Building Roads Together Meets Jane’s Walk

BRT Janes Walk - logosWe had a glorious Jane’s Walk on a beautiful day in Regent Park. Our peer leaders and program partners were joined by more than 40 people, from current and former Regent Park residents, to people from across the city. We led the group on a route that reflects our journey from developing the program, to training, to leading peer walking/rolling groups.

Peer leaders shared their personal experiences Staff from the Centre for Social Innovation, Regent Park Community Health Centre, Dixon Hall, and TD Centre of Learning, shared their involvement in Building Roads Together (BRT), and their broader roles in the Regent Park community. The TD Centre of Learning hosted the closing of our walk, complete with delicious refreshments made by a member of the Regent Park Catering Collective, who is also a Building Roads Together peer leader.

Walk the Talk

Walk the Talk 23.07.14Walk the Talk is a weekly walking advisory group of service providers involved in growing Building Roads Together. It emerged from Farahway Global’s project Building Roads Together that trains people to lead walking peer support groups to promote mental health.

It is a group of project partners, collaborators, and organizations and individuals who want to build the project together. Organizations involved include Houselink, Regent Park Community Health Centre, Daniels Centre of Learning, 416 Community Support for Women, Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario, Homegrown National Park Project/David Suzuki Foundation, and our Centre for Social Innovation – Regent Park home. Supporters include Jane’s Walk and Toronto Public Health.

Walk the Talk 19.11.14 cropped

PRESS RELEASE: Rick Mercer, Stephen Lewis & Michael Ondaatje join 1000s of Canadians supporting Mohamed Fahmy’s return to Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, February 16, 2015

250 notable Canadians, including comedian Rick Mercer, diplomat Stephen Lewis & author Michael Ondaatje, voiced their support today for Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy in an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Harper.

We are writing to urge you to intervene personally and immediately [in Fahmy’s case],” states the letter, signed by 250 supporters, including Academy Award-nominated filmmaker & actor Sarah Polley, Academy Award-nominated director Atom Egoyan and author Naomi Klein.

After 411 days of incarceration in Egypt, Fahmy has been unsuccessful in his attempts to return home to Canada. His legal counsel, Amal Clooney, has stated that there is no legalimpediment to Fahmy’s immediate transfer to Canada.

Currently released on bail and facing a retrial starting February 23, Fahmy and his family are concerned that the Canadian government has not advocated on his behalf at the highest levels of the Egyptian government.

In response, Fahmy’s family and supporters organized the #HarperCallEgypt campaign last week to bring attention to their cause. Last week, the #HarperCallEgypt hashtag was trending on Twitter in Canada, with Margaret Atwood, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and MP Marc Garneau tweeting their support for his case. This support joins the 50,000 Canadians who have signed an online petition calling for Fahmy’s return to Canada.

Cecilia Greyson, sister of filmmaker John Greyson who was detained in Egypt in 2013 and a coordinator of the #HarperCallEgypt campaign, said that the support has been “overwhelming.”

It’s been absolutely incredible to see support come in from across Canada,” Greyson said. “And it’s not stopping – more and more emails are coming from people asking how they can help.”

With statements of support from NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau issued last week, campaigners for Fahmy’s cause are planning to keep up the pressure until they hear from Prime Minister Harper directly.

“So far, Mr. Harper has not spoken in support of Mohamed Fahmy, and we want to know why,” said Cecilia Greyson. “It’s time to hear from our Prime Minister.”

CLICK HERE to view Open Letter & signatories

Contact: Cecilia Greyson (902) 401-0158

Open Letter to Prime Minister Harper re. Mohamed Fahmy

Feb. 11, 2015

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I write to you as a Canadian, and as a survivor of having a loved one wrongfully imprisoned in Iran. I write to you knowing what it feels like every moment of every day a loved is held captive for political reasons alone. It is haunting. It is impossible to feel free. It is impossible to focus on anything other than setting them free. With your own two hands. Even when the power to do so is not in your hands.

The power is in your hands to call the Egyptian President and seek Mohamed Fahmy’s immediate release. He has been imprisoned in one of the worst prisons in the world for 411 days. 411 days! When every moment of every one of those days is torturous for him and all of his loved ones. His family has had to put their lives on hold and fight for his freedom with everything in them. For 411 days. Surely you can make one phone call to prevent them all from suffering one more unnecessary moment.

When my American friends Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd were wrongfully imprisoned in Iran, President Obama made a powerful public statement at the one year mark. He spoke to their families, publicly assuring them “that the U.S. government would continue to do all that it could to secure their release,” and closing his statement with “All Americans stand together in support of our citizens who are suffering through unjust detention abroad, and we will not rest until they are home. “

Don’t you stand with all Canadians in support of our citizens suffering through unjust detention abroad? Don’t you have the responsibility on behalf of all Canadians to intervene and end Mohamed Fahmy’s suffering through unjust detention abroad?

I am doing everything in my power to end the suffering of Mohamed Fahmy and his loved ones. I am asking you to do the same. Please call President Sisi and prevent Mohamed Fahmy’s unacceptable nightmare from continuing for one more moment.

Thank you,

Farah N. Mawani

“These words will be windows, not walls!”

Josh looks at one of the first copies of 'A Sliver of Light' in awe.

Josh looks at one of the first copies of ‘A Sliver of Light’ in awe.

These words will be windows, not walls!” Josh pronounced as he started writing A Sliver of Light with Shane and Sarah.

Spending every day for more than two years engaging the world in their plight,
I was acutely aware of the physical and political walls that prevented them from sharing their words with the world. I felt them every time I posted on Facebook and Twitter, every time I sent a message, every time I told someone about them, every time I asked for help to free them. Without being able to communicate with them at all, I felt grossly inadequate at guessing what words they would want to share with the world. I found words grossly inadequate at capturing our collective horror. But I had to give every bit of energy I had to trying my best. The stakes were high. The stakes were their lives. Their freedom. Our lives. Our freedom.

I hold their words in my hand.

I hold their words in my hand.

Even now, after more than 2 years of freedom, I find their freedom to communicate overwhelming. And powerful beyond words. Their book is a manifestation of that power. In words. Every word I read, I feel everyone who fought for their freedom alongside me, with me. Free the Hikers core campaign team members who were with me every day, in person, via phone, Skype, gchat, email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Organizing, creating, collaborating, sharing, engaging, supporting. I remember those of you who followed their story so closely you asked me for updates if there was a gap of less than an hour in our social media posting. I will never forget.

Now you can all finally read their story in their own words. Better yet, you can attend one of their author events, and hear their stories in their own voices. We will be posting news about the events and media coverage on the Free the Hikers Facebook and Twitter accounts. Join us there! And we would love to see and hear your responses. Tag them #SliverofLight on Facebook, Twitter, G+, tumblr, Instagram, etc.

NOTE: A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran will be released on March 18, 2014. Preorder it here:

Fight for Freedom – The Ismaili Canada

Our founder, Farah Mawani, was featured in The Ismaili Canada, the publication of the Ismaili Council for Canada, representing Shia Ismaili Muslims in Canada.

Download PDF: Fight for Freedom | The Ismaili Canada, July 2012

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

Drs Kamiar and Arash Alaei receive inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award from Sharon Stone on July 22, the opening day of the AIDS 2012 – XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Despite Iran’s Oppressive Regime, These People Fight On ~ Farah N. Mawani | Huffington Post

I woke up at dawn today and my first thought was of Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei winning the first Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award at the International AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, D.C. on July 22. I was beckoned by light streaming through an opening in my blinds, the light of a sunrise filled with hope and the promise of freedom…

I think of their lawyer, Masoud Shafii, without whom Kamiar and Arash would not be free. The same lawyer without whom Josh, Shane and Sarah would not be free…

TAKE ACTION: Read the full article and sign this petition urging the Iranian regime to return Mr. Shafii’s passport and let him do his job.

DONATE to Farahway Global to enable us to continue this campaign!

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

I Can See Clearly Now: Recovering from PTSD ~ Farah N. Mawani | Intent Blog

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”

~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, June 26, was the United Nations International Day In Support of Victims of Torture.  I spent the days leading up to it reflecting on psychological torture, and particularly the impact of psychological torture on me.  Although it is difficult to delve into, I want to share some of that experience. I hope it will increase global understanding of the devastating impact of psychological torture, the remarkable courage of those who face it, and the support people need on their journeys of recovery…Read more.

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3 Lessons Learned From Freeing 3 American Hikers: From Integrity to Engagement to Relationship-based Fundraising ~ Farah N. Mawani | Philanthropy Front and Center | The Foundation Center

Since our Free the Hikers social media campaign achieved its primary, seemingly impossible, objective of freeing my dear friends Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, I have received numerous requests to share our secret. Political prisoner campaigns, human rights organizations, mental health organizations, and even businesses, want to know how we built the global movement that it took to free them…Read more.

DONATE to Farahway Global

Check out our brand new Rally page!

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How cows figured in a Kenyan woman’s Toronto education | Toronto Star

Ryerson University graduate Teriano Lesancha, centre, with her father, Saidimu, left, Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, World Vision Canada President Dave Toycen and her mother, Mama Teriano. CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO STAR

Ryerson President Sheldon Levy will be getting a cow from a student who graduates next week.

In the bold journey Teriano Lesancha has taken to get an education, cows were sometimes a sore point between a struggling farmer and his ambitious daughter who wanted the income from selling cows to pay her tuition. They became a point of pride when that debt was repaid, with interest. Interest on four hoofs.

But her outspoken mother, known simply as Mama Teriano, also played a key role. Though she never went past Grade 3, she had a fierce belief in education for her daughter….

University of Toronto doctoral student Farah Mawani worked one year as a tutor at the village school, and her tales of university here planted an idea that Teriano never forgot.

Years later Mawani was surprised when the former student emailed her for advice. She has remained a mentor and friend who helped Teriano get into Ryerson and gave her somewhere to live when her sponsorship fell through…Read More