The Mushkowzee Ikwe Empowerment Project

The strong woman’s project is a community-based project geared to 14-29-year-old Indigenous female and non-binary people at- risk of sexual exploitation, being sex-trafficked, becoming involved in the justice system, and/or living in poverty.

The project will offer four project pillars

  1. Life skills
  2. Cultural Reclamation
  3. Empowerment &healing
  4. Pre-employment training

Program Goal

The goal for this program is focused on preventing and combatting human sex trafficking, and work to prevent re-victimization through building support networks and safety planning, and recovery as well as healing for survivors while empowering participants to regain independence and community re-integration. Grounded in Indigenous cultural and traditions, the project provides a strong base to uniquely empower Indigenous women and those identifying as women to heal.

Program Model

Mushkowzee Ikwe is a mentorship-based program that builds on individual’s strength, promotes healing, connects to treatment and community resources, and offers belonging and empowerment. Participants will take part in life skills programing, pre-employment readiness, and skill building through certification training. Cultural programing will take place throughout the project and focus on establishing or reestablishing traditional knowledge and practices. These include


  • Traditional teachings, drum making, beading, medicine picking and participation in a variety of traditional ceremonies.
  • Each participant will have a mentor who will provide one-on-one coaching and mentorship in the areas of life skills, budgeting, counselling, treatment, medical and legal advocacy, community services referral, advocacy, academic and employment supports.

Service Philosophy

Mushkowzee Ikwe project provides an intensive youth engagement or “wrap around” service delivery approach, combined with positive mentorship relationships. Together, these strengthen protective factors, increase resilience and reduce vulnerability to negative influences, including gang involvement, sexual exploitation and criminal behaviour.


The female specific nature of the Mushkowzee Ikwe project is reflected in its programming focus and in hiring (both staff and elders). Programs are centered on essential skills for females such as safety, sexual health, parenting, healthy relationships, drugs and alcohol, and cultural (Women’s Teachings and Ceremonies). This program will also connect females to essential community resources such as Employment and Income Assistance, Child Care, Housing, and Food Security.


Program Activities

Weekly activities include recreation, Ceremonies, and personal awareness/life skills workshops.


For example:


  • Weekly group learning sessions focusing on life skills, pre-employment and career     exploration
  • Education/Training opportunities to support in-school youth and reconnect youth to formal education systems and encourage and monitor attendance
  • Organize and access skill specific training including Food Handler’s and First Aid/CPR
  • Literacy activities including identifying and accessing literacy/numeracy tutors
  • Providing cultural connections related to establishing or re-establishing land based activities and the reclamation of traditional knowledge and practices
  • Recreation/social opportunities to support engagement in positive recreational/social activities and community based events
  • Facilitated sessions on increasing awareness about personal responsibilities related to behaviours (sexual exploitation, criminal activities, gang involvement, etc.)
  • Engagement with appropriate collateral services and families as required including income, housing, food security, safety, health services, etc.
  • Engagement with appropriate drug and alcohol treatment programs as required
  • Provide assistance to youth to access cultural/western counselling
  • Daily (as needed) social supports provided by mentors

Eligibility and Referral

Program referrals can be filled out by Community Partners, Probation Services, and also by self-referral.


For more information, please call (204) 953-5820