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The Shoe Project tells stories of resilience, empowerment and a new life

 Grace Wang and her shoes for The Shoe Project. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC and submitted by Grace Wang - image credit)
Grace Wang and her shoes for The Shoe Project. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC and submitted by Grace Wang - image credit)

Ten women are sharing their stories of how they immigrated and adapted to life in Canada — through the lens of a pair of shoes.

The show, called The Shoe Project, takes place on Sunday at 2 p.m. at The Capitol Theatre.

The performers took part in a 10-week workshop, where they received instruction from author Heidi L.M. Jacobs and theatre educator Alice Nelson.

Some of the participants shared their stories ahead of the performance.

Katerina Georgieva/CBC and submitted by Grace Wang
Katerina Georgieva/CBC and submitted by Grace Wang

Grace Wang moved to Windsor from China with her daughter in September 2019. Her daughter is what inspired her.

"I believed that Canadian education could help my daughter enjoy studying and improve her innovation and provide her with a glorious future," she said.

The shoes she is sharing were a gift to herself after a job promotion.

"I brought these shoes as a reminder to be generous to myself," Wang said. "And I want to continue to reach my goal in Canada.

Katerina Georgieva/CBC and submitted by Vicki Liu
Katerina Georgieva/CBC and submitted by Vicki Liu

Vicki Liu, who is also from China, moved to Windsor with her husband and daughter in April 2022.

"I chose the shoes because it's a pair of shoes my sister bought me," Liu said. "They're significant because she doesn't have the opportunity to go abroad. These shoes carry my sister's blessings. The hope for me and the extension of her own dreams. I am very grateful for the kinship between us."

Katerina Georgieva/CBC and submitted by Amy Tian
Katerina Georgieva/CBC and submitted by Amy Tian

Amy Tian moved to Windsor with her daughter four years ago from China. Her shoes were a gift that showed Tian the beauty Canada has to offer.

"I picked a pair of hiking shoes," Tian said. (During COVID-19) I wore those shoes and built a garden. And after the pandemic, I wore those shoes to explore the Rocky Mountains."

Karyna Nikashyna is also sharing her story in the show. She escaped war in Ukraine, finding a new home in Windsor.

"They are lightweight sneakers that I came here with," Nikashyna said. "This is the only pair of shoes that I had when I came to Canada when I arrived in May 2022. I left Ukraine in March last year and I had only one suitcase."

She said The Shoe Project is an excellent opportunity to tell her story of resilience, new opportunities and friendship.

"I'm still in the process of getting used to all of this," she said. "When you realize I've been running, running, running and then I realize that all of that happened. Maybe one month ago when I really realized what happened to me."