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Student event to benefit women's handicraft charity

Nov 06 2012
Sophia Yang shows her painting at a community art show at Saunders Subaru. The artworks by students from Belmont Secondary School and the Juan de Fuca 55+ Centre had a Remembrance Day theme. Vintage military vehicles also were on display at the show, which ended Saturday. 

Sophia Yang shows her painting at a community art show at Saunders Subaru. The artworks by students from Belmont Secondary School and the Juan de Fuca 55+ Centre had a Remembrance Day theme. Vintage military vehicles also were on display at the show, which ended Saturday.

Photograph by: Darren Stone, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

Students from Pearson College and the University of Victoria are coming together to support the Didi Society, a Victoria-based charity dedicated to helping women around the world through fair trade.

Didi means "respected sister" in Hindi. The society was created about a year ago by Victorian Julia Norman, who was inspired to take action after spending time abroad.

The students are hosting an event called Mehmani With Didi at the Hillside Avenue Moka House on Thursday to raise funds and awareness.

UVic student Alina Benischek said the society helps women in Kenya and India get their handicrafts to market.

"The women make the products and send them over, and we sell them and give the women the money," she said.

The aim is to help the women make enough money to achieve a level of independence. Child welfare, gender equality and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles are also high on the agenda.

The handicrafts the women produce - handbags, wallets, pillowcases and table coverings - are sold at thedidisociety.org and at events around the city. There will be a good selection of items for sale at Thursday's gathering, Benischek said.

Mehmani With Didi runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and includes live music, a silent auction, wine and appetizers.

Admission is by donation. Contact info@thedidisociety.org for more information.

The Didi Society also offers a regular program of workshops and presentations to schools and organizations. Details are available by contacting the group at education@thedidisociety.org.


Local activity is underway to mark November as national Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month.

The fourth annual Giving for Gifts event will be staged Nov. 21 at the Strathcona Hotel by members of the Victoria chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

The occasion, which is scheduled for 6 to 9: 30 p.m., will feature live and silent auctions, with organizers touting it as a chance to do some early holiday shopping. Gift baskets, jewelry, local and out-of-town hotel stays, spa packages and pottery are among the items up for bid.

The evening will also include a cocktail hour, appies and live music from Scott MacDougall.

All proceeds go to research and education programs run by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by contacting 250-721-1574 or mcgeachie@shaw.ca. Those attending must be 19 or over.


Handmade dolls crafted in Victoria will once again be making a difference to people halfway around the world.

Money from the sale of African AIDS Angels helps children and families in southern Africa who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. The 15-centimetre dolls are popular as Christmas decorations and as adornments around the home year round.

The main group behind the angels is in Victoria, but volunteer angel-makers are also in Parksville, Roberts Creek, Pender Island and Halifax.

This year's collection will be sold at two open houses: Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Swan Lake Nature House (3873 Swan Lake Rd.), and a smaller event Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cook Street Activity Centre (380 Cook St.)

For more information, call 250-595-2008 or email


Nominations are open for the 2013 Victoria Leadership Awards, which have been recognizing community leaders since 2005.

The awards will be presented Feb. 25 at the Fairmont Empress hotel:

? The University of Victoria Community Leadership Awards - up to two awards will be given for leadership connecting UVic and the wider community.

? The Rotary Community Leadership Awards - up to two awards will go to leaders who exhibit the Rotary values of ethics and community service.

? The Vancity Youth Award - recognizes the community-based leadership of someone between the ages of 20 and 30.

? The Leadership Victoria Alumni Award - goes to a Leadership Victoria graduate who demonstrates leadership and gives service to the community.

? The Leadership Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award - honours outstanding long-term service in such areas as philanthropy, mentoring and career. This award can be posthumous.

? The Victoria Foundation Community Leadership Award - recognizes a group making positive change in the community.

? The United Way of Greater Victoria Award for Collaboration and Partnership - goes to an individual providing leadership as part of a non-profit organization.

? The Royal Roads University Leadership Excellence through Coaching and Mentoring Award - for outstanding, long-term service with a focus on coaching or mentoring.

Victoria Leadership Awards chairwoman Kate Mansell likened the effort to a local "Academy Awards" program aimed at citizens.

The Leadership Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award and the Victoria Foundation Community Leadership Award are not open to nominations; otherwise, nominations are due by Nov. 30.

Nomination packages are available at leadershipvictoria.ca. More details are available by calling 250-386-2269 or emailing




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