Lalana Paul brings added perspective to Advisory Council on the Status of Women
Lalana Paul says she is excited to bring the voice of aboriginal women and her own life experience to the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
Originally from Vancouver, she spent years helping abused and battered women in the city’s Lower East Side piece their lives back together. As program coordinator for the Helping Spirit Lodge Society, she helped women find housing and build the necessary skills to re-enter the workforce.
”When I heard about this opportunity I thought ‘Status of Women? Oh absolutely that’s incredible,’” she said. “I always wanted to get back into that kind of work.”
She remembers seeing women enter her 16-week program looking and feeling dejected, but after four months of counseling, clothing and nutrition, even the look on their faces changed.
“It was incredible to see the change – I loved the work I did,” she said. “As a woman I like to help other women see their own power, their own capability.”
Lalana was appointed to the Advisory Council on the Status of Women through Engage PEI, which helps Islanders volunteer for more than 70 provincial government agencies, boards, and commissions. The council is an arm’s-length government-appointed body of nine who are selected from among Island women who have demonstrated a commitment to women’s equality and who represent regional, cultural, and ethnic diversity.
“I bring diversity, passion and experience,” she said, adding she talks to indigenous women before the meetings so she can bring more concerns than her own to the table.
Looking for a lower cost of living and new opportunities, Paul and her husband drove across the country, purchased a 200-year-old farmhouse, and started building a new life in Belfast, Prince Edward Island. Her parents, (her mom is Cree and her father Scottish) had already moved to the Island before them, so she has extra roots here now.