As a fourth year student of the Bachelor of Social Work Program at Ryerson University, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing staff and other students on the GIFT PROJECT.
We had over 700 applicants for the gift project and were able to support over 200 directly and over 1,000 indirectly. I was able to participate in intakes for the gift project and spoke directly with families about their unique needs and situations.
It was refreshing to do this work in the Durham region community and to connect with many people from diverse backgrounds.
As an Indigenous woman with a child who is mixed with Mohawk, Guyanese and Bajan, this work is very close to my heart. Knowing that there is a place my child can go for support is a massive relief as often she doesn’t see people who look like her in helping roles that are able to work from a trauma informed approachMaggie
Although we were not able to offer food sovereignty and gifts to every person who applied, it was an amazing feeling knowing that some families were able to access food support over the holidays and throughout the pandemic. I felt truly blessed to be able to connect families with the services Ifarada was offering and felt a renewed sense of community.
Across the board all the families were so grateful to receive any support in these times. I learned that the Durham region community is underserviced as it relates to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour and that the inequities of equity seeking groups was tremendous.
Working alongside other students from different colleges and universities was a fun learning experience and allowed for us to pull for each others knowledge base. The staff at Ifarada were welcoming and supported me to learn more about equity seeking groups. As an Indigenous woman with a child who is mixed with Mohawk, Guyanese and Bajan, this work is very close to my heart. Knowing that there is a place my child can go for support is a massive relief as often she doesn’t see people who look like her in helping roles that are able to work from a trauma informed approach. Maggie, BSW Ryerson 2020
“The Gift Project”
Is an initiative started by Nicole Perryman, Executive Director of Ifarada: Centre for Excellence. During the first few months of the global pandemic, it was clear that many people struggled with feelings of isolation, disconnection, anxiety and depression. These feelings were prevalent, and impacted all areas of their lives. Many young people and survivors of domestic abuse began to experience heightened tensions in their home. A couple of men were arrested for intimate partner violence and threatening, and some youth left their homes to enter foster homes due to abuse and behaviour issues. In addition, the financial issues within people’s lives increased. Not only did income change during the pandemic, but the price of goods and products increased tremendously– sometimes doubled. These factors led to the application for Covid relief funding with the Canadian Red Cross in July 2020.
Through the generous funding of the Canadian Red Cross, Ifarada: Centre of Excellence received $2500 to support “gift packages” sent to women, men and children during the month of November 2020. This project was then moved to, Kujenga Wellness Project in December 2020.
Supporting small Black-owned businesses…
The Global pandemic amplified the experiences of anti-Black racism, and the inequities Black people continue to experience in Canada. As a Black-owned organization, it was clear that we had to support the Black community and use the funding to go back into our community.
Gift Packages included:
- A Gift Certificate for Kyroche Beauty Supplies Store and hair products
- A Clothing Gift Certificate from Order & Khaos Clothing Stores, a Toronto-based urban clothing store.
- A copy of “10 Men 10 Stories”, co-written book by Toronto Men, including Danny Stone
- Toys & art supplies
- A Wal-Mart or Superstore Gift Card, including Shoppers Drug Mart
- A Chapter’s Gift Card