A Toronto Star reporter was at the TD Centre of Learning last week to learn about some of the poverty reduction initiatives. The story, titled Toronto holds onto its shameful title: Child poverty capital of Canada, can be read here. Quote from article:
Eight of the city’s neighbourhoods with the highest concentrations of child poverty are in the city’s north-west and five are downtown, including Regent Park, which has the highest rate at 63 per cent.
Regent Park community engagement worker Sureya Ibrahim created sewing and catering collectives two years ago to help local women use their skills to earn money.
“It is helping these families get a little extra to help make ends meet,” said Ibrahim, who is also an area resident.
Single parent Hawo Ali, 53, who has raised 11 children in Regent Park, earned her Toronto Public Health Food Handler Certificate through Ibrahim’s program. Her samosas are very popular, Ibrahim said.
Ali, who came to Canada from Somalia in 1992 with five children, had six more kids with her husband after she arrived. But in 1999 her husband left and a year later a workplace injury forced her to quit her job as a cleaner.
“I see all my neighbours and friends and it’s a hard life,” she said. But all of her children, including six who are in university and college, are doing well.
“I am grateful for these programs,” she said.
Ibrahim, who arranged for a group of Regent Park youth to give their input to the city’s anti-poverty efforts, has participated in numerous city hall meetings on the issue herself.
“We need more training for youth to get jobs,” she said.
“It is hard for our community to access public services and programs when they don’t have computers for online registration,” she added. “Everything is always full.”