Inge Bailey joined the PIRS community as a volunteer in the mid 1980s, and is still an active contributor to PIRS today. As a board member during the early days of PIRS, she has seen the organization go through enormous growth and many big changes, and has also seen the long lasting impact of trauma-informed programs empowering immigrant and refugee women – and their families and entire communities, because “if you empower the women, you empower the children!”
When Inge first connected with PIRS, she saw that “[PIRS] clearly filled a need that had not been addressed by anybody else – the focus on the women and young children.”
Over the years since Inge joined PIRS, we have been able to respond to newly arising and diverse needs, coming up with new approaches in partnership with the women that we work with, really listening and trusting them to be the experts of their own stories. “It has been a very, very necessary organization,” shares Inge, moved by her conversations with immigrant mothers who were able to overcome isolation and grow in confidence.
Recounting stories of eating together, of connecting with participants and sharing food from different cultures, Inge expresses such a deep sense of community felt at PIRS. “I always felt, felt sort of, even when I was very tired after work, to go to a PIRS meeting always put a little bounce in my step… It never failed to give me a smile even when we had great big worries and great big sorrows.”
“If you have a group that allows you to make yourself understood and to participate in the community, you have the first step towards feeling at home. That’s the goal that we have – to make people feel at home here.”