In recognition of International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, I would like to acknowledge a group of women I have been working with for the past several years. That group is the Fort Frances Native Women’s Association.
This small group of dedicated women has managed to provide safety to more than 75 women and their children since 1996. They also have held computer training courses that were attended by about 32 people.
They have done this by having garage sales and raffles, and holding Bingos. They have received some help from service agencies and local business people, but they have not received any operating dollars from any government—either federal, provincial, or municipal.
Because of this, they cannot offer full service to the many women who really need those services. The volunteer staff are a part-time co-ordinator, a bookkeeper, and a maintenance person.
The dedication of this group should receive special acknowledgment on International Women’s Day as they represent what is best in women—their ability to perceive a need and fill it; to give of themselves for better lives for others; and the determination to keep on in the hopes their hard work is rewarded by the awarding of funds from some level of government.
Considering the fact the world is coming to Fort Frances in May to honour the district for being a safe community, maybe the community would join me in commending these women for their volunteerism—and honour them for their tenacity in overcoming such financial odds—to make our community a little bit safer for women and children.
Anyone wishing to help the Fort Frances Native Women’s Association can contact me at 274-1815.
Mary Lou Parks