Building Futures: Re-building Our Lives

Building Futures: Re-building Our Lives

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Running time:

29.5 minutes


Available on DVD

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Victoria, British Columbia,1994: When the city's homeless women and housing activist Jannit Rabinovitch declared safe shelter a priority, it captured the imagination of a neighbourhood, three levels of government, and business and tradespeople. The result was a unique project dedicated to building a 24-hour women's emergency shelter and resource centre in downtown Victoria.

The Downtown Women's Project was designed to provide apprenticeship training in construction for women on social assistance and to foster community partnerships among governments, community workers, the construction industry, and women in the street community. The result: twelve women on welfare gained the skills, courage and determination to call themselves carpenters and turn a ramshackle rooming house into an emergency shelter for their sisters on the street.

Building Futures critically examines the four phases of this feminist-inspired community development project: community process, partnerships, life skills and training, and the construction itself. The story is an inspiring example of from-the-bottom-up community development as a solution to community needs. A short discussion guide, incorporated into the video cover, suggests discussion and key principles for the four phases of the project.

Discussion available for download here:


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