Speeches | iSisters Technology Mentoring

02 November 2011

Honourable senators, I rise today to commend the work of iSisters Technology Mentoring, a charitable organization that connects women in need with technology through mentoring. Founded in 2001, iSisters has built eight learning and technology centres in Ottawa and has graduated over 1,400 women from its programs. These remarkable achievements will be celebrated this month as iSisters marks its tenth anniversary.

iSisters increases the economic earning potential and independence for women in poverty in Ottawa who are unemployed, have limited education and depend on government services for basic needs. On-site classes are offered free of charge, delivered by talented mentors to help women gain technology and employability skills that offer a critical stepping stone to opportunity and improved quality of life.

iSisters' award-winning programs are built through strategic alliances with non-profit community partners. Currently, iSisters has learning and technology centres at Ottawa Community Immigration Services Organization, Cornerstone Women's Shelter and St. Joe's Women's Centre. iSisters also has a mobile lab at Operation Come Home and Tewegan Transition House. The mobile lab is designed to take iSisters' technology training workshops to young women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

Learners in these programs typically have little or no experience using technology. Most of the learners have limited education and are often intimidated being in an academic classroom setting. iSisters works with partners to recruit, maintain and graduate learners from its programs. These efforts are highly successful as the participation completion rate is over 95 per cent.

I encourage Canadians to visit www.isisters.org to learn firsthand the personal stories of women who have benefited so much from the iSisters programs. Congratulations to the board, staff, volunteers and supporters on the tenth anniversary of iSisters Technology Mentoring. You are leading the way in technology learning development. You are truly empowering women in our communities, offering them hope, compassion and opportunity.

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