Thursday, July 3, 2014

PWG Graduation: A Day of Gratitude and Celebration

On Saturday June 21st, a dedicated group of women came out in full force to support 10 of their peers graduate from the Professional Women’s Group (PWG), a free program run by Dress for Success Vancouver.

The morning began with a round of ya-yas, celebrations, achievements, events, new jobs or any exciting updates the women wanted to share with each other. With the room buzzing with excitement, four women bravely stepped up to the front of the room and one by one, left us in awe with their stories of triumph and how Dress for Success Vancouver had changed their lives. Despite coming from different cultures and backgrounds, the women shared a theme of connectedness: courage, tenacity and relentless determination.

First we heard from Mitra, a single mother from Iran who built a bilingual education center for children in Tehran. She moved to Canada for her daughter, and shared this simple piece of advice “follow and go with your passion because that is where your heart is and when you touch your heart, that is limitless.” Having joined Dress for Success, Mitra has experience unlimited kindness, respect, education and support.

Next was Deepika, born to a conservative family in India who did not support her rights to an education. After her husband lost his business, her life changed in a split second. Homeless with a newborn baby, she overcame depression and became the sole breadwinner for her husband and his family. After the bitter sting of betrayal, they lost their fortune again and came to Canada for a fresh start. Deepika’s mission is to educate all women and men in India to widen their conservative perspectives.

Then we heard from Geraldine, a single mother and victim of spousal abuse. Although she had great jobs in both Manila and Dubai, she left in favour of Canada despite the uncertainty of a different culture and not having enough money to sustain her life simply to give her son a better life. Not having family in Canada, her only support is PWG and events like Impact 360, that give her self confidence like she’s never experienced before.

Lastly, Sunny recounted her struggles over the last 15 months, determined to make a life in Vancouver with the mantra of “failure is not an option.” Overcoming homelessness and immense loss, Sunny came from having nothing to becoming an addictions counsellor and starting courses at Langara College.

After drying our eyes, the entire room watched and cheered as 10 of their friends graduated from their cohort. We wish the 10 PWG graduates the best of luck as they continue with their 18 month program through Dress for Success Vancouver!

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