Who We Are
A Bit About Us
Working Towards a Safer Community
Community Women’s Initiative (CWI) is a student-led organization comprised of medical students in British Columbia who are united with a common goal to support and empower women. CWI promotes equity, opportunity, and safety for women in challenging circumstances through education, fundraising, and raising awareness.
EMPOWER WOMEN THROUGH EDUCATION
We believe that learning and sharing knowledge are pivotal in empowering women. CWI provides educational webinars and confidential virtual tutoring sessions to women and children.
ENGAGE OUR COMMUNITY BY RAISING AWARENESS
Local women’s organizations have expressed that there is a critical need to raise awareness of women’s issues in our community. We advocate for women by sharing their stories and creating easily accessible social media materials that promote women’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
FUNDRAISE FOR ORGANIZATIONS & SHELTERS SUPPORTING WOMEN
Currently, women’s shelters in Canada are overwhelmed and underfunded. CWI provides financial support to local women’s shelters and organizations by fundraising through a GoFundMe page, and collaborating with local businesses and charities to host fundraising and item-drive events. Further, CWI serves as a liaison between community partners and shelters to ensure resources get to those who need them most.
How We Got Started
Community Women’s Initiative originated from COVID-19 Women’s Initiative - a non-profit organization that supported Canadian women in challenging circumstances due to the pandemic. An increase in gender-based violence paralleled the pandemic, and to further exacerbate the situation, the social distancing measures in place resulted in many individuals being bound to the same home as their abuser.
Two medical students from the University of Toronto, Karlee Searle and Aman Dhaliwal, recognized the hardship that women across Canada were facing and founded COVID-19 Women’s Initiative in March, 2020. As the number of COVID-19 cases rose exponentially, their initiative quickly gained momentum in Toronto and spread to five other cities across Canada, including Vancouver. Although COVID-19 Women’s Initiative stopped operating in October 2020, various projects that were initiated by COVID-19 Women’s Initiative have been continued through organizations like ours in cities across Canada.
The Vancouver division of the COVID-19 Women's Initiative was run by our six executives who developed strong connections with women’s shelters, recovery houses, businesses, and other non-profit organizations in the Vancouver area. After hosting a successful item drive across the Lower Mainland and making many meaningful relationships with women, they recognized that their community's needs existed beyond the pandemic. They decided to continue their efforts longitudinally under the name Community Womxn’s Initiative.
In May of 2021, we changed our name from 'Community Womxn's Initiative' to 'Community Women's Initiative'. We made this change due to discussions and concerns brought up within our community regarding the use of 'womxn' as a form of trans-exclusionary practice. As our goal is to promote equity, opportunity and safety for all in challenging circumstances we hope that this change will help us towards our goal of increased inclusivity in our ventures.
Chantal is a medical student studying at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Fraser campus. She is passionate about improving women's health and well-being, and advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion in the community. In her free time, she enjoys running, spending time with friends and family, and taking her rescue dog, Honey, on beach adventures.
Agnes is a medical student at the University of British Columbia. Her passions include community outreach and education as well as women’s health. As part of the CWI team, she hopes to promote equity, safety, and respect for women. In her spare time, she enjoys long distance running, spending time with dogs at the SPCA, and eating far too much ice cream!
Olivia is a second year medical student at UBC VFMP, and is one of our Education team leads. She is passionate about empowering women with knowledge and spreading awareness about mental health. In her free time she enjoys reading, going to the beach, and sipping lattes. She is excited for another year working alongside an inspiring team.
Karen is a medical student studying at the UBC Victoria campus. She is passionate about women’s health and hopes to provide empowering experiences for women in healthcare and beyond. In her free time you can find Karen doing anything outdoors or exploring new brunch places.
Shreya is a second-year medical student at UBC VFMP and is one of our Co-Directors of Fundraising. Alongside her wonderful CWI team, she is excited to create positive change by working in the community to organize events, raise funds, and gather donations for Women’s Shelters in the Lower Mainland. In her free time, she loves waffles, working out, and spending lots of time paddleboarding at the beach!
Infographics & Awareness Co-Director
Victoria is a medical student at the University of British Columbia, Northern Medical Program in Prince George, BC. She loves coffee shops, hiking, yoga, and traveling. She is interested in promoting women’s health, improving education around women’s health concerns, and ensuring representation of women in the scientific and academic setting. She is excited to be a part of the infographics team during the 2022-2023 term.
Infographics & Awareness Co-Director
Madison is a medical student studying at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus. Throughout her studies, she has developed an interested in women's health and wellbeing, as well as gender disparities in medicine and healthcare. In her freetime, you can find Madison getting lost in Vancouver, roaming the great outdoors, or trotting around the globe.
Shukria is a medical student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She is very passionate about advocating for women’s health and hopes to play a role in empowering women as part of the CWI team. In her free time, she enjoys learning new languages, long distance running, and drinking a few too many Ice Capps!
Interested in Joining the Team?
There are a number of ways to get involved from helping to raise awareness to joining our team, check out our 'Get Involved' page for more details and for our volunteer intake form