FNEE gives voice to its participants through an intimate format to shed light on inspiring journeys.  Read Helena Lalo’s story, a participant of the Women & Leadership and Becoming A Transformational Leader programs. 

Who are you?  

I’m Helena Lalo, an Innue from the Unamen-Shipu La Romaine community. A single mother of four—two adults and two minors—among whom is my 14-year-old autistic daughter. Though I’ve resided in urban settings for fifteen years, my roots remain firmly grounded in my culture and community.

What do you do in life? 

I am a member of the board of directors for Indigenous Women of Quebec. Additionally, I serve as a board member for a respite house to be launched in the fall. Fundraising efforts for this project are underway. I organize support groups for parents of children with ASD. And I engage in Indigenous cultural awareness initiatives in schools to contribute to reconciliation efforts.

What is your journey with FNEE? 

My journey with FNEE began through an awareness day organized by Indigenous Women of Quebec, sparking a desire for new tools to enhance my public speaking and leadership abilities. It was natural for me to join the inaugural Women and Leadership cohort in November 2022, seeking my place as a woman and the ability to progress. The mutual support among women deeply enriched me. Then, I enrolled in the Counselors and Board of Directors Administrators program in May 2023, aiming to bolster my confidence, refine public speaking skills, articulate my thoughts effectively, and cultivate the courage to forge ahead.

What benefits do you derive from it? 

I learned to approach people. Fear is no longer within me. FNEE’s trainings gave me confidence. They opened my eyes to many aspects: how to move forward and how to take stance. When I returned to my community, I was able to speak in assembly. And people listened to me! I deeply appreciate FNEE’s nurturing environment. The facilitators are patient, they take the time to teach. The school focuses on kindness, which frees speech. Three women to whom I spoke about EDPN’s training are currently taking courses, and I have good feedback. We do not judge each other as women. We must dare, believe and empower. It’s like a support house that allows us to move forward, freeing us from our fears. Today I say to myself, “go for it”! I feel fully capable, confident, and proud of my knowledge and skills. I want to inspire my community and the people around me in return.

What message would you like to convey to FNEE’s community? 

Trust in our youth, the next generation. Confidence blooms with openness to others. Fear should no longer hold sway! 

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