TVO – A new country during a pandemic


An article written by By Meagan Gillmore – a Toronto-based freelance journalist.

In her article about how new comers adjust to a new country, Meagan highlighted some of the new approaches taken by FEW to keep engaging new comers and immigrants in our program amid of the COVID-19 situation.

Here is what she said about FEW:

“… Elsewhere, entirely new programs have formed during the pandemic. This May, for example, Focus for Ethnic Women, in Waterloo, started offering online yoga classes for women who have been in Canada for fewer than two years. The organization had planned to start eight weeks of physical-activity classes for newcomer women in April as part of a research project with Wilfrid Laurier University studying how physical activity promotes integration for newcomers. COVID-19 disrupted its plans. “We firmly believe that physical activity is very important, especially during stressful times,” says Renu Bhandari, FEW’s executive director. The organization had moved its regular computer-literacy class online and decided to use Zoom for yoga as well. (Wilfrid Laurier University helped pay for an instructor, but the class is separate from the research project the two organizations are undertaking.)

Attendance has held steady at about five participants, though advertising has been a challenge, says Bhandari. Newcomers often learn about programs at community centres, which have been closed due to COVID-19. Privacy restrictions made it hard to find prospective students, because community centres can’t just give others the names of their clients. “These seem to be little things, but they are big hindrances,” Bhandari says, noting that not all newcomers have access to computers or social media.

Read full article here

Picture of Our Mission

Our Mission

To support women in the Waterloo Region by providing a nurturing, culturally sensitive environment that builds self-esteem, social networks, employment related skills and connections to meaningful employment.