DEVA: Bridging the Divide
On February 15th, 2021, ten Indigenous women from Onion Lake, Saskatchewan started a six-month journey to learn digital literacy and virtual administrative skills, in search of new opportunities.
The DEVAs worked with program facilitator and owner of DEVA Training & Staffing Solutions, Sharon Marshall, who had her hands at their back over the 20-weeks they spent building confidence by learning how to work remotely in a team, performing internet research, writing, taking notes, brainstorming ideas, creating social media posts, and communicating using Slack, Voxer, and Milanote, to name a few.
The DEVAs graduated on July 12, 2021, to continue their journey from practicums to paid internships that have been and will continue preparing them to offer remote administrative and creative support as Digital Executive Virtual Assistants (DEVAs) working from their home community.
It is often the case that Indigenous women in more remote communities are forced to move away to find work. Providing a program that offers these skills to Indigenous women means that they are able to stay in their home communities to work and provide for themselves and their families using their newly discovered digital empowerment.
Sharon was thrilled to receive these bursts of gratitude from two of the graduating DEVAs expressing some of their experience in the program:
"I would like to give thanks to all of the sponsors: PowHERhouse, Land Forest People, Kellie Garrett, and Joel and Dana Solomon. I would really like to express my appreciation for allowing me to expand my skill set from a former Class1 driver to a computer-based line of work. My new skill set allows me to use Canva, Google programs, emails, and various other apps that Impact Arts Co-op has presented me. As a mother of 3 children, 2 stepchildren, and 2 foster children, this allows me to work from home and provide for them. Your contribution has given me, Sheila Pahtayken, a new outlook and opportunity to provide and puts me on a great new career path with endless opportunities to grow. So thank you so much."
- Sheila Pahtayken
"Thank you so much for your sponsorship, I greatly appreciate it. Without your sponsorship I wouldn’t be where I am today. Being a DEVA opened a new door for me, and will continue to open other doors to great opportunities. The DEVA Training & Staffing Solutions has taught me computer skills, attention to detail of work and being assurative of deadlines. Being a part of the program made me understand you can figure out anything, and that anything is possible if you work hard. I was glad to be a part of the program that paved a way for me in my journey to success. The practicum was a wonderful knowledgeable experience, I've learned many new skills from practicum and still continue to learn from. After the completion of my practicum I was asked to work part time as a Research Intern at Impact Arts Cooperative. I still presently work at Impact Arts, being a part of Impact Arts I’ve learned many new skills, and will continue to learn new skills. Thank you!"
- Natasha Moccasin
The DEVA program works to bridge the divide, helping Indigenous women find their voice and providing a training program that can give them the skills to CHANGE their current situation. DEVA facilitators walk beside participants every step of the way - start to finish and beyond.
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