After growing up and studying in Montreal, Potisa returned to Greece in the early 90s. She had several interesting jobs in the arts field, but then the economic crisis hit. “I decided to come back to Montreal to live with my father, and I took care of him until he passed away a few months later. After that, I had no real reason to be here. I felt depressed and was abusing alcohol a bit. I had nothing to live for.”
She then began therapy at a rehabilitation centre for addiction. To help her find ways to socialize, her counsellor suggested that she start going to a women’s centre. “One day, while out for a walk, I noticed the Centre des femmes d’ici et d’ailleurs and knocked on the door. This woman opened the door and said, ‘Come on in.’ I had a coffee and I’ve been here ever since. That was almost 11 years ago.”
She now goes to the centre two or three times a week, just to have a coffee and chat with other women or get involved in specific projects. Each year, she participates in the Engaged Arts Weekly project, which consists of two weeks of workshops capped off by an event to show their work. “I’m very interested in militant art and social causes. I was on the anti-racism committee and the board of directors.”
The centre’s mission is vast. The goal is to break the isolation of women from all backgrounds and give them tools to improve their living and working conditions.
“Everyone should have a centre like this, and not just women; men and children need one too. This place may not be your actual family, but it is like a second family.”
Between the time she first set foot in the centre and today, Potisa has felt a huge difference. She also found a new purpose in life. “I love life. I love what I do. I don’t feel useless. I don’t feel out of place. I feel like I belong.”
Watch Potisa’s testimony
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