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Deb Chard

Biography:
As a long time senior trainer and activist in Wen-Do Women’s Self Defence I teach all levels of Wen-Do classes including the instructor training program. Since 1988 I have been part of the creation of safety and wellness programs for colleges, community groups, shelters and schools. These programs are designed for women of all abilities, backgrounds and lived experience. In 1992 I co-developed a course in Wen-Do that offered a specific training to all women who used assistive devices of any type. This program was funded through Ontario Women’s Directorate and at the time – the Office for People With Disability. Our classes were taught throughout the province of Ontario. In 2006 we furthered this development & facilitation of a leadership training project - specifically for women living with mobility disabilities. Wen-Do Women’s Self Defence was nominated and received the City of Toronto Mayor’s Award for Community Safety for this project. Since 2002 I have been offering and further developing courses specific to women with no or low vision. I work regularly throughout the school year with middle school and secondary level young women at their schools where they are able to talk about healthy body images, healthy dating relationships and be reminded that they deserve respect in their lives – everywhere. I am inspired every day by the girls, young and adult women who come to my classes. Our understanding that there are no rules; our understanding that there are lies that we grow up with about our ability, our strength and our self reliance is, in my view, at the core of how we make real change in our lives and in the world. I am inspired by our ability as women to break down the societal misogynist, ableist, racist, oppressive myths that promote internalized and externalized contempt for girls and women. I celebrate our collective and individual will to create change in our own lives and in the world reflecting the underlying revolution of strong, resilient, determined women!