Guest Speaker:  Gem Munro, Director of the Amorak Society


 
Gem Munro spoke about the work the Amorak Society has been doing in the urban slums in Bangladesh and now Pakistan for the past 12 years.  These are some of the  worst living situations the world. Young women do not receive an education and are forced to be married, become mothers, and spend the remainder of their lives in complete servitude to their husband’s family. 
 
The Amorak Society has developed a program to assist these women through education and leadership training. Small schools were set up in the slums and women are provided with daily classes. After class, these women are then required to share what they have been taught with small classes of children in their community. Through this education and leadership training, Amorak Society has been able to lift these women and their children from poverty and exploitation.  This, according to Gem, is the best way to combat extremists and poverty.
 
Gem showed us a video of a young woman enrolled in the Amorak Society program. We also saw how her six year old daughter is using the knowledge taught to her, to teach a small group of younger children, as well as her grandfather, to learn English.
 
The Amorak Society, which has past educational initiatives with Canadian indigenous peoples, has now established the Amorak Society Aboriginal to develop structured education and opportunities for Indigenous youth in Canada.  It is aware of Rotary’s HIP (Helping Indigenous Peoples) initiative and plans to work in partnership with that.  Members present purchased copies of his novel The Silver Apple of the Moon, proceeds of which go to the Amorak Society’s work.
 
He thanked Rotary for it values and its support for his Society’s work. 

 

Toronto Councillor for Ward 27, Kristyn Wong Tam

 
Kristyn described Ward 27 as one of the biggest and busiest in the city, with 5 Business Improvement Associations, 2.8 million residents speaking 140 different languages.  She outlined some of the problems those residents are facing: homelessness; people struggling to make ends meet; children living in poverty; and the opioid crisis. 
 
Kristyn acknowledged that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous people.
 
Kristyn talked about the need to work together to provide help the vulnerable.  The 2018 budget is now being discussed at City Hall and it is critical that we invest in low cost housing, long term care for the elderly, and support for the poor.
 
To learn more, visit her website at www.ward27news.ca.