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Over 40 years in service, CIWA has supported more than 100,000 immigrant women through their transition in Canada. We empower women with various tools and resources, training and experience, to propel them to success and thereby enrich Canadian society.

CIWA has grown to become the largest women-focused settlement agency in Canada. At CIWA, we provide over 60 different programs and services to meet the diverse needs of immigrant and refugee women and their families.  Our services are offered to all those who need them regardless of eligibility criteria for government funding. All clients at CIWA have access to free childcare and first language support. To do this, we depend on the generosity of corporate sponsors and individual donors.

Explore the ways you can support immigrant women, girls and their families. Connect with us via

Pauline Baysa

Pauline Baysa learned about CIWA soon after she landed in Calgary. Along with her mom and sister, Pauline reunified with her dad, a temporary foreign worker at the time, after years of separation.

After receiving settlement and services supports from CIWA, Pauline joined the Youth Mentorship Program where she received valuable guidance that helped her successfully navigate a new country as a young immigrant woman.

Today, Pauline is driven to help newcomer youth transition smoothly in Canada through her role as the Youth Program Coordinator at CIWA and her volunteer initiatives with the Philippine Festival Council while completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.


Elena Esina

Elena Esina moved to Canada as a young mother. She immediately joined CIWA’s employment training program, which provided her the training and work experience that she needed at the time. Elena also accessed several supports from basic needs, transit, childcare, and volunteering opportunities.

Since then, Elena has been a valuable contributor to CIWA’s mission. She is a CIWA business partner hosting over 40 work experience placements for immigrant women throughout the years. She was a former CIWA Board Member and Chair of the Fund Development Committee. Currently, Elena lends her hand to support CIWA’s upcoming 40th Anniversary Gala.

Elena also manages Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence, is an Adjunct Professor in Faculty of Social Work at University of Calgary, and a co-founder of Shift to Learn. She is part of City of Calgary’s Gender Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative and is the co-author of Landed: Transformative Stories of Canadian Immigrant Women.


Toyin Oladele

Toyin Oladele and her family migrated from Nigeria with a decade-long experience in the field of arts. She became a CIWA Alumna in 2018 after completing a 24-week training uniquely designed to support professional young immigrant mothers pursuing a career in Canada.

The training not only helped Toyin gain Canadian workplace experience and enhance her business communication and digital skills, but it also provided one-on-one career coaching that is individualized for Toyin’s chosen career path. After taking the program, she was immediately employed in her field. She also received an opportunity to become a consultant for public arts. Since then, Toyin has been unstoppable. With her sheer hard work, dedication and persistence – all the while taking care of a daughter with disability who underwent major surgeries – Toyin founded the Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation (ICAI) in 2019.

Today, Toyin is a mentor to newcomers pursuing a career in arts. Through ICAI, she has also become a CIWA business partner. She has been providing practicum placement and employment opportunities for CIWA’s clients.

ICAI is currently one of the three Immigrant Arts Mentorship Councils throughout the whole of America and Canada.


Yan Cheng

Yan Cheng came to Canada with her 16 year old son, Brian, who is on the autism spectrum. Yan and Brian received several supports in their first language, including settlement resources, counselling and in-home services, parenting courses for parents with children with special needs as well as employment training. These services provided a sturdy scaffold that helped them successfully transition to a new country during the pandemic and during a crucial stage in Brian’s life.

Yan has been given back to the community in many ways. Through the community interpreter and translator training at CIWA, she obtained CILISAT and CISOC certifications which qualify her as a Mandarin-English Interpreter and Translator. She has been volunteering at Chinese organizations in Calgary as well as at CIWA, providing interpretation support for various situations – from medical appointments for newcomers to language training for children with special needs.

In February of 2022, Yan completed her certification as Community Support Worker. She currently provides training to help strengthen services of an emotional support hotline.

“I would highly recommend Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association to all newcomers who want to start their career in this new country. CIWA is the one stop solution to many challenges that we face as newcomers. CIWA is very supportive and will prepare you to know about Canadian workplace culture. It also provides program support that is very beneficial. If you are lost and not finding a way to settle down, contact CIWA because they will provide you with many available options.”

– Sudipta, CIWA Alumna

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September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a federal statutory holiday, that honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. 

We acknowledge that we are on the traditional territories of the peoples of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Stoney Nakoda First Nations (Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley) and the Tsuut’ina First Nation. The city of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.