An opinionated nonprofit committed to changing harmful narratives around development.
For diversity, equity, and inclusion to become more than buzzwords, we stop shying away from having difficult conversations, lean into a little discomfort and open ourselves up to the possibility that we have more to learn. Differences in opinion will no longer be deemed acts of defiance but seen for the valuable and innovative tools they are.
To facilitate meaningful community connections sparking collective action to disrupt the comfort of indifference, dismantle oppressive institutional structures, and defy the confining boxes of social expectations.
Our team is passionate about the causes they support and bring enthusiasm, commitment, and accountability into their work.
Solutions formed from a variety of opinions lead to better long-term outcomes. Communities know best what their needs are. We facilitate resources. Combining our skills and connections multiplies our efforts. We innovate through collaboration.
We don’t believe in a one-size fits all solution. We provide individualized support working closely with Indigenous communities, newcomers, youth, womxn, and Zulu communities in South Africa.
WHO WE WORK WITH
Single parents, BIPOC individuals, men, womxn, gender-neutral individuals, employees, and the unemployed, to name a few.
Defyne does not discriminate. Through our lived experiences, we know that transitions are challenging. Everyone can benefit from a boost. Needing support shouldn’t be stigmatized—it’s human.
WHERE WE WORK
New Westminster, B.C.
Colours is currently being offered as an After School Program in the New Westminster School District. We are working with Burnaby and Surrey to expand the program into their school districts as well.
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
We are establishing a fair trade exchange to support women entrepreneurs in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. COVID-19 and political instability have hit the country hard, especially for women.
WHO WE ARE
Dalia Al Houseini and Alex Walmsley found each other working for a company where they both felt their values were misaligned. Despite coming from different backgrounds, Alex and Dalia quickly learned that they shared very similar values. Bonded over their love of working with people and a mutual frustration working in the field of development, they set out to do things differently.
That relationship led to the birth of Defyne Development in the Spring of 2022. The Defyne Development team is made up of passionate individuals who always think outside the box, defying preconceptions and prejudices.
Alex Walmsley, Co-founder:
Alex studied Political Science at the University of Victoria. Her focus was largely on Community and International Development, Political Economy, and Comparative Politics. Alex spent three years working in community, youth, and curriculum development in non-profits throughout Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa utilizing a community-based approach.
Alex also worked in Education and Youth Development for the Pacheedaht Nation on Vancouver Island. She brings years of experience working cross-culturally to her position at Defyne. Alex is a ‘people person.’ She uses her ability to connect with people to engage communities, consult local knowledge, and bring people together to maximize the organization’s impact.
Dalia Al Houseini, Co- Founder
Dalia is a seasoned professional in the nonprofit sector with experience in supporting youth, women, immigrants, and Indigenous communities. A coach, consultant, and facilitator, she is passionate about supporting individuals through empathy and understanding.
She currently sits on a number of committees in the City of New Westminster including the Local Immigration Partnership Committee, the SPOKES Anti-Racism Committee, and the Affordable Childcare and Housing Committee.
Dalia is a single mother to a seven-year-old child and a woman of colour who had to navigate the challenges of integration into the Canadian society and the economy. Supporting people in identifying and realizing their goals is what gets her excited to work every day.
WHAT WE BELIEVE IN
We know that for meaningful change to happen everyone will need to be a little uncomfortable. Growth doesn’t come out of your comfort zone. So we’re candid in our opinions and call it how we see it. We encourage everyone we work with to do the same. At Defyne, we value honest dialogue.
We are strongly committed to shifting the narratives away from poverty porn to focus on people’s strengths. You can’t promote empowerment and healthy self-esteem while using people as the poster for poverty and despair. Every community has its strengths. Focus on strengthening those.
Successful development is collaborative. Communities are aware of what their needs are– they need resources.
We empower each other by working together and building off of our unique set of strengths. Effective solutions materialize through the power of collaboration, diversity, and reciprocity.
We hold ourselves to the same standards as water: never fixed, always fluid, and no barrier is impenetrable
Redefining narratives in development to focus on people’s strengths
Delivering equitable platforms
Placing more value on lived-experience
Being accountable by measuring impact and outcomes
Bringing passion, compassion, and commitment to everything we do
Being loud and honest about where change needs to happen
LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR COMMUNITY?
Deyfyne Development is a nonprofit organization founded on the principles of equity, diversity, and integrity.
Contact us to learn more about how you can join our community!