For the new Piruqatigiit Resource Centre‘s first foray into International FASD Awareness Month, it has planned a full slate of activities for Iqalungmiut and a special territory-wide project.
Piruqatigiit, located in Iqaluit and founded by executive director Jennifer Noah, provides information, support and programming for Nunavummiut with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), diagnosed or not, and their loved ones.
“We’ve had so much shame and stigma – even through the Government of Nunavut’s past campaigns – that we’re trying to steer away from, and message more about a community-centred approach: that all of us have a responsibility to help support moms and healthy pregnancy and families,” said Noah.
“We mostly focus on folks who are already impacted with FASD, and building capacity, promoting dignity and well-being and connection, and being integrated in the community.”
Noah says that includes “having other service providers and departments and systems to be really FASD-informed and aware so they can better support folks, because when people are understood and accommodated, they can thrive and function just as well as somebody who doesn’t have a neurodevelopmental disability.”
In Iqaluit, beginning Sept. 7, a variety of events will take place and those are listed on the resource centre’s Facebook page.
For the territory as a whole, Piruqatigiit has launched a photo story project and is asking for contributions.
“Pictures that respond to any one of the theme questions. What we’re trying to do is really break down stigma. And yes, the photos in the photo storybook will be about FASD, but it’s really through a lens of what makes you feel included, who makes you feel loved, when do you feel supported, how do you like to spend your time,” said Noah.
“We’re hoping to get photos from across the territory. It’ll be translated into Inuktitut and Inuinaqtuun, and English. We’re trying to unify people in seeing FASD through a strength-based lens.”
The resource centre is guided by an advisory circle, and works closely with elders and other knowledgeable Inuit community members, “to really anchor our messaging and everything that we’re doing from Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit lens, as well.”