Calgary Immigrant Women's Association

non profit

CIWA takes a holistic and wraparound approach to addressing integration challenges immigrant women and their families face when settling in a new country. CIWA’s mandate is as follows:

  • VISION: 
  • Empower immigrant women. Enrich Canadian society.
  • National leader in transitioning immigrant women to success in Canada.
  • VALUES: 
  • Equity. Excellence. Inclusiveness. Empowerment. Collaboration.

During its 40 year history, CIWA has developed innovative programs, entered into partnerships and become an organization that is truly responsive to the unique and diverse needs of its constituency. Over the years, CIWA has made the transition to Canada a more comfortable, pleasant and successful one for more than 80,000 immigrant women.

CIWA focuses its financial strategy on strengthening core programs in the areas of settlement, language training, employment skills, and family services. We also respond to tenders for new pilot initiatives by developing innovative program ideas to compete with other agencies for government funding. We feel confident that our funders value the good work that we do for clients and our adherence to standards of professional accountability.

A key component to CIWA’s financial growth and sustainability involves the enhancement of fund development strategies through research, consultations, networking and development of strong partnerships. We will continue to work towards expanding funding for enhanced language training projects, skills training, and other projects aimed at supporting clients with basic needs and/or family violence issues. We hope that our effort to connect with the corporate sector will provide further stability for the organization through small projects that will benefit our clients and the entire Calgary community.

Over the years, CIWA has been locally and nationally recognized for our commitment to serving immigrant women and their families through collaborative and innovative approaches to service delivery. Most recently, CIWA programs, volunteers, staff and clients were the recipients of the following:

  • “She Who Dares” award in November 2017
  • Women in Law Leadership Award 2017
  • ‘You Rock’ Award from the Calgary Youth Justice Society 2017
  • Obsidian Awards in the categories of Immigrant Community Service and Philanthropist, 2016
  • Council of the Federation Literacy Award for the Province of Alberta
  • The Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award, 2013, 2017

CIWA programs and services are offered in the following five core areas:

  • Settlement and Integration Services provide various forms of support and assistance to help clients meet their needs and requirements for their adaptation into Canada. Our programs provide immigrant women with access to information and connection to community resources, volunteer opportunities, legal and tax services, financial literacy training and information and community engagement groups.
  • Language Training and Childcare Services provide language and literacy classes to clients in order to help them achieve proficiency in English at any level. Childcare is provided for our students’ children.
  • Employment Training and Bridging Services offers a suite of bridge to work programs serving newcomers with low-skills, mid-skills as well as professionals.  These programs prepare immigrant women to secure employment in: childcare, retail, food service (fast food and cook positions), security, customer service, administration, accounting, interpretation and translation, and much more. Participants build occupational skills, essential skills, and learn about Canadian workplace culture and the labour market. Participants develop job search and networking skills.
  • Business Development and Entrepreneurship Services offers customized supports, training and connections that enable immigrant women to enter the field of contract work and entrepreneurship. These services include business market linkages, peer supports, freelance opportunities.
  • Family Services provide support for parents and families adjusting to a new culture and life in a new country. Immigrant parents, youth and seniors have access to parenting related information and support, afterschool based programing, leadership opportunities and individual counselling support.

There are many ways to get involved at CIWA.

Whether you purchase a membership, donate to our programs, volunteer a few of hours of your time, work at CIWA or refer an immigrant woman, your support is invaluable to us.

You can help us achieve our mission to engage and integrate immigrant women and their families in the community.

Work with us:  CIWA’s extensive programs and services are coordinated and facilitated by dedicated staff members who appreciate the diverse environment within which they work. They are committed to providing their best, and bring experience, expertise, passion and focus to their roles each day.

CIWA seeks individuals who are community minded and can understand the needs of the clients we serve. In turn, we offer a career experience in an environment that is collaborative, innovative and supportive.

Volunteer:  CIWA truly believes in volunteerism and the potential of all women. Volunteers are a precious resource to our agency and allow us to promote and enhance our services. The mission of the Volunteer Program is to empower immigrant women through volunteering and recruiting exceptional volunteers to support CIWA’s programs and services.

Become a member:  For a small annual fee you can contribute to CIWA as a member of the society.

Donate:  CIWA serves a wide range of clients from low literacy to professional immigrant women. Almost 30% of CIWA clients have 12 years of education or less. These women face issues related to self-esteem, health and poverty, attitude towards education, learning disabilities, family violence, and an inability to support their children in school. It is important for CIWA to support this highly barriered and isolated client group.  CIWA values inclusion and strives to support all immigrant women in their integration process.  Due to the lack of formal education, these women are missing foundational learning skills and are not equipped to function fully in a text driven society. By donating to CIWA, you will be supporting the integration of these multi-barriered clients into our community.

Calgary is a diverse city and we invite you to set an example of inclusion and tolerance by contributing a small amount to our services that will support newcomers in their ability to co-exist with you and your family and contribute to our community.

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Contact Info

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association

Paula Calderon



More Info

Charity Number: #118823657RR0001

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