Midia: supporting incarcerated women to access opportunities

A recipient of the 2018 Queen’s Young Leader award for her work as a social entrepreneur, Midia Shikh Hassan’s accomplishments are truly impressive. A first-generation immigrant in Canada with two technical degrees from the University of Ottawa, Midia has launched a program that increases the social entrepreneurship mindset in the student community, has led a refugee outreach program that supported 250 Syrian refugees in Ottawa, and is the Co-Founder and CEO of Dextra, a social enterprise that creates 3D printed prosthetics for amputees in marginalized communities.

One of the reasons DOT’s Impactathon appealed to her was the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded young people. 

I wanted to meet other young people in the city who are passionate about social issues and entrepreneurship so that we can either collaborate, share resources or both. The Impactathon was also a great way for me to test new ideas and to get inspired by others.

Midia joined DOT’s Impactathon in Ottawa to tackle another issue close to her heart: solving the challenge of the large number of Indigenous women incarcerated in Canada. Her social enterprise, TechNative, seeks to address this challenge.

After talking to several leaders in Indigenous communities in Canada, I became aware of the struggles and the issue they are facing. I wanted to create a platform to empower Indigenous women to build new skills and talents so that they can be mentors to younger Indigenous women. I believe this can be done using technology.

TechNative provides training to incarcerated women so that they can access meaningful work opportunities, deepen their connection to their communities, and become mentors.

Midia is one of seven young women in Ottawa, Canada who were selected to attend DOT’s youth innovation summit in Nairobi, Kenya. 

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