Toronto’s VOCAB Communications (Voice of Canadian and American Brands) is holding a kick-off event to help raise funds for children in Arusha, Tanzania.
The event, which takes place Aug. 20 at Toronto’s Speakeasy 21, is run under the PR firm’s philanthropic arm, Meet Me in Africa. It will feature Juno Award winner Jully Black and Alysha Brilla, a Juno award-nominated Tanzanian-Canadian musician.
Meet Me In Africa was created by VOCAB Communications founder, Chrissy Newton, who visited Arusha on a media trip in 2012. During her visit, she met a group of children at the Mama Jane Orphanage and decided to help upon her return home.
“I fell in love with the kids and fell in love with Mama Jane,” said Newton. “You can’t just go to Africa and go into some really underdeveloped areas and not come out changed.”
Newton returned to Arusha in 2013 and got a greater sense of what’s needed at the orphanage. Newton and a team of volunteers plan to visit the orphanage once a year and work directly on one project focusing on construction, education or agriculture.
For 2014, the goal is to build an outdoor kitchen and wooden fence. Newton said all funds raised from the event will go directly to the projects, including hiring local tradespeople. “[The project] may seem small, but it’s big for the orphanage,” said Newton, adding that cooking at the facility is currently done outdoors.
On the CSR front, Newton said the agency’s philanthropic endeavors can help VOCAB and puts the agency in a great light. “But to be honest, that’s exactly who we are inside.”