PERTH-HURON – After more than a decade of service to the diverse cultures of the communities in Perth, Huron, Wellington, Middlesex and Oxford Counties, the Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron is celebrating its recent designation as a registered charity by the Canada Revenue Agency. The association has helped over 70,000 people by providing food, clothes, finding employment, advising, marriage and driver’s licences, computer services and promoting conversational English classes. They have also promoted over 4,000 events highlighting the many cultures that make up the communities in midwestern Ontario.
“I want to say thank you so much for us to get this charity status,” said Dr. Gezahgn Wordofa, association founder and executive director. “It was not easy, and it took us a long time, I mean ten years, right? People know you more when you have charitable status.”
He said that the association already has a good working relationship with the community but giving receipts to private donors adds trust.
“It gives you an opportunity when you have the status,” said Wordofa. “Otherwise, it’s tough to raise money.”
There have been missed opportunities for the Multicultural Association to get fundraising support from municipal governments.
“They want to work with you, but if you have no charitable status, they won’t give you support,” he said.
Notably, the designation also provides an extra layer of financial accountability and transparency about the spending of public donations.
Wordofa said he wanted to clarify the misconception that the Multicultural Association only helps newcomers. He said they would never turn away any people in need.
“We help people experiencing homelessness in the community, immigrants and people born in Canada,” he said. “If you need help, we will not turn you down because you are Canadian.”
Wordofa took a moment to emphasize the association’s appreciation for Loreena McKennitt’s support.
“Without her, we would not be here now,” he said. “She is very welcoming to us. Because of her, we’ve existed, and now the government is ready to give us space … We live in a wonderful country. We live in a wonderful community, but sometimes when you are new, it is not easy.”
According to Wordofa, the respect and support of feeling welcomed are important.
“We respect the culture, traditions, religion whether people are Canadian, or they came from somewhere else, we appreciate – it’s not an easy life,” he said.
Some of the recent Multicultural Association efforts to help community members have been computer classes, conversational English classes, and a fundraiser to help people in need with dental costs.
The Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron has set a fundraising goal of $5,000 to help fix the smile of Denuwan P Rambuka Liyanage, a five-year-old boy from North Perth who has lost his teeth due to a dental problem. If they raise more than the goal needed for Liyanage’s surgery, the Multicultural Association will use the fund to help more people in need with dental surgery.
Wordofa will be delivering Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the North Perth municipal parking lot’s safe trade zone on March 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. to raise funds. To pre-order a dozen original Krispy Kreme for $15 by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Thank you, everybody. I want to say that if anybody wants to donate money, we can now provide a tax receipt,” he said. “I want to say that you to the community, the country and people helping us – the volunteers. I don’t have any words for how grateful we are to the volunteers and grateful to the board. It’s because of them I am here today. All donations go directly to our programs, and that is our main goal to help the community.”
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