she was. They never gave up on her…My buddy wanted to give something back to them and show her gratitude for loving her sister – so together we started volunteering.
It is hard to believe it has been five years. In the world of volunteerism, people come and go…the true purpose and meaning of volunteering can get lost in the need to “boost a resume, get into a good school or get a good job.” When we first started volunteering, we were met with a variety of cynical comments and assumptions…”You won’t last, people just come and go, no one really cares about us or wants to be here they just want to look good, etc etc.” Through the years, we learned so much. Our initial intention of giving back – actually back fired. What we get from the amazing ladies and stories from the downtown eastside is actually way more than we could ever give. We have learned about acceptance, to never judge another human being, to listen and how to just be there – be present and open to a bigger world. Oh I could go on and on…but most important is to thank all the wonderful women and staff I have been lucky to meet from the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center for giving me the opportunity to be a better person. To Give, To Learn, To Live.
Here’s the story of the DEWC…
“For 35 years, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre has provided a safe place for women and children in the Downtown Eastside. We provide practical support, basic necessities and hot nutritious meals to over 300 women and children every day. We support women to make positive changes in their lives by connecting them to a continuum of services including outreach, advocacy, wellness, recreation, housing and skills development.
High levels of violence, homelessness, addictions and poverty characterize the Downtown Eastside community, and women and children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, injustice and injury. Founded in 1978, DEWC is one of the few safe spaces within the Downtown Eastside exclusively for women and their children.
Our community also works towards increasing awareness of systemic injustice and inequalities that contribute to women’s vulnerability. One of our goals is to bring awareness of poverty and violence issues to the general public and to the government.”
registered As: THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE WOMEN’S CENTRE ASSOCIATION
Registered As: THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE WOMEN’S CENTRE ASSOCIATION