Quarterly E-Newsletter brought to you by Pacific Immigrant Resources Society. Visit us online at

E-Newsletter - March 2012

Table of Contents

International Women's Day 2012 - Highlights
Women Learning Literacy in PIRS Programs
Spotlight on Women's Development Programs

International Women's Day 2012 - Highlights
Celebrating the Day with PIRS at Collingwood Neighbourhood House

Many thousands of women around the world celebrated International Women's Day on March 8 - a great opportunity to focus on the accomplishments of women and the challenges they face.  This year's theme, set by the United Nations, was 'Empower Rural Women - End Hunger and Poverty'. Here are a few figures to note, as we wave goodbye to the day for 2012 - but hold on to the values and goals it represents.

Worldwide, women make up almost 50% of agricultural workers, and are critical to the agricultural health of many communities.  The United Nations estimates that if all agricultural women accross the world had access to the same productive resources as men, such as fuel, seeds, and access to credit, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%.  And that could lift 100 - 150 million people out of hunger!  

 Immigrant women face many challenges when adjusting to a new community and trying to find work to support themselves and their families. Pacific Immigrant Resources Society has focused on this cause since 1975.  This year the International Women's Day spotlight was on women's health and well being as we believe that strong women create strong communities.  Working together with the Settlement Team at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH), we provided a series of workshops for women and a community celebration together.  Here are some highlights!

PIRS Board Member, Elizabeth Briemberg, gave a speech at the International Women's Day Celebration

“Never let fear win. It is frightening.  Fear will always be there. But never let it stop you from doing what you want to do,” (Angela Baines - Keynote Speaker).
"This celebration gave me an insight into the web of support that immigrant women in Canada have through its neighborhood houses and immigrant societies.  It is great to be a part of strong and empowered women, and organizations which make helping women its main mission" (Melissa Briones, PIRS Volunteer and Building Bridges Participant).

ESL Students and their children at the Celebration


Immigrant Women Learning Literacy in PIRS Programs
Some women have just recently arrived in Canada, and are learning how to speak and read from scratch.  However, the majority of our Literacy class participants have lived in Canada for a longer period of time.  These women have had other priorities - namely caring for their families - that have postponed their own English education.  Despite those challenges, Lisa Rilkoff, our ESL Teacher, observes that they have amazing minds.  Many of her learners organize an enormous amount of information in their heads, without the tools of pen and paper.  In each women's mind is a library containing complicated recipes, extensive shopping lists, appointments, and medication instructions, amongst countless other things.  She points out that learning how to read and write is a very gradual process.  Many learners will stay in a literacy class for years. It is important for teachers to nurture a positive "slow movement" in the classroom by keeping their lessons and assessment methods simple and celebrating all the small steps that students take in the long climb toward reading and writing independence.

PIRS supports our learners and the diversity of their learning styles.  We believe that they deserve a chance to be successful in their own way.  To learn more about PIRS Literacy Programs please visit our site at  

Spotlight on Women's Development Programs

Building Bridges is a leadership and facilitator training program for women.  Our focus is to increase the leadership capacity of women by introducing the concept of facilitation, community engagement and group development.  We believe those are focal learning points in accelarating toward successful integration.  Sixteen immigrant women are in training and we have been connecting them with our fellow service providers for their practicum placement in the local communities.

PIRS stays true to its mission, enabling women to thrive in the community where they can contribute personally and professionally for the betterment of Canadian society.

Call for Volunteers! 

Are you interested in working with other women on a PIRS committee to support our growth and activities?  We'd love to hear from you if you have an interest in and skills related to public relations, fundraising and organizing special events.  You'll have fun as we accomplish great things together!  For details, email

Copyright © 2012 Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp