By Jasminee Sahoye
It has been supporting abused women, survivors of domestic violence, disadvantaged youths and people living in poverty for eight years with donations from individuals and corporate sponsors.
Women of Excellence Support and Relief Organization (WESRO), founded by Jamaican-born Vashti Anderson, has been giving time and money to help make a difference in the lives of those who access its services.
Over the year, some 250 people from diverse backgrounds have benefited from the registered non-profit organization.
Last Sunday, at Wesro’s Changing Lives Fundraising Dinner at the Jamaican Canadian Association Hall, the support was enormous. Tables in the main hall were fully occupied with supporters including City Councillor Frances Nunziata and guest speakers, retired Peel nurse Norma Nicholson and retired Toronto Police constable, Nigerian-born, Ojo Tewogbade.
In her address, Anderson appealed for financial assistance, noting that she sought government funding but her application was turned down.
She said she has been struggling to keep the organization going but will not give up on her passion to empower and motivate survivors of abuse through life-changing programs and services.
She says she started operating her organization at her home and used her own money to help women, especially those who were abused and didn’t know where to turn for help.
Anderson told how she took women into her home who were being abused out of kindness and had her home remortgaged to provide the assistance.
There were heart-rending testimonials from some of the abused women who sought help from Anderson and Wesro and are now in a “better place.”
Paula D’Souza, who was facing a domestic dispute, had only kind words.
“I went into Vashti’s office and she was the only person who I felt had really offered a way out of my situation. She enabled me to deal with my problems and I moved on and I can’t thank her enough because I felt the community was not there for me.”
A mother and daughter, Aryann and Judy Maharaj, also shared positive sentiments about the services of Wesro. The mother says domestic violence not only affects one person but the entire family as her daughter was in an abusive relationship. Now they are giving back as donors for the event.
Today, Wesro is run by volunteers in different capacities, some of whom have accessed the services in the past and have had their lives turned around.
The organisation provides services such as private counselling, women’s support group and legal clinic as well as skills development in the form of sewing, culinary and craft classes and workshops on health and nutrition, self-enhancement, resume building, job search and advocacy and community outreach.
To make a contribution to Wesro, visit www.wesro.ca and click on the Donate Now button or call 674-351-8551.