Community led solutions in northern Canada



As a seasoned health-care professional and child psychotherapist, 69-year-old Nina Spitzer knows education is vital to the progress of individuals and communities. Volunteering with Cuso International’s Canadian Program for four years, Nina has created a solid foundation of respect and trust with her students, their parents, and the communities of Fort Good Hope and Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

“I feel that my presence as a mature, respectful person assists in mending what has historically been a broken bridge between the Indigenous and non-indigenous communities,” says Nina.

“The students I serve are curious about the world, and their curiosity provides me the opportunity to educate and empower them, as together, through books, we explore, learn, rebuild and grow.”

By turning an unused structure into a vibrant, welcoming library, Nina has created a safe space where students access academic resources, music, good books, and seating arrangements that accommodate individual learning styles. She most recently as an educational assistant in a class that demands a one-to-one student-teacher ratio for students struggling emotionally and academically.

Launched in 2017 the Canadian Program is committed to helping Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories address low graduation rates, improve education outcomes, and promote truth and reconciliation with non-indigenous citizens.