Helping Women Help Themselves

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Helping Women Help Themselves

Vancouver, CanadaVancouver, Canada
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Helping women to help themselves.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The Vancouver Women’s Health Collective(VWHC) facilitates the access to health care for the most marginalized and impoverish women of the Downtown East Side (DTES). The DTES is one of the poorest postal codes in our country and is saturated with drug and alcohol addiction, single mothers, immigrant women, etc. We are a non barrier clinic, which means that all can access it, you do not need an appointment, to speak english or need transit to get to our location. Our facility is ran 95% by community volunteer activists who help make a difference in the community by donating their time, experience, education, language, and diversity to the cause.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The VWHC is in need of expanding primary and secondary health care services to women. Our mission is to empower women to empower themselves. In July 2011 we serviced 221 clients, in July 2012 we serviced 576 clients at our collective. Similar statistics show that: June 2011 was 277, and June 2012 was 571, May 2011 was 240, and May 2012 was 521, women serviced in these months have doubled since 2011. We are in need of increasing our services and hours of operation that we provide to our clients. Currently our Nurse Practitioners are booked daily with wait lists for appointments. We would like to increase our Nurse Practitioner hours, increase from one part time paid staff to two staff, increase our hours of operation and become more financially stable. Over the next 5 years our rent will be increased from $1500 per month to $2500 per month ($18,000 to $30,000 over five years). This increase is our primary reason to need to increase our sustainability.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The VWHC offers primary and secondary health care to our clients, and by use of these services it spreads from our clients through to community to increase health, betterment, and wellness throughout. We know that if our clients are taking care of themselves then they in turn will take care of their family and friends. Programming in place at present includes Nurse Practitioner hours, where our clients have access to 30 minutes with a Nurse to go over health concerns, on average a client will get 5-7 minutes with a GP. We offer Yoga by donation to women of the DTES, to allow for opportunity and access to wellness which is extremely important to personal health. Bi-Monthly we have book discussion groups to keep women engaged. Weekly we have HIV support groups for women to have discussions regarding their needs, concerns and challenges. Lastly we have a resources centre, where we have computers and resources (books, internet, and reports) for the clients to keep up to date, on Doctors in Vancouver, use of word, excel and internet to assist in finding employment.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our competitors are local women's organizations: Vancouver Coastal Health and Native Health. However we are the only Women's Only health care provider. Our peers include but are not limited to (as we build new relationships and partnerships daily): BC Women's, Central City Foundation, Battered Women's Support Services (BWSS), Native Health, CAW local 111, ATIRA, Women Transforming Cities, and Vancity bank.

Founding Story

 AHA Moments happen every day at the Collective. The proof is in the interactions we see between our volunteers, our practitioners and our clients. Each day, we are presented with constant affirmations that confirm our values and mission as a Collective. Our potential to change the world happens one woman at a time. We assist women in empowering themselves, which impacts the greater society bit by bit. Our Originating Aha! moment happened in 1971, when social worker Melanie Conn visited her doctor with concerns about the Dalkon Shield, a poorly researched IUD that ended up causing serious injuries in many women. He was rude and made her feel like a "stupid woman". She left the doctor's office humiliated and frustrated with her experience. It was this experience that motivated her to post an ad in local women's paper. Her ad brought together a group of women who were also frustrated with the state of the health care system, and from those early meetings the VWHC was born in 1972.