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From Adversity to Empowerment: Jebunnessa Chapola's Story

Materials.Business Newsletter ⚙️ February 21th, 2024

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Podcast Guest: Jebunnessa Chapola

Summary of the discussion

Dr. Jebunnessa Chapola's remarkable presence exemplifies the embodiment of a clear, defined purpose, offering profound satisfaction as we witness her resilience transcending circumstances, ethnicities, beliefs, and histories. She symbolizes humanity's invaluable capacity for resilience, while also championing the imperative of empowering future generations of women to fulfill their potential and achieve meaningful milestones.
Decolonization of Self: Dr. Chapola emphasizes the importance of beginning the decolonization process by deconstructing and understanding oneself. This introspective journey is crucial before attempting to decolonize research, academia, or systems.
Challenges Faced: Throughout her doctoral journey, Dr. Chapola encountered numerous challenges, including being a mother of three children while both she and her partner were studying. Financial struggles, adapting to a new country, and poverty added to the complexity of her journey.
Intersectional Approach: Dr. Chapola's commitment to anti-racist and decolonial feminist frameworks is grounded in understanding the intersections of class, race, gender, and religion in cross-cultural communities.
Creating Safe Spaces: She highlights the importance of creating informal safe spaces for dialogue on anti-racism, indigenous histories, racial injustices, and decolonial gender justice. Initiatives like community radio conversations, community gardening, and transnational cultural activities provide platforms for candid expression without fear of ridicule or attack.
Understanding "Isms": Dr. Chapola elucidates various systems of oppression, including colonialism, capitalism, neoliberalism, racism, imperialism, sexism, classism, fundamentalism, ageism, and ableism. These "isms" need to be discussed and addressed to foster a more equitable society.
Relational Autoethnography: Utilizing this qualitative research method, Dr. Chapola gave voice to her life struggles and challenges, aiming to amplify the experiences of racialized women who may face similar obstacles in expressing themselves or conducting research.
Recognizing Unpaid Informal Labor: Dr. Chapola advocates for recognizing and valuing women's reproductive labor, community-building efforts, and unpaid informal learning spaces. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and supporting these contributions to society.
Empowerment through Community Engagement: Community engagement, according to Dr. Chapola, is vital for empowerment. Building therapeutic relationships and amplifying voices within communities can lead to transformative knowledge and societal change.
Dr. Jebunnessa Chapola opens up about her journey of self-discovery and activism, emphasizing the importance of decolonization and community building. As an immigrant mother, Dr. Chapola faced numerous challenges, from navigating academia to advocating for women's rights and recognition. Dr. Chapola's insights shed light on the transformative power of education and the importance of collective action in creating a more equitable society.


Jebunnessa Chapola
Dr. Jebunnessa Chapola (Pronoun: She/her)SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow | Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
University of Regina, SK, Canada and Contract Faculty | Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Here are my postdoc profiles, research, and doctoral research stories: 
Here are some Publications:
1.      Chapola, J. (2020). Reconciliation through transnational lenses: An immigrant woman’s learning journey. In R. Datta (Ed). Reconciliation in practice: A cross-cultural perspective, pp. 92-110. Winnipeg, Canada: Fernwood Publishing.
2.      Chapola, J. (2020). Building bridges among Indigenous and immigrant communities: A visible minority immigrant woman’s journey. In R., Datta (Ed). Indigenous decolonization and reconciliation: Responsibility for social and environmental justice. London: Routledge.
3.      Datta, R & Chapola, J. (2020). Community gardens: An immigrant story of food sovereignty Saskatoon City, Saskatchewan, Canada. In J. Gruber, (Ed). Building Community – Twelve Principles for a Healthy Future, pp. 47-52. BC: New Society Publishers.
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