Umunna women felt that it was necessary to form Umunna Women’s Group in order to effectively participate in Umunna (Igbo) Cultural Association’s (“Umunna”) activities, as well as being able to help our women deal with issues that are related to our families and children. Being first generation immigrants to Canada, our sons and daughters deal with issues that are related to growing up in a culture that is different from their parents, which puts extra peer pressure on their integration into the society. Thewomen of Umunna (Igbo) Cultural Association of Manitoba Inc. saw a need to organize themselves to help lessen these pressures, teach them our culture and to help guide their growth in the society. We also ensure that Umunna families know that we are there as a support group when needed, providing advice and information to help the families when and where necessary.
The activities and events of Umunna Women’s Group are guided by our mission statement. The mission of Umunna Women Group include building a strong supporting women’s group, providing positive influence in the lives of our members, our youth, our parent organization and our community. The mission of Umunna Women’s Group also includes building a strong positive support group for the women and their families and help in bridging the inter-generational gap with our youth. In some cases where there is bereavement in the family, the Women’s Group are always on hand to provide support to the family. Other goals include, advancing the interests of our members, and having a positive influence in the lives of our member’s by sharing our personal experiences and ideas on integrating into the Canadian Society.
To achieve this, we have organized and invited guest speakers to our meetings, who have spoken on various topics that include money management, investments, estate management, savings & retirements, shopping for mortgages, education savings plans, cross cultural diversity, etc, In the coming months and years, the Women’s Group will continue to address issues that are important to our community including women’s health, family dynamics and entrepreneurship. As the group continues to grow in number, the Women’s Group aim to continue to provide support to our members in any way possible. The Women group is in the process of establishing guidance documents that will enable the current and future administrators and members to accomplish and sustain these ideals.
Umunna (Igbo) Cultural Association of Manitoba Inc. is an integral part of the Africa Pavilion, which is part of the Winnipeg Folklorama. The first Africa Pavilion was held in 1997 and during the first few yearsUmunna (Igbo) Cultural Association of Manitoba (“Umunna”) played a leading role in the Africa Pavilion and in bringing the vision to fruition. Umunna is one of the four founding members of Africa Pavilion. During the formative years of Africa Pavilion. Umunna Women provided leadership in ensuring the success of Africa Pavilion, in organizing the women, youth, and kids in cultural dance performances, in volunteering and helping to manage the Africa Pavilion kitchen.
Umunna women are strongly united in working as a cohesive group in support of the Association’s activities. The formal organization of the Women Wing of Umunna (Igbo) Cultural Association of Manitoba stemmed from a desire to maintain the strong unity among Umunna as a group and Umunna women in particular.
To this end, the inaugural meeting of Umunna Women Wing was held at the residence of the Late Mrs. Helen Anyadike. She was elected as the first Chair of the Umunna Women’s Group.
Over the years, the Umunna Women’s Group has volunteered in the larger Winnipeg community including at the Siloam Mission, a Christian humanitarian Organization here in Winnipeg. Umunna women participated in the association’s non-perishable food donation and volunteered at Winnipeg Harvest, participated in the Winnipeg annual run for breast cancer, and the Habitat for Humanity. Umunna women also have ongoing clothing drive for donation to Main Street Project. Umunna women have also participated/volunteered in various areas for the Umunna Association including preparing food, serving food to our guests and sorting donated items. Umunna women are very active in Umunna premier activities such as Umunna Igbofest Cultural extravaganza, Umunna picnic, Iri ji festival and also participate in the larger Nigerian Association events.
The Umunna Women’s Group meetings are organized quarterly, alternating between the first and second Saturday of the month in order to accommodate members work schedules. Whenever possible, we try to invite guest speakers to our meetings to speak on various topics of interest to our community. We also aim to provide additional support to members and their families’, especially new comers to the country who are caught between two cultures, and to provide outreach programs beyond Umunna community.
The strength and generosity of the Women of Umunna, is not lost on the association which has continued to commend and show gratitude for their effort by occasionally providing funds for the Group’s activities.
I continue to marvel at the generous contribution of our women and will ever remain grateful for all you do for our community.
Thank you all so much for your dedication and sacrifice to our members and the community.
By Mrs. Chi Ejeckam
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