NANAIMO — Looking back over the last 25 years, members of a local women's support group see the same struggles repeated throughout the decades.
Inequality, repression and denied services are constants for women, something which the Zonta Club of Nanaimo hopes to change. The local chapter of the international organization celebrated 25 years in Nanaimo on Sept. 20, marking a successful quarter century of fundraising for women's groups and providing resources to those in need.
“I think it's important we look at women's rights as human rights,” Zonta's past president Janice Krall told NanaimoNewsNOW. “We need to give people opportunities to be successful and healthy. In doing so and supporting one another to achieve this, it strengthens the communities we live in.”
Originally formed in 1993, it's grown into a group of roughly 25 constant members who fundraise on behalf of local organizations and offer scholarships for women.
“I believe in helping people and supporting and upholding women, giving them opportunities they might not have had,” Krall said.
To that end, the Zonta Club of Nanaimo marked their 25th anniversary with a $10,000 commitment to the Island Crisis Care Society and the planned expansion of the Samaritan House women's shelter.
The Society is attempting to raise $2 million, which would let them double the amount of available beds and programs for women who are, or at risk of becoming, homeless.
“The shelter was something which really resonated with us because...the need in the community is just incredible,” Krall said. “To think they're turning away women in their 50's who need a warm place to sleep is just so unimaginable in our community.”
The Zonta group also provides breakfast at the shelter once a month, so Krall said the added partnership and commitment made sense.
The silver anniversary is also a time to look forward to the next 25 years.
To that end, the group is working with VIU students interested in working with community groups to identify gaps in care and pinpoint where there efforts would be most appreciated.
This is going to help us plan for our future. It will give us a really good sense of where we can be looking at next to really make a difference in our community together.”
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