The Shoe Project Provides Precious Moments of Healing

Impact Story

August 24, 2022




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 political persecution by her husband’s home country of Turkey, she and her son fled Cambodia, initially to the United States while her husband went into hiding. With the immigration policies and sentiments toward newcomers at that time, staying in the US did not feel like a safe option.


“The Shoe Project was one of the first positive things that happened to me when we first came to Canada,” said Antepli. “It was challenging at the beginning, not having friends and community to surround you at first, dealing with immigration issues and papers, and Shoe Project sessions were like precious moments of healing and giving definitions to the things in your life that at the time of happening were not named.”


After fifteen months of separation, Nelli and her husband were reunited. Like many refugees, the move to Canada meant leaving a career behind and having to start a new one. In Cambodia, both Antepli and her husband were school principals. Now, she works successfully in an IT field and says it is her new work passion.


Two years after her experience with The Shoe Project, Antepli continues to stay involved and connected.


“Bonding with the ladies I learned about their life experiences and gained understanding that every human being has his/her own battle to fight. I was glad to find this lovely circle of dear friends. Thankfully we communicate with each other, and meet on occasions. I hope that this bond will never go away.”



Nelli Antepli, left and writing mentor Barb Howard 


About The Shoe Project

For the past eleven 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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