Action Dignity Society (formerly Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary)

we serve these populations

  • aging population
  • children and youth
  • immigrant newcomers
  • indigenous communities
  • women

we need help with:

  • domestic violence
  • education
  • mental health
Equity Deserving Community Led

Impact Story

“I was an accomplished man before I moved to Canada in 2014. I take pride in my career working for the United Nations.  After my retirement, all I wanted was to reunite with my children in Calgary. Moving to Canada was life-changing for me, I got to be with my children but after living for most of my life in a large city with over 8.5 million people and warm sunny climate, coming to Calgary was a big change. I didn’t realize how difficult it is for older adults like me to live and settle in Canada until I experienced it.

I was very lonely at first. I had to be on my own most of the time when my children had to work. I missed everything, my relatives, friends, my own home, and my country of birth.

I knew I had to do something. I had to find new friends. I met Bangladeshi older adults who, like me, were also having a hard time connecting with people of their own age group and feeling lonely and isolated.

One day, I met a Bangla teacher and that connection changed my life. She connected me to Action Dignity, an organization that provides leadership training to immigrants and refugees. What caught my interest was their training program which provides practical tools, skills, information and contacts that I can use to help me and help others. I loved the fact that the training ends with an action plan that I could shape and implement to achieve my goal of helping immigrant and newcomer older adults help themselves through connections.

In between three training sessions that I attended, I went around contacting as many older adults as I could, learning about services available, improving my communication skills, and gaining more confidence in talking to people whom I have never met.  I felt good about connecting my contacts to programs and services. I finally started to realize that as I was helping other people, I was also helping myself feel adjusted to life in Canada.

I didn’t want to stop. I attended more training sessions and served as a community connector for older adults. Through the bi-weekly training sessions, I learned about services for older adults as well as provincial and federal benefits and services that I never imagined exist. With more knowledge, I was able to help more people. I also encouraged those from the Bangladeshi community to participate in events, overcome loneliness, and find friendship and support.

With support and encouragement from Action Dignity’s staff, I worked diligently with the Bangladeshi Community Centre to develop a Seniors’ Club which now meets twice a week. The club has been gradually attracting a larger group of older adults at every meeting. The club is not only helping older adults, but also adults who are transitioning to retirement.  The club helps people prepare ahead of time for their retirement, which I know will give them a sense of security and a happier life. I am working hard with the Bangladeshi community to promote the club as a safe and welcoming group that provides genuine support.

Participating in ActionDignity’s leadership training program helped me fulfill my desire to support and improve the life of others. I have come to realize that a newcomer retiree like me who started with barely no contacts outside of my family, can make a huge difference in the community. I am so proud to say that I did not only get help for myself but others too.”

Who we are:

We are a country steeped in indigenous histories and fused in a mosaic of cultures. We pride ourselves in being a nation that respects and values differences. We see equality as a right but as it is with many of our rights, we must fight for it. We must never take it for granted and always remind each other of its importance. We exist to ensure all of us experience this right. We never forget how our differences make us stronger and how our conviction of being a fair and just community is always upheld.

Each one of us is responsible for the quality of the community we live in. We all play a role in building our community and our future. We must act for our rights and our beliefs. We can all demonstrate our support and the value and respect we have for each other, with every interaction and at every moment.

It’s our choice what kind of future we build. Our actions define us. Help us build a future we can all be proud of.

Action Dignity Society (formerly Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary) was established in 2002 amidst the rise in racial tension following the events of September 11, 2001. From its inception, ActionDignity has been in the forefront of many initiatives addressing issues of diversity, human rights, racial inequities and public participation. It has built the leadership, presence and participation of diverse communities in civic activities, public consultations and policy making. We developed innovative approaches that strengthen the role of ethno-cultural communities in the design and delivery of social services, in domestic violence prevention and in neighbourhood strengthening. We have started important research on the impact of policy changes to Calgary’s immigrant population.

Our vision is for Calgary to always be a just and equitable society for all.

We are on a mission to work together with ethnocultural, racialized, and equity-seeking groups to create transformational changes in our communities and society.

What we do:

• Increase public awareness, knowledge and skills for issues important to ethno-cultural communities
• Engage ethno-cultural community members and organizations to create a collective voice on key issues
• Work towards social inclusion of individuals, families and communities, foster natural supports, identify and build on community strengths, bridge between cultures and service providers, and support community-led actions for positive change
• Conduct and share research on the experiences of ethno-cultural community members to inform decision-making and change within public policy, institutions, service systems and communities
• Bridge ethno-cultural community members and organizations with academia, public institutions and national organizations to provide an ethno-cultural perspective on important initiatives through the Broker Strategy
• Strengthen the capacity of ethno-cultural community organizations for community building, cross-community collaboration and civic participation
• Support community-led initiatives that address challenges and concerns

We run programs in the following areas:

Mental Health Systems Change:

The Mental Health Systems Change program aims to improve access to mental health services and resources for ethnocultural communities through transformative systems change. It employs a collaborative engagement and actions by ethnocultural communities, not-for-profits, and institutional partners to address the root causes of mental health issues in policies, practices and beliefs. Learn More

Social Inclusion

Social Inclusion ensures equitable opportunities and empowerment for ethnocultural communities to fully become active citizens. It creates safe spaces for people to connect, develop and implement community-led action plans on priority issues, and build capacities of ethnocultural community leaders and members. Learn More

Gender Equity

The Gender Equity Program collaborates with women’s organizations to strengthen their gender equity strategies and advance systems change and policy advocacy. To promote gender transformative programming, it actively engages men and boys. The project trains peer and natural supports to identify, respond to, and refer domestic violence cases, while fostering transformative conversations with men and boys to promote healthier gender relations. Learn More

Workers’ Rights

The Workers’ Rights program aims to empower essential workers in the meatpacking and healthcare sectors to drive a safe and gainful working environment. It provides training on workers’ rights. The program deploys strategies such as community engagement and organizing through ethnocultural communities to inform systems change in policies, practices and decision-making, among others. Learn More

Public Safety

Public Safety builds upon our current work with various grassroots ethnocultural community groups to promote a pro-equity, intersectionality and anti-racist outlook among communities within mainstream organizations. The program aims to build specific supportive relationships across racialized groups and mitigate the impacts of discrimination and racism. Learn More

GrOW Platform

ActionDignity’s GrOW-Platform (Grassroot Organizational Empowerment) initiative is a transformative learning and engagement approach enabling grassroots organizations to collaborate, organize collective actions, strengthen member capacities and develop organizational competencies to address organizational sustainability needs and community issues. Learn More

Ways to Help:

Pursuing the vision of a just and equitable society for all is complex work but with your help, we can achieve it.

There are many ways you can help, here are a few:

Donate: Your contribution is more than a donation; your support enables us to continue building strong communities and cross-cultural connections so that we achieve a more respectful, inclusive and welcoming society for all.

Volunteer: We are always looking for volunteers who are passionate about serving the community and creating a better Calgary for everyone. With our unique programs that support diverse groups, we offer a variety of ways for you to connect with your community.
Be a Champion and Advocate: You can help champion the cause for ethno-cultural communities. Be involved in promoting respect for diversity, participating in public policy initiatives that support ethno-cultural communities, and encouraging civic participation of immigrants, refugees and ethno-cultural communities.

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Contact Info

Anne Zabala

HR & Admin Coordinator



More Info

Charity Number: #89785 9609 RR0001

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