[ Anselma House Women’s Shelter
Kitchener, Ontario ]

Mary Zilney, Chief Executive Officer, Anselma House: Prior to this, we were living in a shelter that was housed for 20 beds.

The demand in the region indicated that we needed a bigger shelter, and so we decided to build from the ground up. And this is our new 45 bed shelter.

We had incredible generosity from the community — it wouldn’t be here without it.

One of the advantages of the new shelter certainly is that the rooms were built very flexible. So if we have a woman with four children, we can just open the room beside.

There are communal areas, such as the dining room and the kitchen, and program areas and so forth. And that’s to encourage women to participate in programming, because our goal is to help them move beyond violence.

Meryle Fast, Manager, Anselma House: We provide the children with child and youth services, so there’s a play room for them.

We have a clinical support worker who can meet with moms individually, so they can do talk therapy and deal through their issues that way.

They enjoy very much the programs that our food nutrition coordinator offers. So the goal there is for the women to learn healthy eating, healthy cooking.

And a lot of them tell me how nice it is to come into the shelter and for the first time in their life, they are hearing that there are other people who have the same situation.

Women abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens in families and in communities and in society.

Mary: And it’s really important because women need to know there is a safe place they can come to.

Every woman has the right to live free of violence and free of abuse. Every woman does.