The greatest gift

Family resource centre brings healing.

Human connection is one of the greatest gifts to be found at a family resource centre.

When Malofo Fofana lost her husband to cancer in 2014 the Winnipeg Central Park Women’s Resource Centre gave her that gift.

“I would just be crying. When my kids would go to school it was difficult for me to even stay alone in the house.”

At the family centre someone would ask how she is, and then listen.

Malofo with her boys, Hassan and Ahmed, at the neighbourhood family centre where she found support during a difficult time.

Malofo with her boys, Hassan and Ahmed, at the neighbourhood family centre where she found support during a difficult time.

“I would share with them the emotions I was going through and they would support me.”

Malofo learned how to sew from the centre’s coordinator, Melrose Koineh, who she calls ‘Auntie’ out of respect.

“Now I can make dresses. I have lots of dresses that I made for myself, so I am very proud of myself, and it’s thanks to this women’s centre.”

Malofo, who came to Canada as a refugee in 2008, has used many of the centre’s resources and teaching opportunities including the peer support group, computer skills, multicultural cooking and physical activity classes.

She says the community of families at the centre, which is used by many newcomers, helps each other by sharing stories and knowledge about life in Canada.

“It’s very supportive, especially when people newly come to Canada with family.”

It’s just one of 24 United Way-supported family resource centres around Winnipeg – places of safety where families connect to resources, community supports, and their neighbours. They give opportunities to learn life-skills and provide basic necessities like affordable food, laundry facilities, and job search resources.

And human connection.