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My Journey to Canada: Dreams, Hopes and Reality. What they didn’t tell me.

June 2, 2019 @ 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

About The Session:

According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, Canada had a foreign-born population of almost 7 million people. They represented 20.6% of the total population, the highest proportion among the G8 countries. Out of these almost 6.5 million identified as visible minorities. 65.1% were born outside the country and came to live in Canada as immigrants and one of the three largest visible minority groups were South Asians.

I am an immigrant South Asian woman and I believe that my story is pertinent to the issues faced by marginalized women. These are issues of inequity, racism, lack of opportunities, structural barriers, displacement and many others. As women face higher roadblocks and tougher challenges in finding their place in society, this topic is relevant to all women in BC, Canada and across the globe.


About The Speaker:

Sonia Andhi Bilkhu – Founder of Shakti Society

Sonia Andhi is a long time Surrey resident. Sonia is well known in the South Asian community and in the social service sector as the founder of the Shakti Awards and a skilled family counsellor.

Sonia came to Canada in 1987 from India. Since then, she has been actively engaged in community initiatives for the last 30 years. She has coordinated various projects, the South Asian Women’s Centre, research projects with the UBC Schools of Nursing and Social Work, Pacific Post Partum Society, sat on various committees and boards like UN Women BC Advisory Committee and Surrey Women’s Centre.

As a social worker and family counsellor, she has worked with the most vulnerable populations. She has seen how children as young as ten are struggling with academic challenges, poverty, depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies and gang involvement. She also works with parents, teachers and other school staff to support them in the challenges that they face in their jobs.

Working from a community centred approach, she founded the Shakti Awards to address the issues of family violence and empowerment of women. She has honoured over 130 women since 2000 with the Shakti Award.

Sonia currently chairs the media sub-committee of the Network for Eliminating Violence in Relationships (NEVR) which is comprised of over 50 stakeholders, such as teachers, police officers, non-profit organizations and media from Surrey and Delta. She is an elected board member of the BC College of Social Workers. She has recently been appointed to the Social Policy Advisory Committee of the City of Surrey. Sonia is also a delegate for her union to sit on the local chapter of the District Labour Council.

She holds three degrees, BA, BSW, MSW and currenty works at Project Parent Fraser South, a program of Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Delta Hospital, Shakti Society and has a private counselling practice.


About the Longhouse Dialogues:

The Longhouse Dialogues is a Women Deliver Mobilization-satellite event from May 31-June 5, 2019 that BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) and partners are hosting. It consists of six days of exciting events and dialogues that will explore issues pertinent to women and girls in BC and Canada, the Longhouse Dialogues complement the Women Deliver conference while being free to the public.

Please visit our new website for more information: www.longhousedialogues.com


Harbour Green Park
1199 W Cordova St,
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