International Women’s Day 2024: “Creating My Own Spaces”

International Women's Day

The 2024 theme for International Women’s Day is “Inspiring Inclusion.” At Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, we’re working toward creating a world where all young girls and women feel a sense of community, belonging and inclusion which can be essential to building a lifetime of success.

Meet Favour

One such young woman is Favour — a former youth in care who, from a very young age, realized the importance of carving out her own spaces and fostering communities that empower her to pursue her dreams. Favour was 13 when she decided she had had enough: she refused to be placed back into foster care.  


“I first got involved with the system when I was eight years old. After immigrating from Nigeria when I was seven, I lived with my father in Surrey [BC]. My mother remained in Nigeria. And even at that age, I realized that my father just didn’t have the tools to take care of me.” 

After two separate stretches in foster care, Favour realized that the system wasn’t adequately equipped to meet her needs either and raised adamant objections about being placed, yet again, in a situation unsuited to helping a young child flourish. 

“I had tried to adjust to life in foster care before and knew it wasn’t for me. But I also knew I couldn’t stay with my father. It was challenging because you don’t have many options when you’re 13 and decisions are made for you.” 

Finding community and remembering her roots

Fortunately, Favour found support at school from her teacher, who offered to take her in. She moved in with this teacher, unofficially coming into her care, with frequent check-ins with the provincial children’s aid societies.

“It was scary to choose to leave behind the only family I had in the country and the little sense of community that I had access to. But I realized that ultimately, my roots are within me and they’ll remain a part of me, no matter where I am. And I also put down new roots. My old teacher is now someone I’m very close to – I call her my godmother.” 

As she navigated life during and after this unique arrangement, Favour sought to create her own spaces of familiarity and home. She joined youth organizations geared towards young people from care, continued to participate in church events and started a Black student union at college. A woman of many talents – a burgeoning writer, an ardent musician, an aspiring filmmaker – she found an outlet for her feelings by expressing her creativity through the arts. 


“When you’re in care as an immigrant youth or an ethnic minority, I think the loss of cultural connection and identity hits you particularly hard. It’s difficult because, in the real world, your race is the first thing people see about you. So, not being able to recognize that within yourself or being unable to connect with that can cause a lot of internal conflict. I’ve been very intentional about putting myself in (and sometimes creating) spaces where I feel I’m surrounded by my people. I can’t really function in spaces where I can tell the environment isn’t for me – I either leave or change it.” 

Moving forward and supporting other children and youth

She found that environment attending Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Stand Up For Kids Night, where she connected with other young people who had similar experiences.

“It was such a beautiful experience and I was so proud of the wonderful things that these people were doing. After that, I told myself that I wanted to support this cause and help other kids in future who might go through what I went through. I want to tell them that being a foster kid doesn’t necessarily define you – there’s so much more to you than the situation you’re in.” 

A bright and ambitious student, Favour earned a scholarship through the Foundation toward her post-secondary education. Now 20-years-old, she attends Douglas College, where she is studying creative writing and music therapy. 

“I always say, ‘prepare, don’t plan’ because I know all too well that life doesn’t follow plans. I’m using this time to prepare myself to be in spaces I want to be in – music, film, advocacy, building communities. Progress isn’t linear but I want to put myself in a position to succeed, no matter what life throws at me.”