The Shoe Project Provides Precious Moments of Healing

The Shoe Project MEDIA ADVISORY     The Shoe Project Provides Precious Moments of Healing   CALGARY (August 12, 2022) — When Nelli Antepli crossed the snowy Canadian border by foot with her four-year-old son, she could not have known that The Shoe Project awaited her in Canada.   Escaping the very real danger of…

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Why I am a Monthly Donor – Danielle McLaughlin

Why I am a Monthly Donor – Danielle McLaughlin     I have been involved with The Shoe Project since its earliest days.   Since the meeting sessions in the basement of the Bata Shoe Museum to the fabulous performances by the Project participants across Canada, I have been a proud supporter and enthusiast. Now, as…

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Why a Participant of The Shoe Project became a Mentor

The Shoe Project MEDIA ADVISORY   Why a Participant of The Shoe Project became a Mentor   TORONTO (May 25, 2022) — When Camila Uriona joined The Shoe Project in 2015, she had no idea that six years and a pandemic later, she would be coaching and mentoring other newcomer women to share their stories.…

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How a confusing voicemail message led to a life changing workshop

The Shoe Project MEDIA ADVISORY How a confusing voicemail message led to a life changing workshop   CALGARY (March 15, 2022) — The Shoe Project returns to the stage at Contemporary Calgary on March 27, 2022 as part of the High Performance Rodeo.  Twelve women from around the world will be sharing their stories of…

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The Shoe Project’s Annual Report 2021

Thank you to our outgoing Board of Directors: Katherine Govier Toronto (Chair) Nick Rundall Toronto (Secretary) Georgina Steinsky Toronto Heather Gardiner Toronto Danielle McLaughlin Toronto Roya Chalaki Calgary Barb Howard Calgary Filiz Dogan Toronto   Board of Directors voted in at our December 2021 AGM: Barb Howard Calgary (Chair) Barb has been on The Shoe…

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The Shoe Project Rebuilding Immigrant Women’s Lives

The Shoe Project (TSP) is a unique initiative with Canadian writers and theatre people giving immigrant career women the written and spoken skills to succeed. In workshops and through individual coaching, they are given the tools to launch new careers by being trained to write and perform their stories. Now celebrating ten years TSP is…

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The Shoe Project Survey Study Shows Major Positive Impacts on Participants

TORONTO (January 10, 2022) – In 2019 The Shoe Project (TSP) commissioned a professional survey of 25 participants (approximately 14% of total number of participants), five mentors and ten audience participants which showed its significant success in rebuilding immigrant women’s lives.   Many immigrant and refugee women coming to Canada have left behind good careers…

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In The Flow

Outstanding psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi died on October 20, 2021. Surprisingly, the story told by Shoe Project participant Irina Umnova is directly related to the meeting with this incredible scientist and man. In memory of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, we publish this story.     6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Irina Umnova Toronto, George Ignatieff Theatre, March…

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IN THEIR SHOES: The Shoe Project launches Afghan Fund

IN THEIR SHOES The Shoe Project has created In Their Shoes, its fund to support and empower women arriving in Canada from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.     The fund will allow Afghan women to attend all its workshops, coaching sessions and performances with the support they need through its network of former refugees.   The Shoe…

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Are you an immigrant or refugee woman with a story to tell?

  Join The Shoe Project in Calgary this Fall   October 13, 2021 – January 31, 2022 10 writing workshop meetings via Zoom 6:00 to 8:30 pm on Wednesdays Drama & voice coaching in December and January   What will we do? Twelve women will work with Calgary author Barb Howard to create a 600-word…

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Saima S. Hussain, “Interrupting a Conversation about Islamophobia”

Multiculturalism has been a fundamental characteristic of the Canadian identity for 50 years. Speaking on the occasion of this date, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Canada became the first country in the world to adopt a policy of multiculturalism…  While we have made important progress toward a more inclusive and equitable society since then, much…

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In Memory of Aaron Berhane

By Katherine Govier, novelist, founder and Board Chair of The Shoe Project   One of the tragic ravages of Covid was the death, at 51 years old, of Aaron Berhane, journalist, professor and a brave man born in Eritrea. He was a friend of mine, and of The Shoe Project.   When I first met…

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The Shoe Project Shorts: Immigration Stories Told on Film

  MEDIA ADVISORY Canada’s The Shoe Project makes leap from stage to screen Catch short films by immigrant and refugee women on Multiculturalism Day   TORONTO (June 15, 2021) – No Canadian experience. Job-seeking immigrant and refugee women in Canada are often rejected by potential employers with those words, a systemic challenge The Shoe Project aims to change.   In…

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Teenaz Javat, Mississauga ON

The ‘village’ that saw us through childhood is falling apart     Almost 14 months into the pandemic and it suddenly feels like it’s got me. I live in Mississauga, Ontario with my husband and adult children, while the rest of my immediate family live in India. My sister and I grew up in a modest flat…

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Joy Kogawa, “It Feels a Bit Like Déjà vu, Anti-Asian sentiment”

By Momoye  Sugiman   We are alarmed by reports of assaults targeting Asian Canadians. However, it’s too easy to attribute the upsurge in hate crimes to frustrations over COVID-19. We spoke to author Joy Kogawa, friend and supporter of The Shoe Project, who was one of the first to break the silence of Japanese Canadians…

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Grandma Therapy

By Simten Osken, Shoe Project alumna   How can we help people who suffer from despair and depression and cannot seek professional help because they don’t have enough money? Dixon Chibanda, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist in Zimbabwe, developed an unexpected quality psychological support method carried out by non-professionals. He trains grandmothers to treat depression. And…

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Immigrant Arts Mentorship Program

ICAI is excited to announce the Immigrant Arts Mentorship Program (IAMP). IAMP is a program for immigrant and refugee newcomer artists and/or arts administrators to connect, learn, and grow through one-on-one mentorship with an experienced colleague in their artistic discipline. ICAI has identified a need for community building and professional development for immigrants especially newcomer…

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Sanaa Al-khannaq Calgary AB

How The Shoe Project Stories Helped Me During the Pandemic       Many people are feeling lonely during the pandemic. But I have found that even though we cannot visit friends and family as we used to, we can still find companionship with the characters in stories. I always love hearing and reading stories.…

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Venera Loshaj-Balaj, Surrey BC

Turning COVID Fear Into A Memorable Experience     At the beginning of COVID, quiet, empty roads in Surrey, where I live, reminded me of the fearful days before the war in Kosova’s streets when we were afraid of torture or even killed by the Serb police. Now all the world is threatened, and the…

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Himanshi Upadhyay, Vancouver BC

We Should Be Careful What We Dream     I am living in my living room and watching cartoons for the whole day.  This was my dream when I was eight years old. As my husband took over our bedroom to work from home, and we live in a one-bedroom condo, the only place left…

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Zeynep Ergun, Calgary AB

Keep It Simple     I am a stay-at-home mom with my kids in grade 3 and kindergarten. I stay busy raising my kids and doing housework. When the COVID spread in Calgary, we panicked. We didn’t stock up on food or toilet paper, and we were worried about getting infected by the virus. It…

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Nelli Antepli, Calgary AB

Life That Prevails     Chilly air surrounds my booked operation room. I slowly breathe in and breathe out through a blue mask. This is a new protocol for a C-section operation in Covid-stricken reality. While looking at the ceiling, I gather my thoughts and notice that I am processing my emotions on a conscious…

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Manisha Shrestha, Canmore AB

Working from Home – in Nepal     Work from Home (WFH) was new terminology for many Nepali people. I had never imagined that so many people in the world would have to adapt to WFH culture immediately after the COVID-19 outbreak. My office declared to continue the WFH policy when the countrywide lockdown came…

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2020 Giller Prize Winner Souvankham Thammavongsa

“I am interested in the art of writing, the joys and pleasures and the power of reading.”   Souvankham Thammavongsa, author of short-story collection How to Pronounce Knife, answered questions of an alumna of The Shoe Project Simten Osken.     Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself beyond your official bio?…

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Ava Homa, “Minority Writers Have to Work Thrice as Hard”

Ava Homa is a Kurdish-Canadian journalist and author. Her debut novel Daughters of Smoke and Fire (HarperCollins, May 2020) weaves fifty years of modern Kurdish history. It is an evocative portrait of lives and stakes faced by 40 million stateless Kurds and a powerful story that brilliantly illuminates the meaning of identity and the complex…

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Ngozi Onyinye, Edmonton AB

Life Indeed is a Gift     Sitting in my living room in Edmonton, looking out the window, staring at the almost empty streets, watching the very few pedestrians and cars I could easily count, I listened to the reiterated announcements on the news. Stay home as often as possible to curb the spread of…

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Read about us in Halifax Examiner!

COVID & Us: Immigrant women share pandemic stories Marwa Kuri, Victoria Shulga and Marcela Cameron, the Halifax coordinator of the COVID & Us project, share their experience from the “COVID & Us:  Newcomer Women in Pandemic” project with  Halifax Examiner.  Read more about this fantastic new project hosted by The Shoe Project.     Marwa…

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Gurpreet Nain, Toronto ON

Back to School 2020     It has been quite a struggle to get into my profession, especially as a newcomer to Canada. I was supplying in different schools as an occasional teacher when the pandemic struck. The schools were closed indefinitely, and suddenly, there was no need for substitute teachers. I was jobless, but…

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Women’s Courage Can Change the World

By Irina Umnova   Fall is the time when magazines and newspapers are nominating persons for the title of “The Person of the Year.” Maybe, the best and unexpected candidate for this title in 2020 is Women of Belarus.     This summer, women of Belarus have become the face of the movement for a…

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Levia Ququezana, Calgary AB

“It is Okay.” “We are Okay.”       On March 16th, an announcement in the school where I worked filled my mind with a strange feeling of relief. “Classes suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19.” Until then, I had too much to teach, to learn, and too many classes to prepare. I thought that teaching…

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Our American Friends!

Foreign Bodies is a newsletter and online community centring immigrant and refugee experiences. Every Monday, subscribers receive a roundup called the Monday Matter. These roundups include personal essays, a reader recommended books, the latest news coverage on immigrant mental health, and news and resources.   The Shoe Project was mentioned this week in their Monday…

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A Happy Birthday

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Iman Al-Jarsha Vancouver, The BMO Theatre Centre, January 2020     In the big, silent room I could hear my breathing. My sons Omar and Zaid were frozen in fear.  Their eyes looked at me, asking, “Are we safe? Is our journey over? Is our dream coming true?” We…

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No Safe Haven from Racism

Rhoda Akuol Philip   After violence and insecurity uprooted me from my home country of South Sudan, I spent my early years moving from one internally displaced people camp to another, in search of a safe haven. I settled in Kakuma Refugee Camp in 2003. Kakuma afforded me food, shelter, and basic education thanks to…

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Little Shoes

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Venera Loshaj-Balaj Vancouver, The BMO Theatre Centre, January 2020     During the war in Kosova, we were forced to leave home and become refugees in Montenegro. After a few months, money ran low for food and rent. There was no hope that the war would end soon. We…

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The Only Friends I Had

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Jing Cheng Vancouver, The BMO Theatre Centre, January 2020   A young university student ends up in a dorm with the four “Pink Girls.” She tries to escape their bullying but only succeeds when she reconnects with a pair of old friends.     My university dorm roommates were…

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My Shoes Left Behind

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Shaima Badry Vancouver, The BMO Theatre Centre, January 2020   An eight-year-old girl takes an epic journey in a convoy of people fleeing the army of Saddam Hussein.     There was knocking at the door. It was our neighbour. “You have to leave, sir!” “No!” said my father.…

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My Brown Bata Slippers

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Ambika Thambu Toronto, The George Ignatieff Theatre, March 2020     These are my new brown Bata slippers, but today I will be presenting to you about my very first pair of brown Bata slippers. There are many things that play a significant role in our daily lives. Furthermore,…

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Seran Celik, Calgary AB

Every day is Friday     I was working at Rosemont School and always complaining. I did not have enough time, and I wished every day was Friday. My daughters are in grades 2 and 5. Now every day is Friday.  I have a lot of time. My kids started online classes; I was surprised they…

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Noriko Ohsada, Canmore AB

This unprecedented time   During the COVID-19 outbreak, many people are digesting what this unprecedented time means, for the past, present, and future. At first, I was in my survival mode just for my family. But now, a significant conversation has begun. It’s about race. COVID has amplified the implicit racial bigotry and unfair treatment,…

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My Mother and Grandmother Walk with Me

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Lidiane Barreta Vancouver, The BMO Theatre Centre, January 2020     When I was leaving for Canada, my grandmother hugged me and gave me her blessing. She was so beautiful and healthy. I’m the first granddaughter of 19 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, so we had always been very close.…

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In Salmon’s Shoes

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Gurpreet Nain Toronto, The George Ignatieff Theatre, March 2020     On one of my walks beside the Credit River, I stood on a bridge looking into the water flowing beneath. I saw a couple of salmon furiously flipping their fins. They had left the calmer waters of their…

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Natalia Mokhovikova, Richmond BC

Returning Life its Colours     No one was ready for this. It feels like yesterday that my daughter and I packed our suitcases for the upcoming May trip to London. Today we live with COVID-19, isolation, and a sense of anxiety that grows while we listen to news about how quickly the pandemic is…

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Beneath the Surface

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Valentina Ernst-Diaz Vancouver, The BMO Theatre Centre, January 2020     A new LGBTQ2+ immigrant comes to Canada in search of freedom. Yet when she goes to rent an apartment, she discovers she has brought her old fears to a new home.   I ring the buzzer and wait…

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Heels in My Life

6 Minutes with The Shoe Project Vathsala Aswathaman Toronto, George Ignatieff Theatre, March 2020     A new world, new life, new career, new country, new people, and new shoes. Everything was new to me. I still look back on all the happy changes in my life and the journey that made me the person…

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Teenaz Javat, Mississauga ON

TeenazCovid     I will mark 23 years in Canada next month in the midst of a pandemic. I work from work, which is 50 km away from my home, on the evening shift as a senior writer at CBC Radio. I go to an almost empty office. By the time I’m done, it is…

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Tenzin Palzom, Banff AB

My Life in the COVID-19 Pandemic     I was just back from meeting my loving family in India at Arunachal Pradesh, when Canada’s business shutdown started. I reached Banff on March 14. I spent 14 days in isolation at my apartment in Whiskey Jack Crescent whom, I share with my old mate Tsemtso Dolma.…

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The book by Tanaz Bhathena has been awarded the 2019 Nautilus Gold Award.

Great news! The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena has been awarded the 2019 Nautilus Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction! Tanaz is an alumna of The Shoe Project, and we are very proud! The Nautilus Award looks for “exceptional literary contributions to spiritual growth, green values & sustainability, high-level wellness, responsible leadership and…

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Mariana Barron, Banff, AB

I can´t wait to hug my friends     Life in a tourist town is devastated. Our streets are empty, all restaurants and hotels closed, and we are missing the good energy that tourists bring. The place itself hasn´t lost its magic though. We are so fortunate to live in this place with breathtaking mountain…

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Dana Roman, Canmore, AB

Freedom and the Future     Right now we feel like the apocalypse is here, our freedom has been temporarily taken away from us and we are not sure if we will have to adjust our life goals and values. We are realizing what it is to have freedom, which we always took for granted.…

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Umut Duygu Uzunel, Toronto, ON

I  Search for Myself     When the quarantine days started, it was a flashback to me. Three and half years ago, I was in hiding from the police in Turkey for three months. However, there is a big difference between then and now.  These days I have freedom.  I can go outside to walk…

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Cordelia Tang, Toronto, ON

I never thought I would be able to compare my experience in two pandemics     In April 2003, I was in Beijing, China, the epicenter of SARS. My anxiety was killing me. Every night before sleep, I prayed in desperation to wake up from this nightmare. But the next day, the building still smelt…

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Sinthia Zaman, Calgary AB

Critical Reasoning   When I attended university in Bangladesh, I loved studying. But now that I am in Calgary attending an online course, the mother of a toddler, and living in a global pandemic, it is hard to concentrate. Along with cooking and babysitting. I call my family every day in Bangladesh to make sure…

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Shaima Jaff, Vancouver BC

In November 2019, The Shoe Project participants in Vancouver joined writers Caroline Adderson and Carol Shaben for a Thanksgiving dinner to introduce immigrant writers to Canadian writers. After dinner we shared our stories. I talked about my sister. “She’s a single mom, from Kurdistan/Iraq. She has been in a refugee camp in Jordan with her…

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New Chapter in Edmonton

We have a new chapter in Edmonton. The Shoe Project will partner with Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre.  Recruitment is planned to begin in fall 2020.    

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The Shoe Project Shorts

In collaboration with Gerda Cammaer, Associate Professor in Film at Ryerson University, and independent filmmaker Serene Husni, The Shoe Project will turn a selection of shoe stories into short films. With the aid of film mentors,  twelve of our participants will have the opportunity to create short films in their own voice, based on their…

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Rhoda Akuol Philip, Toronto ON

We’re starting a series of short pieces on how you are doing. Read Toronto TSP writer Rhoda Philips on how it has changed her life as an immigrant.   Corona Virus Has Given My Loneliness A Whole New Meaning Being a new immigrant to Canada, I was already lonely. I miss my parents and my…

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