CWP Intern wants to “Engage Ottawa”

*Carleton Intern Emily Shoff has started a new project called “Engage Ottawa where she will connect with community anti-poverty advocates and raise awareness of the plight of low-income Canadians around Ottawa.  You can follow her journey from January to April on this blog.

Canada Without Poverty  (CWP) does important work to address the structural causes of poverty, by encouraging political conformity on the issue of poverty to provide alternative solutions to public policy that has disadvantaged and weighted down those with low-income.  CWP is one organization in the midst of dozens, possibly hundreds in the Ottawa area that work on the depths of poverty.  Whether an organization is confronted in the work with poverty directly or whether their purpose is to address poverty from the upstream, it is present in every corner of our country.  CWP collaborates with such organizations to address our current reality.

Isn’t this saying something, that there are a countless number of organizations in the very city of Ottawa?  Poverty is an important and seriously encompassing issue, contributing to other present day problems such as health, education, women’s and cultural issues.  Poverty:  an angry tornado covering every surface and weaving it into a fury of minimum wage, high rental costs and unaffordable child care creating a hopeless and helpless situation where people can’t escape the catastrophe.  Let us unwind the challenge.

Poverty is an issue that can so often be brushed under the rug, swept away.  However it lies right under our feet.  It can be invisible – the single-mother working night shifts to pay for groceries.  And it can be visible – the homeless on the street stating their case while asking for change.  That’s it.  ChangeWe need change.  What we need is a change in how we understand our fellow Canadians.  We need to change our perception and understanding of poverty.  CWP has derived a project out of this need to broaden Canada’s understanding on the issue of poverty.  What is needed even more is a collective movement.

And so Engage Ottawa begins, a project that will tell the story of poverty in Canada, from the heart of Ottawa’s community.  I, Emily will be setting out to various community organizations, NGOs and social service agencies from January to April who are either confronted by the detriments of poverty or those who advocate for action and solutions on the wide-spread crisis that is so prevalent in Canada.

With this new knowledge I plan to blog with CWP, creating other action projects sprouting from Engage Ottawa that will draw-in the greater population.  These action events will engage the community in a creative manner with an effort to alter the perceptions of our society.

Boots laced, eyes open, map in hand I will be covering the corners of Ottawa, developing a wider understanding of CWP’s view and those who are also working on or around the issue of poverty.  Together, we intend to build a new perspective of poverty, one that is shaped by interviews that uncover reality.

I will be blogging about the perspective of an intern, with hopes that my own understanding of who is struggling will grow.  Join me on this journey; the journey of comprehension, inspiration and education.