Helping indigenous women while having fun

| October 7, 2018 | 0 Comments
The organizers of the luncheon event included, Irene Knopfel Nobs (Switzerland), president of the heads of mission spouses association; event hostess Agata Kurnicka (Poland); Lerzan Kayikan (Turkey); keynote speaker Valerie Bellegarde; Aynur Huseynli (Azerbaijan); and Inara Eihenbauma (Latvia.) (Photo: Sam Garcia)

The organizers of the luncheon event included, Irene Knopfel Nobs (Switzerland), president of the heads of mission spouses association; event hostess Agata Kurnicka (Poland); Lerzan Kayikan (Turkey); keynote speaker Valerie Bellegarde; Aynur Huseynli (Azerbaijan); and Inara Eihenbauma (Latvia.) (Photo: Sam Garcia)

Many urban indigenous women don’t receive adequate prenatal education or care, but an organization in Thunder Bay is doing its best to change that. Called Beendigen Inc., it is an Anishinabe women’s crises home and “family healing agency” and it was the recipient of the money raised at the annual fundraiser put on by the Head of Mission Spouses’ Association (HOMSA) and organized by spouses from Europe. (Beendigen means “come in” in Ojibway.)
Inara Eihenbauma, wife of Latvian Ambassador Kārlis Eihenbaums, served as emcee for the event, which included speakers, a silent auction and a lunch. She said they chose this charity because they could all relate to it.
“All donations have the potential to positively impact those they serve,” Eihenbauma said. “The prenatal program touched our hearts — we are all mothers.”
Debra Vermette, executive director of Beendigen, said the members of her organization were thrilled.
“That the impact of Beendigen’s work and the women we serve reached such a prominent group of women was truly amazing,” Vermette said. “Women honouring women builds strength. Having the diplomatic spouses select Beendigen and recognize our efforts was a tremendous honour.”
She said the funds will go to the prenatal program and will be used to buy vitamins and milk and to meet the other nutritional needs of pregnant women.
“Nutrition during and after pregnancy is key to healthy babies,” Vermette said. “These dollars will help continue that message.”
Eihenbauma said the charity came on to the spouses’ radar thanks to Valerie Galley Bellegarde, wife of Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Bellegarde also served as the keynote speaker at the fundraiser.
Eihenbauma said there were several notable donations for the event, including the use of the Polish embassy as a venue. In addition, the embassy of Estonia donated a silk painting by Estonian artist Ilme Rätsep for the silent auction; the embassies of Macedonia, Croatia, Romania and Armenia donated country baskets. The embassy of Kazakhstan donated two unique works of art and Diplomat food columnist Margaret Dickenson donated two of her award-winning cookbooks while Penny Burke donated pearl jewelry.
In addition to those donations, and others, there was a lunch with food and wine donated by the ambassadors’ spouses.
At the end of the day, the group raised $6,075 in support of Beendigen’s prenatal program. Each guest paid $35 for a ticket, which included a raffle ticket and a sumptuous lunch of European delicacies. Participating embassies were those from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags:

Category: Diplomatica

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *