Canada Programs & Partnerships

IWEN & Kelowna Women's Shelter team up to fundraise for Okanagan youth


Two local non-profit agencies with a shared passion for helping women are teaming up to raise money. IWEN Canada, which works to provide educational opportunities and sustainable life skills to marginalized women and children, has donated 50 scarves to be sold at the Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift Store.

All profits from the scarves, which are made by rural, ethnically Tharu women in Nepal and retail for $20 each, will go directly to support the Shelter’s Inside/Out Violence Prevention Program for Youth.

“We’re delighted to partner with IWEN, who shares our passion for supporting and empowering women to be all they can be. This fundraiser is a simple and effective way to collaboratively promote the good work both our organizations are doing in the community and raise money to support a valuable preventive program,” said Women’s Shelter executive director Karen Mason.

The multi-week, in-school Inside/Out program helps youth learn about healthy relationships, conflict resolution and self-esteem in order to stop the cycle of violence before it begins.

“IWEN is excited about the opportunity to support youth in the Okanagan through the Inside/Out Violence Prevention Program,” said IWEN co-executive director Tamara McLellan.

The Women’s Shelter Thrift Store is located at 6 – 368 Industrial Ave., and is open from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Donations are accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Penny Jamieson, left, and Janet Davey, right, from the store check out some of the scarves.


Through 2016-2017, IWEN partnered with Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) and the Elizabeth Fry (E. Fry) Society to bring wellness groups to the immigrant women of the Okanagan. 

The first group was facilitated by E. Fry and took the format of a walking group that allowed women to meet, to chat on their walks, to get outside and enjoy exercise and the fresh air. As the weather turned colder, we started meeting over coffee and discussed topics like depression, isolation and immigration.

For the second group we partnered solely with KCR and moved the group to their new office. We hosted weekly topics around self-care. Over the eight weeks, the women enjoyed self-care discussions, a cooking class, walks around downtown Kelowna to discover new local community centres and a yoga class. They were given the opportunity to bond over stories of settling here in Kelowna and given tools to integrate.

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For many years IWEN has sponsored the annual holiday potluck put on by the International Women's Committee (IWC). The event is well attended by a diverse group of women (last year held 47 nationalities all in one room!) It brings the international women of Kelowna a chance to gather and connect over what we bond over best - food! The IWC group also brings in speakers to discuss a local aspect of living in Kelowna, so there is an educational component. It's a beautiful event and we are proud to partner with IWC.


In prior years, IWEN had sponsored the FOODSAFE program for immigrant women, to give them training in a field where they might be able to get a job.