Most women and gender diverse folks involved in street-based sex work in the DTES, struggle to meet their basic needs. As the result of considerable stigma, poverty, abuse, and trauma, participants often experience low self-esteem. Many participants who visit WISH don’t believe they can learn, or don’t feel safe to try new activities.
The WISH Learning Centre offers marginalized adult learners a safe space where they can develop their communication and self-advocacy skills and begin to connect to learning.
Activities include reading together, responding to questions about a chosen poem or piece of writing, journaling, and writing poetry. There is always a creative activity for participants to engage with both in groups and one-on-one. Participants can also access one-on-one tutoring to upgrade their education. The Learning Centre publishes a quarterly newsletter of participants’ poetry, artwork, and commentary on recent events and announcements.
Many street-based sex workers use the Learning Centre as an alternative to using substances or participating in criminalized activities. Instead, participants can talk about their learning histories and rediscover how they like to learn.
“The more we learn, the more we are empowered to help ourselves. I have a better liking for myself, therefore I am willing to try other things that will further better myself so I can help other people as I have been helped.”
– Learning Centre Participant
Those wishing to find out more about the Learning Centre, and supporting vulnerable women and gender diverse folks in education, can read Literacy for Women on the Streets. Funding for this publication was provided by Capilano College and The National Literacy Secretariat.
Generously funded by:
BC Teachers’ Federation
ABC Life Literacy
Highlands United Church
Province of BC (Gaming)
Learning Centre with Emily:
Learning Centre with Namosh:
Women’s Advisory Group Meetings in 2021:
- Capilano University
- Vancouver Public Library
- Literacy Roundtable
- Carnegie Community Centre
- Vancouver Community College
- UMB Learning Exchange
- Eastside Works
- Work BC
- UBC Humanities, Writing, and Science 101 Programs
- ABC Canada
- Decoda Literacy Solutions of BC