Meet Anya and Shania Bhopa, RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Ones to Watch Award Recipients
Anya and Shania are sisters and Co-Founders of The Canadian Courage Project (CCP), a non-profit organization striving to support youth and their animal companions facing structural vulnerabilities. Currently a CIHR Vanier Scholar and third-year Doctoral Global Health candidate at McMaster University, Shania leverages her knowledge translation and co-design research expertise to inform her community work as Executive Director of the CPP. Anya, an Animal Sciences student specializing in large animal biology, agriculture, and sustainability and the recipient of the Aerie 2021 North American Changemaker Grant, leads the development of programming and fundraising. As recipients of the 2022 Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Community Impact Award, recognized for their immense contribution to youth and animal well-being in Canada, these sisters use their passions to make a positive difference in the lives of many.
We knew we wanted to catalyze social change because… we worked in animal shelters our entire lives and understood that health promotion comes from not only accessible resources but also community support. Health is more than just healthcare; it is the social, environmental, political, and economic influences that affect every person in our community. From working in the social housing system, we knew we had to fill a gap that existed.
Our mission aims to create a positive impact by… supporting the mental health of youth by helping individuals who are facing precarious housing keep their animal companions healthy.
One of the most important lessons we’ve learned as change leaders is… your age or level of experience in this sector is not a determining factor, but passion and grit are crucial traits for making a lasting impact.
Our proudest accomplishment is… developing our How to Change the World in Your Community workshop with a sustainable development goals framework and delivering it to over 76,000 youth in schools across Ontario to empower folks to support their communities.
The biggest risk we took that paid off was… investing our time and resources into our organization even though we were told we were “too young” and inexperienced.
One of the most important lessons we’ve gained from our experience within the sector is… that when working with individuals facing structural vulnerabilities, it is crucial to learn about their first-hand experience to create the most effective support plan.
We surprise people when we tell them… that we are six years apart — and that we performed on the Disney World stage in 2013.
If we had an extra hour in the day, we would use it to… exercise! Movement is medicine.
If you googled us, you still wouldn’t know… that Shania was a child actor and Anya competitively Irish danced.
The future excites us because… we hope to see more youth empowered to make change in their community!