Dancer and choreographer Jess Ortaleza listens as World Vision El Salvador staff translate the stories of a group of high-school students affected by violence during a 2018 trip with Mississauga dance crew Kindred Culture. Photo: World Vision.
Canadians across the country are marking International Development Week (Feb 3-9) by celebrating the role we all play in eliminating global poverty and injustice. This year’s theme, Together for Gender Equality,
recognizes the contributions of Canadians towards a more equal and just world where women and girls are empowered change agents in their communities.
World Vision joins over 50 organizations
hosting events and initiatives from coast to coast to recognize Canadians who care, including artists, volunteers, youth groups and other generous Canadians.
“The inner-city youth I met in El Salvador face the threat of violence on a daily basis,” says Jess Ortaleza, a professional dancer and choreographer from Toronto who visited World Vision youth programs with urban dance crew Kindred Culture this past summer. “But I saw that art can help empower change. Connecting with local youth through dance was the most eye-opening, inspiring and fulfilling experience in my life. And now that I’m back in Canada, I’m determined to advocate for the girls and boys I met.”
“My life’s work is spreading positive energy to kids of all ages through my music,” says Canadian singer, songwriter Fred Penner, who was inspired to create a new song “Somebody Believes” after meeting Edgar, a former sponsored child from the Philippines. “Edgar was able to rise above poverty and injustice. All it took was for someone to care, for someone to believe in Edgar and to stand with him. When we believe in a child’s potential, we transform lives, around the world and here in Canada too.”
“Canada is a country that cares and we stand with others so that everyone realizes their rights,” says Michael Messenger, President and CEO of World Vision Canada. “Together we are turning our outrage at injustice into action for good, alongside the world’s most vulnerable girls and boys.
“Kindred Culture”, Canadian urban dance group who met children affected by gang violence in El Salvador: HERE
“Somebody Believes” an inspirational new song by 4-time JUNO winner Fred Penner. HERE
Other stories of Canadians who care: HERE
Development Week webpage: HERE