Maison d’amitié is a not-for-profit organization that brings refuge to women victim of violence and their children. Founded in 1976, it is the only shelter within the capital region to offer a wide range of French VAW (Violence against Women) services to a multicultural clientele. Maison d’amitié is a safe, friendly and accessible place where women can be listened to and supported throughout their journey.
Being the only francophone shelter in the national capital area, and the largest francophone shelter in Ontario, our presence is more than necessary in order to support, advocate and put an end to violence against francophone women. We have two sites which can accommodate single women and families. Maison d’amitié has an overall capacity of welcoming 30 women and children. Maison d’amitié offers individual or group interventions, accompaniment, referrals, support, monitoring, follow-ups, a 24-hour helpline called Fem’aide (the Francophone helpline for women dealing with violence), as well as raising awareness with the general public.
Maison d’amitié’s main funder is the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services of Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General also funds a program that is geared towards sexual assault victims.
At Maison d’amitié, we believe that everyone has the right to live in dignity, without violence. We believe in our community and its capacity for mutual assistance to stop violence against women and children. Annually, Maison d’amitié welcomes from 60 to 80 women and from 65 to 80 children. In general, single women have an average stay of at least 2 months, and families, of at least three months. Exceptions exist of course. During their stay, we respond to their physical and emotional needs.
We welcome your help. You do not need to speak French to help. There are many ways to contribute. Our funding enables us to meet their subsistence needs during their stay but when they leave, they have very little resources. Most of them start up fresh when they leave our premises; they must furnish and equip their new home of essential goods such as tableware, bedding, appliances etc.
We sporadically receive donations from members of the community; monetary donations, gift certificates and donations in goods and furniture. We have a storage of children’s clothing, toys, but receive very little for the women themselves. In addition, donations unfortunately do not respond to the year round needs.
Many of these women have renounced their physical comfort to flee from violence. You can make our organization known in your own linguistic community. You can participate in larger community efforts to raise awareness about how to identify, reduce and eliminate domestic violence. You can help us raise funds among other people like you who are interested in the Francophone community.