A Richmond resident is one of 13 people being bestowed with the honour of the Order of British Columbia today.
Shashi Assanand is a pioneer in founding the Vancouver and Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Service Society (VLMFSS), which provides support to immigrant, refugee and visible-minority women, children and families facing domestic violence.
Her work provides free and confidential services to many victims and survivors who do not have access to transition houses and other supports due to barriers such as language and the understanding of Canada’s legal system.
Assanand said she was “surprised,” but “honoured” to have been chosen for the prestigious accolade.
“I was so thrilled when I received the call about being a recipient of the Order of B.C.,” said Assanand, adding that “for a minute (she) didn’t believe it.”
“There are no words to describe how I feel except that I’m truly honoured to have been nominated and chosen.”
Assanand told the Richmond News that her 18-year-old granddaughter was the first person she told about the good news because she wanted to show her how women can make a difference.
“I wanted my granddaughter to be aware that she has the potential and she can succeed in what she decides to do,” said Assanand.
Lt. Gov. Janet Austin, chancellor of the order, said the Order of British Columbia is a way to recognize people who have changed communities for “the better in many ways.”
“(The recipients) have helped us to grow as a province, taught us to care for our environment, enriched our lives with literature and art, helped us address past injustices and inspired us to become a more caring and inclusive society,” said Austin.
“To recognize these remarkable people, who are changing our communities for the better in many ways, is an honour of great personal significance to me.”
This year, 160 British Columbians were nominated and recipients were selected by an independent advisory council.
Since 1989, the order has inducted 460 B.C. residents.
Because of COVID-19, the induction ceremony for the recipients will be held at the Government House in Victoria in 2021.