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History

In January of 1997, a group of low-income women under the leadership of Helen McPhaden were meeting regularly as a support group in Star City, Saskatchewan. It rapidly became apparent that there were many gaps in services unable to meet the needs of Aboriginal women and women of poverty in the region. Thus, a strategic plan was developed.

photo image of two women at Stardale
Two women at Stardale

A collaborative project emerged with several partners in the community wishing to make a change, and to respond to the challenges facing employment and education within the northeast region of Saskatchewan. Over a period of one year, the partners developed a format that would address many of the needs of the women. In October 1997, Helen McPhaden was contracted to undertake a needs assessment entitled, "Aboriginal Women and Women of Poverty."

The process of the needs assessment and the research plan included distinct areas of social, cultural, and economic spheres of activity in order to be able to understand the totality of the gaps in the current system. The research results revealed the lack of literacy and employment opportunities accompanied by social disparities, which cumulatively created a sense of uneasiness in the region.

"Bridges - a successful employability program to take marginalized women through various phases of self-exploration, experimental learning, education, and employment" was the initial model concept that this needs assessment recommended for application. In addition, situational barriers, dispositional barriers, and barriers to subgroups were recognized with special supports developed to enhance each project delivery mechanism.

The diverse services Stardale provides are for the empowerment of Aboriginal girls and women in the form of:

  • Educational programs and public awareness
  • Advocacy, networking, and community mobilization
  • Capacity building, mentoring, and training
  • Community action research
  • Municipal gender-based polices in literacy, crime prevention, community safety, education, health, and social justice

Stardale is led by Helen McPhaden, who is the Executive Director. Prior to being a founding member of the Stardale Group, Helen had been working within the Aboriginal community. Helen worked with girls to become models and hostesses.


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Designed by Copian in collaboration with Stardale Women's Group Inc. Foundation