In September 1991, the Vancouver & Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society (VLMFSS) was established. The Ministry for Children and Families Development (formerly known as the Ministry of Social Services) approved a proposal from the Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women to create a culturally sensitive and multilingual agency dedicated to assisting immigrant, visible minority, refugee, and women without immigration status and their families who face family violence / gender-based violence (GBV) / intimate partner violence (IPV).
VLMFSS was conceived within the kitchens of a group of immigrant women who held a strong passion for advocating on behalf of racialized immigrant women and children affected by family violence/GBV/IPV. What sets our organization apart is that it has been established by racialized immigrant women, specifically for the betterment of racialized immigrant women.
Shashi Assanand founded VLMFSS in 1991. The agency exemplifies her ability to solidify her commitment to the well-being of immigrants and refugees with a mission of providing “culturally responsible services to immigrant and visible minority women and their families facing family violence”. Shashis’ vision is that every immigrant woman should be empowered to take control of their lives and lead a violence free life.
The unfolding of her vision and mission makes VLMFSS one of a kind unique organization. Shashi, who was a refugee/immigrant herself, had a deep understanding of the immigrant experience and was able to reunite women from different cultures who have an understanding of the immigrant experience. In addition, she was able to utilize their abilities and talents in a long-lasting workforce that’s dedicated and passionate which makes VLMFSS a powerful force in the anti-violence sector – an agency by immigrants serving other immigrants.
In this video, Shashi discusses the challenges and barriers faced by refugee and racialized immigrant women, how the agency was conceived, and the impact it has made in the lives of those we support.