Penticton residents have changed the life of a North African woman.
Raped and abused, Samira (name changed for privacy) left her marriage only to have a family member seek her out and severely burn her mother and infant daughter.
Samira was devastated, and struggling to survive, began weaving carpets to provide for her family.
Last December, a full house at a Voices in Song Benefit Concert raised more than $1,000 to purchase a motorcycle for Samira, which she now uses to take her hand-crafted carpets to market.
“Those who came out and supported our concert should know how much they have helped,” said Tracy Fehr, a lyric coloratura soprano who gives benefit concerts and workshops in Canada and North Africa to fundraise for ACT, the Association for Cooperation in Tunisia.
Among other initiatives, this non-profit organization helps unwed mothers and marginalized women receive training and funds to set up small home-based businesses. “We are so grateful for the community support.”
Fehr and senior singers from her Summerland studio will be hosting another benefit concert on Sunday May 5, this time raising money specifically to initiate funding for a counsellor to work with traumatized single mothers.
“Single moms and their children are suffering a lot especially because of discrimination,” says one of ACT’s workers in North Africa.
On her visits to disadvantaged women, this worker sees a need for a counsellor to help with trauma associated with rape, family abuse, and with issues such as child prostitution.
She has seen how previous concert fundraising has helped, and hopes to be able to do more.
“Please say a big thank you to all who donated from me and Samira,” she says. “We very much appreciate your passion for single mothers.”
The Voices in Song Spring concert will be held Sunday May 5 at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Penticton. Accompanists are Dennis Nordlund, piano and Elizabeth Lupton, violin. Tickets can be purchased at the Penticton and District Community Arts Council, Leir House, 220 Manor Park Ave., Penticton, or from Tracy Fehr at 250-494-1042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.