September marks the start of a new season for many of us. Whether it’s back to school or back to the office, PINAY Quebec looks forward to the new opportunities and challenges that come with a change of season.
This summer, PINAY Quebec welcomed new people to the team. We asked them to reflect on their first month with us and to share their aspirations for the community.
Meet the PINAY Quebec team!
Alexi Fuentes, Community Worker
Alexi Fuentes (she/her) is a second-generation Filipino-Canadian from Montreal who has always been drawn to activism and art. This has shaped her journey in studying political science at McGill University, working in the Asian art community, and being a community worker in PINAY Quebec.
Alexi appreciates how art moves, educates, mobilizes, and empowers. She hopes to embody that through her work in PINAY, as someone who is dedicated to amplifying the voices of marginalized individuals and giving back to her community.
We asked Alexi to share some thoughts. She notes,
“Deciding to work with PINAY, an organization whose purpose is to support and empower Filipino workers, felt natural to me.
I am a second-generation Filipino-Canadian who was born and raised in Montreal. I owe a lot of my growth and identity to Côte-des-Neiges (CDN). The immigrants in this neighbourhood created vibrant communities and provided more opportunities for my generation.
It feels right for me to be doing work that aims to amplify the voices of marginalized people in my community. I want to use my privilege earned from pursuing higher education to give back. Although I moved outside of CDN, I always find myself circling back into the neighbourhood. As a young person, I know that I play a role in carrying on the important work of previous generations and paving the way for the generation after.
In my first month here, I learned that I have so much to learn, but I am capable of making real change. Putting value in community is an important way of keeping culture alive and developing a sense of acceptance and pride for one’s culture and identity.
I also learned that healing also happens in the community. We are meant to depend on each other, ask others for support, and support others.”
Cheney Cortes, BAYANIHAN Project Coordinator
Cheney Cortes (she/her) is the Project Coordinator for the BAYANIHAN Peer-to-Peer Support Project. Cheney also works as an immigration Consultant. She joins PINAY Quebec with a Diploma in Political Science, Comptabilite d’entreprise and Immigration Practitioner Laws and Procedures. Outside of work, she’s a farmer running her greenhouse.
“Choosing to work with PINAY mirrors my inner drive to help others. I believe that our strength lies in supporting and coming together as a community. Throughout the past month, I have learned the importance of persistence and facing challenges head-on to achieve our common goals. The most valuable lesson I have learned from PINAY is the spirit of bayanihan – that working with and serving people is not only a responsibility, but also something that deeply influences our work.
Filipinos play a crucial role in engaging with their communities. By actively participating and addressing issues, they contribute to creating resilient communities built on empathy and collective action. Similarly, young people have the potential to initiate change. Through organizing, serving, and protecting, they can use their youthful energy to transform communities. Their role is connected to the task of building a better future, constantly adapting, learning, and moving forward with resilience.”
Jela Dela Peña (they/he), Community Outreach Coordinator
Jela Dela Peña (they/he) joins PINAY Quebec as the Communications Outreach Coordinator. They were born and raised in the Philippines and has been based in Tiohtià:ke / Montreal since 2015. They come to PINAY Quebec as a filmmaker where their upbringing and experience as an immigrant plays a huge influence in their works.
They explore subjects like complexities of relationships in the worldview of a child whose mother left to work abroad when they’re ten years old, the range of human sexuality as a byproduct of colonialism and its parallels to the pre-colonial world, and the speculation of what the future could be/should be.
Aside from filmmaking, Jela is also immersed in community work such as events organization for the queer, trans, BIPOC communities.
When asked about their experience with PINAY Quebec, Jela adds,
“I chose to work at PINAY because I have always been looking to contribute for the betterment of the Filipino community in Montreal, the place that I now call my second home.
I believe that Filipinos should come in solidarity to overcome the challenges that we face in a society away from our motherland. Whether you’re born in the Philippines or not, our ancestors’ blood runs through us and their will to fight for our autonomy and rights still live within us. Filipino organizations all around the world prove this very thing that we are still connected no matter how wide the space between our islands.
We are continuing to light the torch in this very long, very dark tunnel of enacting change within the system and our connections with each other, to our land, and to the future generations after us!”
Joshua Corpus (he/him), Community Engagement Coordinator
Joshua Corpus (he/him) is a passionate individual who thrives on pushing boundaries, whether it’s through running, playing various sports, or pursuing new challenges. He currently works as PINAY Quebec’s Community Engagement Coordinator.
His journey from growing up in the United Arab Emirates to pursuing a degree in Economics in Canada has fueled his desire to discover his full potential. In his professional life, he’s dedicated to the mission of PINAY Quebec, where he works to empower Filipino/a/x Caregivers and Temporary Foreign Workers by educating them about their rights and shedding light on the harsh realities of migrant lives.
Joshua shares about his time so far,
“I chose to work with PINAY since I saw it was a great opportunity to help and support the community in ways I didn’t know before. PINAY’s goals and history shows how passionate they are in their work and how small victories can really make an impact
In my time here, I learned that a lot of shady and mischievous schemes happen even to those who are trying their best to just make a living. That shows how moving here as a Temporary Foreign Worker can be an overwhelming and terrifying experience. Sometimes, it’ll be the people you’d least expect. It’s very dark but it’s the truth.
It’s easy for people to take advantage of others when they know they hold just a little bit of power. Whether it is paying excessive fees or making a person’s life harder since they know they are a Temporary Foreign Worker.
I believe that Filipinos being involved in the community, even in a small way, can have a large impact. Supporting each other and bringing each other up will make the biggest difference in people’s lives.
I think that young people will continue or enhance all the changes we would want here in our community. To build off the progress that has been started and really take it to another level.”
Fatima Barron, Executive Director
Fatima Barron (she/her) was born in Toronto, Ontario to Filipino immigrant parents. She first joined PINAY Quebec in 2022 as the Capacity Building Project Coordinator. She’s dedicated over ten years to the nonprofit sector and now stands as the Executive Director for PINAY Quebec where she applies her extensive experience in community engagement, program coordination, and communications.
Fatima’s mother was a caregiver and her father a factory worker. Fatima’s upbringing bridged both Philippine and Canadian experiences, which has shaped her worldview and understanding of immigrant communities and marginalized peoples. She is a graduate of Carleton University with a specialized degree in Social Policy and a minor in business.
She has explored many facets of the nonprofit sector from civic engagement to settlement services to youth leadership. Fatima actively engaged with the Filipino community through various groups, notably as an executive of Anakbayan Toronto and Anakbayan Canada. Her grassroots work earned her a nomination for the Golden Balangay Young Leader of the Year Award in 2019. In her spare time, you can also find Fatima trying new Tiktok recipes, taking photos, crocheting, and opening 20+ tabs on her browser and never getting back to them.
Here’s what she has to say about her time at PINAY Quebec so far:
“It feels rewarding to come to an organization that rooted itself in the struggle of caregivers. To continue the work of the caregivers and women workers who built PINAY feels like a way to honour my mom’s hard work and sacrifice.”It feels rewarding to come to an organization that rooted itself in the struggle of caregivers. To continue the work of the caregivers and women workers who built PINAY feels like a way to honour my mom’s hard work and sacrifice.
I’ve learned a lot and I continue to learn a lot each day with PINAY Quebec. I learned that despite being Filipinos with different backgrounds, we have shared experiences that bind us together. It’s been eye-opening working here in Quebec to learn about the similarities and differences of the migrant workers’ experience. There’s so much nuance with and between levels of government, nonprofit organizations, and community groups. It is my hope that we navigate these nuances in a way that upholds the rights, welfare, and dignity of the migrant workers with whom we work.
It’s been great working with different generations as I believe there are strengths and lessons to learn from each other. If we hope to see another tomorrow, we must learn from those before us and be daring in continuing the struggle.”