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Groundtruths: Powerful Women! Case Studies on Advancing Gender Equality with VIDEA, Project Ability and Rainbow Refugee

August 6 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Register Here


Join us to learn about the work of Project Ability, VIDEA and Rainbow Refugee in supporting women living with vision loss in Fiji, young Indigenous women in Uganda and Zambia, and persons seeking refugee status in Canada due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, respectively. 

Presenters will be sharing their case studies, their lessons learned, and context-specific as well as general recommendations for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Project Ability works with post-secondary students and working age adults living with vision loss in Fiji to identify key challenges that they experience, increase awareness about current technology and accessible mobile apps and discuss current Canadian practices to support blind and visually impaired youth and working age adults in the areas of education, employment, and advocacy. This project has helped to identify some of the systemic attitudinal and institutional barriers for people, especially women, living with vision loss and has helped to identify gaps in services in the areas of education, social welfare and social protection. Learning about the realities of accessing disability related supports in Fiji has created the foundation to develop and deliver a variety of programs for those living with vision loss, including life skills, career development, and assistive technology. 

VIDEA’s International Indigenous Youth Internship (IAYI) program works with Indigenous women, men and gender diverse youth from across Canada through a 4 month education program. Interns have the opportunity to work with and learn from grassroots organizations in Uganda and Zambia and connect social justice issues including gender equality, good governance and environmental sustainability within a global framework. Through building connections based on friendship and solidarity, interns have the opportunity to get to know their Zambian and Ugandan coworkers and identify the similarities and differences between Canada and their host country. The internship program is often a time of personal growth and many interns return to Canada and seek out opportunities to build up their own communities and the leadership of other youth. Both of our presenters are former VIDEA IAYI interns themselves and are now staff members!

Founded in Vancouver in 2000, Rainbow Refugee supports and advocates with Refugees who have faced persecution due to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression, Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) or HIV status.  Refugee protection remains a critical safety net for LGBTQI people  in a global context where over 70 countries continue to criminalize SOGIESC diversity. Rainbow Refugee champions the rights of LGTBQI forced migrants, promotes safer, just migration and fosters communities of belonging and mutual support in Canada.  In this presentation we will share highlights of our recent advocacy efforts. 


About the Presenters

Anu Pala

Anu has worked in the non-profit sector for over twenty years in the areas of education, career development, program coordination, vision loss rehabilitation, technology training, project management, and event coordination. Anu has also worked on media and public relations initiatives including radio broadcasting, freelance writing, public speaking, and media coordination for fund-raising events. Currently, Anu offers services through her small business, A-Nu Vision Coaching & Consulting, works part-time with the Surrey Women’s Centre, and volunteers with SIETAR BC and the Measuring Up committee through the City of Surrey. In addition, Anu hosts a weekly podcast called A-Nu Vision with Anu and Ira which addresses topics related to health, wellness, and lifestyle.

In 1991, Anu lost her vision due to a retinal detachment. Despite this setback, she has not allowed it to define her, but rather uses it to fuel her towards meaningful work-to inspire, motivate and empower others to maximize their potential and opportunities and work towards living a positive and meaningful life. As a woman of colour living with vision loss, Anu values diversity, inclusion, and equality for all.  In April 2019, Anu completed her undergraduate degree in professional communications at Royal Roads University and was the recipient of the founders award. Anu was recently selected to participate in a delegation through BCCIC to attend CS64, Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Anu’s philosophy is to experience life with enthusiasm, positivity and a glass half-full attitude. When Anu is away from the computer, she enjoys baking, spending quality time with family and friends, and travelling.











Vanessa is passionate about helping build a sustainable future for our indigenous youth and partners overseas. Vanessa, who is from Simpcw First Nation in Barriere and a past VIDEA IAYI intern, thrives on being a life-long learner. She loves taking training to better her education and believes that education makes her family and community stronger. Her most recent certification was becoming a First Responder in her community. Vanessa coordinates some of VIDEA’s youth work in the Okanagan region, plays other fabulous roles in our team, and in non-COVID times, Vanessa is one of  VIDEA’s IAYI Community-Supported Cohort, Indigenous Youth support people, set to accompany Indigenous interns on their journeys to Zambia and Uganda.


Taleetha Tait


Taleetha is passionate about Indigenous and African American rights – coming from two ancestries that have deep rooted histories of injustice, it has been a passion of Taleetha’s since she was a child. Taleetha coordinates our Indigenous internship programme and is usually based in Zambia or Uganda. Taleetha brings immense depth of thought, innovation, and wisdom to our team. Taleetha takes being multi-talented to another level and we’re yet to find anything that Taleetha doesn’t rock at. Fun facts about Taleetha: she was a VIDEA IAYI intern in 2015 in Bandali, Uganda; she finds herself washing interns’ hair in almost every cohort in Mumbwa, Zambia; and she is an artist, doing nail art in her spare time. 



Powerful Women! Case Studies on Advancing Gender Equality with VIDEA, Project Ability and Rainbow Refugee

When: Thursday August 6, from 12:00 – 1:30  pm (Pacific Time) 

Where: Zoom

Cost: Free for BCCIC members, $30 for non-members.

Register Here



August 6
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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