How a confusing voicemail message led to a life changing workshop

Impact Story

March 18, 2022


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 immigration, told through a pair of shoes.

The Shoe Project has a vast network of alumnae who have found its program to be life-changing.

When Seran Celik checked her voicemail left by someone from the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, she thought they were trying to give her shoes.  I don’t need any more shoes, she thought. Fortunately, she phoned back anyway and discovered the call was about The Shoe Project.

Born and raised in Turkey, Celik left school at age 11 to take sewing classes. She took long-distance junior and high school courses. When she moved to Canada in 2009, she could barely speak English and she worked as a housekeeper. She saw people kept books on the nightstands beside their beds. She started reading at night to improve her literacy. In 2018, after the CIWA call, she joined The Shoe Project. The experience taught her writing and performance skills she could never have imagined.

After participating in two Shoe Projects, Celik realized that her improved writing skills gave her much more self-confidence. She took a Registered Library Assistant course, then one for teaching children with learning difficulties. During the pandemic, she completed an Educational Assistant course locally and family engagement and dyslexia courses online.

Celik is on track to fulfilling her ambition of becoming a social worker. Working two jobs and looking after her two young daughters takes up most of her time but there is no doubt that she will someday achieve her goal.

“The Shoe Project was a dream place for me. I am thankful for those who organized it and helped us to achieve our success,” says Celik. “What I received from them I can’t pay back.”.


Seran Celik


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We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.



For interviews with Calgary mentor and Board Chair Barb Howard, or Local Coordinator Aya Mhana or for further information, please contact The Shoe Project communications lead:

Rhonda Risebrough


About The Shoe Project

For the past ten years, The Shoe Project has been changing the way Canadians see immigrant and refugee women, through story and performance. Every journey begins with a pair of shoes. Our alumnae of 250 women from 62 countries credit The Shoe Project with changing their lives, giving them the skills, confidence and support to succeed in a new country.  Many take on leadership roles in the organization. Led by professional Canadian writers and theatre artists, our workshops and performances lift the voices of women immigrants and refugees into Canada’s national conversation.


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