Small Ideas: $10,000


The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) is a not-for-profit charitable organization that supports children, youth, and adults who have experienced sexual abuse or assault, and educates the public about sexual violence. We believe that specialized sexual violence support and services should be available to all people, regardless of ethnicity, heritage, faith, gender, culture, age, social and financial status, ability, or sexual orientation. We recognize that immigrants and refugees in particular face unique obstacles that prevent them from accessing our services. Our idea is to launch a pilot program that will help us eliminate some of these barriers.

“Exploring Resilience: Sexual Violence Information and Support Workshop for Newcomers” will be a program centered on the graphic novel "Telling Our Stories: Immigrant Women's Resilience.” Created by and for immigrant women in Ontario, "Telling Our Stories" features experiences of community support and engagement in situations of sexual violence.

After arriving in Canada, newcomers often feel they no longer belong to their old country while also not feeling like they belong here. Those who have experienced sexual violence can feel an even greater sense of isolation. "Telling Our Stories" is a culturally safe tool that will show newcomers that they are not alone in their situations and will help create a sense of belonging. Beyond that, workshops hosted by SACE will create spaces for social connections between newcomers.

The characters in "Telling Our Stories" represent diverse racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations. Their stories are also diverse, portraying situations at home, at work, in school and in public spaces. The breadth of experiences depicted in the novel allows newcomers from a variety of backgrounds to connect to the stories, and hopefully, feel less alone in their own circumstances.

Newcomers may face barriers that limit their movement in the city. Not having access to transportation or childcare might prevent them from visiting SACE. This program will run workshops in the community so SACE will be meeting people where they are. SACE will provide healthy, nourishing food at the workshops to build community and create a sense of safety and comfort with attendees. The workshops will be an opportunity to strengthen relationships, build rapport and connect with folks who may not access SACE services otherwise.

The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) has provided sample copies to SACE that we are currently sharing with the community. Since the novel was created for use in Ontario, it lists support and resources within that province. SACE has received permission to reprint and distribute the novel in English, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, French, and Spanish (strategic to the Edmonton community), with contact and resources information modified for use by SACE, in order to meet the volume and customization needed to deliver our programming in the Edmonton area.

With the success of this pilot project, SACE plans to develop our own unique curriculum set in an Edmonton context. We also see the potential to inform other organizations’ programs across Alberta. This project is only the first phase in achieving our larger goal of becoming a leader in sexual violence support and education services for immigrants and refugees. Through the Aviva Community Fund, we will be one step closer to achieving our goal.

Broker supported

Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton

Location: Edmonton