SHINING EXAMPLE - Charity is a Tools for School Africa Foundation scholarship recipient awaiting admission in to the University of Cape Coast. Other recipients in post secondary are taking business management

Second annual fundraiser for Tools for Schools Africa

Most people have some jewelry in their home that they no longer wear or that they simply don’t care for, but they don’t know what to do with it.

The opportunity to get rid of said jewelry is now with the second annual Tools for School Africa Foundation’s (TFSAF) Shine! event coming up.

“We simply ask the ladies of the community if they would be willing to donate the jewelry from the bottom of their jewelry boxes. It costs them nothing, and benefits us,” said Marilyn Pottage, chair of the board of TFSAF in Canada and Ghana.

She said this is the most significant fundraiser for the Foundation and the purpose is to raise funds for scholarships for girls in west Africa. The idea behind this fundraiser was that it would be a unique event that wouldn’t cost any one person an exorbitant amount of money.

Pottage said that last year’s event raised $23,000 which was then matched by the provincial government to provide over $40,000 in scholarship funding to the girls of west Africa.

“To date we have helped more than 70 girls and by this fall we will have about 85 girls in the program. We have about 30 that have gotten through high school and a number that have gone on to post secondary training.”

The cost to put a girl through junior high is between $150-$200 and high school is about $200. Pottage pointed out though that the private boarding school costs are about $600.

“Also last year we ended up doing a build with the University of Manitoba and their board of directors passed it as a credit course. So the students did all the architectural drawings and initial building and put in sweat equity.”

The event this year will be taking place on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at Festival Hall, which is a move from the Westerner grounds where it was held last year.

There are just a few tickets left at this point and they are available on the web site for $35 for a regular shopper or $40 for a super shopper.

“A super shopper ticket gets them in to the event one hour before anybody else and they can go to all the sale tables and choose an item, plus they get to see what’s available before anybody else.”

Pottage said there are some wonderful pieces of jewelry this year, but the event has been expanded to include scarves and purses as well.

Francisca Amoako, treasurer of the Ghanaian TFSAF board will also be present at the event and will be teaching African dancing.

“People will also have the opportunity to donate directly to a scholarship and Francisca will be on hand to speak directly to anyone who wants to know about the scholarships.”

There will also be live entertainment by local artist Marla Torgerson.

One thing Pottage said she is very proud of is the TFSAF’s low overhead and administration costs. “Our budget for 2012 was $83,000 and our overhead and administrative fees were $240 which is well under one half of one per cent. Not a lot of charities can say their numbers are that good.”

She also added that there are already plans in the works to host this event again next year.

“So many people said this is something that’s affordable and that they could bring their daughter and she could buy something to take home.”

Guests will be presented a glass of wine as they enter compliments of True Line Homes as well as a gift bag and dessert.

Pottage said they are already looking to collect donations of jewelry for next year, which can be dropped off at Artistry In Gold in downtown Red Deer.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.tfs-africa.org.

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

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