Rogers Communications has partnered with the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence to bring free phones and service to women’s shelters across the country, including one in Chilliwack, that support Indigenous women and children.
Wilma’s Transition House in Chilliwack is one of 13 shelters in Canada that will be receiving free phones and data plans.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed urgent needs among Canada’s most vulnerable communities, including Indigenous women and children who may be facing the reality of being at home with an abusive family member.
“It’s unfathomable to imagine the dual crises of domestic violence and physical isolation brought on by COVID-19. We are well into a second wave, and the need is urgent,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, chief communications officer and lead for corporate social responsibility, Rogers Communications.
“For women and children escaping violence and abuse, phones and connectivity provide an essential digital lifeline. We’re proud to work with the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence, which provides housing and support for Indigenous women, when home is no longer safe, and to help enable connectivity for women to safely access resources.”
Rogers is providing complimentary phones along with six-month free voice and data plans to Indigenous women’s shelters including: Gignoo Transition House Inc. in New Brunswick, Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services, Onyota’a:ka Family Healing Lodge, Nimkii-Naabkawagan Batchewana Family Crisis Shelter, and Le Thi Nis Ten: Ha Le Thi Non Ronh Khwn in Ontario, Fisher River Healing Center in Manitoba, Qu’Appelle Haven Safe Shelter and Yorkton YTC Safe Shelter in Saskatchewan, Neepinise Family Healing Centre and Stoney Eagle’s Nest Women’s Emergency Shelter, and Ermineskin Women’s Emergency Shelter in Alberta, Okanagan Nation Emergency Transition House in Penticton and Wilma’s Transition House, in Chilliwack.
Last spring, Rogers announced a partnership with Women’s Shelters Canada to provide hundreds of free phones and six months of free voice and data plans to provide connectivity for women escaping violence and abuse.
In light of the second wave of COVID-19, Rogers announced a six-month extension to those plans for women’s shelters across the country, in addition to those provided to organizations supporting vulnerable communities like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and Pflag Canada.
“With many of our shelters in remote locations – where everyone is intimately connected – and with increased lockdowns in communities, it’s getting more difficult for Indigenous women to get away from their abusers,” said Sheila Swasson, president of the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence. “Once a woman does escape and finds safe haven in our shelters, she needs a phone that allows her to safely access medical and social services, to remain in touch with family and friends, and one that can’t be tracked by her abuser. We are so grateful to Rogers for helping Indigenous women and their children when they need it the most.”
The National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence advocates for and supports shelters by providing practical training, culturally appropriate resources and opportunities to network in a supportive environment. For more information, please visit nacafv.ca.