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APNA Peel Gala – Empowering Our Women

Anokhi DIY Anokhi Today Breaking News & Sports World Mar 22, 2013

More than 300 hundred people gathered in Mississauga to celebrate the women of Peel at United Way of Peel Region’s South Asian Advisory Council APNA Peel Gala Empowering our Women. The event was held at the Sagan Banquet and Convention Centre.

South Asian corporate leaders, public figures, visual artists, dancers and one very funny comedian from Brampton – all empowered women themselves – were featured at the event. No matter what their background or their calling, they are women who inspire others and provide hope.

Within Peel, there are 22,597 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 65 who have been physically assaulted in the last five years by their partner. That represents 7 per cent of the region’s population. The trauma of domestic abuse for women is demonstrated through overwhelming numbers of women and children trying to obtain services for shelter, support and safety planning.
“The reality is there are women in our community who are victims of violence and abuse,” says Shelley White, United Way president and CEO. “United Way invests in vital social programs led by our agency partners, research, public policy advocacy, and collective efforts to tackle underlying social issues. One of our priorities is to enable safety from abuse and violence. Collectively we need to raise our voices to stop the violence.”

“The South Asian Advisory Council has made a commitment to create awareness about this issue in Peel’s South Asian community and to help United Way create change for those that need support,” says Esa Para Esananda, chair of the Council. “This evening is about empowering the women in our lives and the women of our community.”
The event’s Honorary Chair is Raj Girn, founder, president and CEO of Anokhi Media. Girn has come to represent an icon of an empowered South Asian woman in the Greater Toronto Area.
“I, as you all know, am a woman. I am considered to be an empowered woman by default of being the president and CEO of ANOKHI MEDIA,” says Girn. “What very few people know is that my journey to empowerment has been long and challenging because initiatives like these by the United Way organization did not exist to educate and assist me to empower myself when I needed it. My story is indicative of many women from within the South Asian community and beyond. I choose to believe that life is what you make it. What YOU make it, not what life makes of you.”

Jake Dheer, station manager at Rogers TV, and broadcast journalist Indira Naidoo-Harris were the evening’s masters of ceremony. The event was sponsored by Canadian Labour Congress, Deloitte and Rogers TV.
About the South Asian Advisory Council
The South Asian Advisory Council was established in May 2009 to assist United Way in understanding the needs and challenges of Peel’s South Asian community. The formation of the South Asian Advisory Council is part of a broader United Way initiative to foster and build relationships and address key social issues within ethno-specific communities in Peel. Members of the council are volunteers of South Asian descent living or working in Peel Region and constitute a mix of individuals coming from diverse subgroups of the South Asian region, comprising of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
About United Way of Peel Region
United Way of Peel Region inspires people from all walks of life to come together to raise funds, volunteer and stimulate policy and attitude changes that lead to the improvement of people’s quality of life in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. United Way’s community investment focus is on helping individuals and families move from a life of poverty to one full of possibilities, ensuring all children have the opportunity to be all they can be, and building healthy, strong communities. For more information on United Way’s work in the community visit:
Photos and Release courtesy of United Way of Peel Region

Sources: and openchest
Feature Image: Anokhi Magazine 


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