Mitchell spoke of the Women for Peace and Democracy - Nepal (WPD - Nepal) initiative and its relation to International Woman’s Day, held just a day prior.
“It’s a great weekend to do it, because (yesterday was) International Woman’s Day, and women have been fighting for rights all over the world for many years,” she told the audience. “I know I can’t go to another country and change somebody else’s rights, but I can help by raising money for Women for Peace and Democracy.”
WPD - Nepal, an independent women-led organization, is meant to empower and mobilize women to strive for gender equality and promote peace and democracy in Nepal.
Money is sent to Canadian-registered charity World Accord, and 90 per cent of those funds go to WPD - Nepal.
“It’s going to help because what happens is this money will go to a micro-credit fund for these women,” Mitchell said. “What happens then is these women are given loans so that they can buy pigs, goats and seed for their farms.”
According to Mitchell, the program has been effective, sporting a 98 per cent payback rate. What’s more, once the money is repaid, another loan can be given out to a different family.
“If you’re giving money to this cause, you’re not just giving it for a one-time thing,” Mitchell said. “You’re giving it for many, many years to come, because the money will just continue circulating throughout the community.”
Mitchell recounted the story of a woman in Nepal who became a member of the organization. The woman, Mitchell said, was able to take an economic literacy course, get a loan and open her own grocery store for just $50.
“Even if it’s a little bit of money, it can make a difference,” Mitchell said. “It only took her $50 to open up a grocery story. That’s something we can’t even really imagine.”
Prior to Mitchell’s presentation, representatives from Grandmothers for Grandmothers spoke of their charity that deals primarily with the HIV/AIDs pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.
“A grandmother’s heart is a grandmother’s heart, no matter where she lives,” member Marina Lyons said.
Monica Bayda, also a representative of Grandmothers for Grandmothers, praised Mitchell for her efforts.
“We were delighted to come and speak,” she said. “I have so much admiration for young people who give of themselves willingly for the needs of others and the less fortunate.”
Following the presentations, Mitchell and her family made a donation to Grandmothers for Grandmothers. Mitchell approached Grandmothers for Grandmothers about attending the event.
“I think it’s just important because I don’t think a lot of people know about that,” Mitchell said. “I never realized how many grandparents had to take care of their grandchildren.”
About 10 people participated in a yoga class earlier in the day, with the presentations and a chili lunch held at around noon.
Dreamcatcher and pottery classes were scheduled for later in the day, followed by movies and games in the evening and a pancake breakfast on Sunday.