Demonstrating acceptance and a strong will to make a difference, the First Unitarian Church of Victoria, the Victoria Hindu Temple, and the Ukrainian Cultural Centre are coming together to organize a fundraiser for Child Haven International next Saturday (April 18).
The charity, founded by the Reverend Fred Cappuccino and his wife Bonnie, focuses on supplying shelter, food, clothing and education to destitute children in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Tibet and is a lifeline for hundreds of children.
“Because the children don’t have families to support them, education is crucial,” said Christine Johnston. “If you don’t have a family, you need a skill.”
Johnston has been involved with Child Haven International since its founding 30 years ago and is their official social worker in Victoria.
“What I love too, is it’s always their home,” she says of the charity’s group homes. “Their parents may be mentally ill, in prison, blind, or perhaps a widow that’s been abandoned. They’re homeless children and once they’re accepted, they’re there for good.”
Johnston was instrumental in getting the Victoria chapter going through her Unitarian church, and her commitment to the cause has never wavered.
Next week’s fundraiser is an annual tradition, but it’s been steadily growing since 2000. This year there will be a gourmet vegetarian Indian dinner and a performance by the teen dancers at the Victoria Hindu Temple in Saanichton, with a chance for audience participation.
“They’ve modernized it to make it more hip, as teenagers do,” said Johnston with a laugh. “And then after they’re going to give a dance lesson.”
After the entertainment, volunteers who have been overseas will present the charity’s current needs and show a video featuring some of Child Haven International’s projects.
The fundraiser kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 3277 Douglas St. Doors open at 6.
Tickets are $30, and are available online at http://www.childhaven.ca/fundraiser_victoria.html, or by calling Christine Johnston at 250-385-5444.
For more information, visit childhaven.ca.