Women and Youth Empowerment

From its beginning SAWRO has worked for the empowerment of the community’s women and girls. Our organization sees a deep connection and dynamic interaction between women taking a leading role in broad social movements and their own empowerment. This approach is embodied in SAWRO’s motto, “If the Women Advance, the Whole Community Moves Forward.” As SAWRO works to end the all-round marginalization of our community’s people our work for empowerment is focused on enabling women and girls to lead the community in achieving the needed change.

This approach informs the design of all SAWRO programs. In employment programs, for example, increased personal agency of women is an important program goal. We also deliver an array of empowerment programming specifically aimed at increasing the personal agency, confidence, knowledge and leadership skills of individual women/girls; increasing the capacity of community women/girls to exercise collective leadership and increasing opportunities for women/girls to participate in civic action.

These programs have been very successful. During the past year 30 women and girls participated in leadership training and development programs sponsored by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the City of Toronto and Unifor.

Reaching to Empower Youth

SAWRO’s work to end the marginalization of our community includes work for full participation of girls and young women in Canadian life. The current focus of this work is support for the teen and pre-teen girls activity group REY (Reaching to Empower Youth). REY engages girls and young women in recreational, cultural and social activities and provides them with opportunities and supports for community leadership and civic engagement. A recent success of REY was the completion of a girl-led community education project on preventing gender violence sponsored by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. REY girls were also active in organizing a very popular community summer festival this year. In addition to activity programming SAWRO provides employment and volunteering opportunities for teen girls in its service projects during the summer and during the school year.