Aboriginal Health & Safety Project
The Aboriginal Health & Safety Project (AHSP) is a culturally-relevant response to the many indigenous women who use WISH.
Its purpose is to help Aboriginal women who are involved in the sex trade reclaim their culture, connect to each other, participate in hands on cultural crafts and activities, learn new skills and experience sisterhood. If you are an indigenous woman with current or past involvement in the sex trade and would like to know more about this program, please call 778-892-4234.
It is comprised of three streams of programming:
1 – Aboriginal Evenings
Evening activities such as drumming, beading and dream-catcher making are offered once per week at the WISH Drop-In Centre. These are low-barrier and open to all WISH participants. Non-indigenous women are welcome to come and learn from their Aboriginal sisters, and Aboriginal women are encouraged to participate and to learn about all the programs and services available to indigenous women at WISH.
2 – Individualized Support
The AHSP Coordinator, who is an indigenous woman, offers culturally-safe support for Aboriginal participants. She builds trust with indigenous women who have experienced trauma related to colonization and the residential school experience, in addition to the violence they face on the streets. She has ‘office hours’ in the WISH Drop-In Centre twice a week and makes appointments with women outside these times as well. Her services include help with housing, navigating the court system and filling out forms for ID. She assists indigenous women who need to return to their home communities to be reunited with family and works with the VPD Sex Trade Liaison to help women fleeing violent intimate partners.
3 – Aboriginal Culture & Creativity Program
In this daytime program, a core group of 8-10 women meet twice weekly and engage in hands-on traditional art activities, learn cultural practices and participate in health and wellness themed workshops. Women in this program also go on culturally-relevant outings to places like the Vancouver Public Library, the Museum of Anthropology and Kla-How-Ya Village. Once a month, women in the group participate in street outreach with the AHSP Program Coordinator. They assemble and distribute goody bags to their sisters on the streets, and encourage them to learn more about the AHSP program. There are 2 six-month cycles of this program per year, and a graduation ceremony is held for each cycle
Though these streams are designed to function as a continuum, women can participate as many streams as they like, and can jump in wherever they feel ready to participate.
The Aboriginal Health & Safety Project is funded by the Anglican Healing Fund, RBC Foundation, the United Church Healing Council and the Civil Forfeiture Office in partnership with the Victim Service and Crime Prevention Division of the BC Ministry of Justice.
United Church Healing Council