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
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.