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When Sumera Zaman moved to Canada two years ago, she didn’t have an interest in home repair. That changed when she learned the cost of hiring skilled labour in Canada. Now, she considers learning these skills a necessity for financial survival.

“In the country I’m coming from, the labour was very cheap, so I never bothered learning these things,” she said.

Zaman is one of fifteen participants in the Immigrant Women’s Centre’s new workshop called ‘The Power of Power Tools’ teaching newcomer women do-it-yourself home repair. Throughout the workshop, the women learned skills such as how to replace doorknobs and locks, patch holes in drywall, repair faucets and toilets, and replace broken floor tiles.

“We save when we do it ourselves,” Zaman continued. “It’s very important to learn it,”

More than one-third of Canadian homeowners plan to take on some form of home renovation project this year, with an average expected cost of just over $15,000, according to a CIBC report.

The workshop is being facilitated by Sandi Tait, a local home repair expert with over twenty years of experience.

“I see in the newcomer women determination to do whatever it takes to make a nice home for themselves and their families, and many of the women have skills to share as well,” she said.

The group of women come from all different levels of experience. One is an electrician, while others have completed minor renovations themselves. “Many mentioned learning from the internet about repairs but want hands-on experience and safety guidance with tools,” Tait continued.

This workshop ran for eight sessions at the Dominic Agostino Riverdale Community Centre from January to March, 2015.

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