Entertainment, education and inspiration for change are what Global Citizen Kelowna Week 2013 hopes to provide.
The ninth annual initiative will feature a series of activities organized by a group of volunteers, including individuals from local businesses, non-profit groups, civic organizations, representatives from School District 23, seniors and college/university students.
The first of the activities—Global Children’s Villages—takes place Saturday in the auditorium of New Life Church.
The event will first lead families through a simulated slum with actors portraying life in undesirable conditions. After that, children will get the chance to visit other simulated villages from around the world, get their passports stamped and collect coins. The coins will then be given back to ultimately improve the living conditions in the slum.
“On the one hand it will be devastating as they walk through,” said Nico Deschner, event coordinator for Global Children Villages.
“But then we want to give them hope and understanding—they can make a difference in somebody else’s life.”
Deschner added the event will be a “conversation starter” for families.
There are several other activities planned for Global Citizen Kelowna Week as well.
From Feb. 18 to 21, Grade 6 students in the Central Okanagan will get the chance to take part in the Global School House at New Life Church; Taylor Conroy will be featured in Global Citizen Kelowna Week Speaker’s Series, 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at Trinity Baptist Church where Global Market Place will take place; Taste of Home kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the New Life Church auditorium; Millennium Development Challenge takes place at the Rotary Centre for the Arts Feb. 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Artists Eye will be held at the Laurel Packing House March 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Global Music Fest wraps up the initiative March 1 and 2 at Laurel Packing House and March 3 at Trinity Baptist Church.
Global Citizen Kelowna has two overarching goals, according to Joyce Brinkerhoff, executive director of the initiative.
“One of those is to bring awareness to the Millennium Development Goals, which were established by the United Nations (in 2000),” said Brinkerhoff.
The eight goals include: Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowerment for women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/aids, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.”
“They were targets to be reached by 2015—we’ve got a long ways to go, and we need more awareness to come, but they are striving toward it in many places.”
Kelowna Lake-Country MP Ron Cannan announced the federal government has contributed over $38,000 to Global Citizen Kelowna Week to help make the event “an even greater success.”
For more information on any of the activities, visit globalcitizenkelowna.org.