Local ladies live loud

Aisha Alfa and Alana Levandoski stand up for Winnipeg women

Alana Levandoski (pictured) will perform a few tunes while Aisha Alfa cracks you up. Supplied

“People - not just women - have a hard time expressing their biggest and best desires,” says Winnipeg-based comedian and life coach Aisha Alfa. “When someone gives you the space to speak to who you are and the positive things in your life, it gives you power.”

She’s talking about the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre (FGWRC), the non-profit, feminist organization that operates three locations in Winnipeg - on Ellen, Waverley and South Pembina - where women can go for services and support that range from acupuncture to legal advice or self-defence classes.

Women who use the FGWRC include business executives and street youth (the centre takes a non-discriminatory stance on who it serves). All services offered are free.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the FGWRC is holding its third annual Fab Fem Fundraiser at the West End Cultural Centre.

Alfa is hosting the evening with a blend of stand-up comedy and motivational speaking. She’s eager to support the FGWRC, where she’s taught positive thinking workshops for the past two years.

“The women who work there - and the women who go there - are amazing,” Alfa says. “I’m really passionate about what they do. Helping women is important because we only make up over half the population. And helping women helps the whole population; you can’t just be a guy and say, ‘This doesn’t affect me.’ Guys have to look at the women in their life - their girlfriends, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters - and know that if these women get help to live better, it benefits everyone.”

Helping women helps the whole population; you can’t just be a guy and say, ‘This doesn’t affect me.’

Aisha Alfa, comedian and life coach

Manitoba folk/pop artist Alana Levandoski is joining Alfa on stage.

The all female lineup is a conscious choice by the event’s organizing committee members, who have larger goals for Fab Fem than just raising funds to support the centre’s programs.

“It’s a great evening of women coming together, sharing and entertaining each other,” says board member Kelly-Ann Stevenson, who’s helping put the event together. “It’s an opportunity for our board, staff and the women activists in the community to network, socialize and build awareness.

“Quite often the work that is done by the programs at the centre, well ... it’s a demanding job. So it’s good to have an evening of fun together.”

Stevenson knows about demanding jobs.

By day she’s a lawyer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s Youth Forensic Services, advising female offenders on resources they can access in the community. She joined the FGWRC’s board just over two years ago when she heard they were conducting a search for new members.

“I’d been involved with the centre in my professional life, referring young women to them for support. After all they’ve given my clients, I thought I had something to give back.”

Fab Fem, it seems, will be a chance for everyone to give back to a centre that’s helped so many.

The Fab Fem Fundraiser happens at the West End Cultural Centre on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 and you can get them by calling 204-477-1123 or visiting www.fgwrc.ca.

Published in Volume 66, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 8, 2012)

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