On the evening of Dec. 17, local songwriters and vocal talents will be performing at the Nelson United Church to support the second annual crowdfund put on by The Community Ascent Network. The show will feature singers Liz Arnason, Hannah Deboer-Smith, and Veronique Trudel in three sets, all performing original songs, and backed up in full by The Commiseration Company House Band.
The entire concert will also be filmed and made available by donation through their crowdfund page at startsomegood.com.
All funds from the concert will be in support of programs that will give high school students in the community of Piñán, Ecuador, the opportunity to graduate, visit universities and colleges, and receive special training in guiding and tourism to create work in their own community. The crowdfund itself was launched on Dec. 3 with the goal of reaching $15,000 for programs that have been designed with full participation from community members.
Piñán, located in a high and remote area in the Andes of Ecuador is made up of about 220 people – or 40 families – who are descendants of the Kichwa Indigenous peoples of the area. Piñán is a very unique place. Settled hundreds of years ago in the isolated grasslands to serve a colonial ranch, the village has barely changed in appearance or tempo. Villagers still live in mud huts with thatched grass roofs, cook on wood fires, and ride through the passes on horseback to harvest wild berries and herd cattle. Only the string of power lines in the village stands out as a modern addition.
But their location and difficult history has had a lasting impact. Livelihoods are scarce and poverty is starkly present. The remoteness and lack of opportunities in their village means that most people have to leave to find jobs for months at a time or sometimes permanently. No one has ever been able to graduate from basic schooling in this community.
“We need help for our children, for them to learn, study in high school and university because due to the distance not one person from our community has ever graduated,” said Fausto Rodriguez, ex-president of Piñán at the start of the project.
This is what the approximately 80 youth living there are facing in their future right now. This is what our crowdfund aims to change.
Tickets for the concert can be bought at communityascent.com. To donate until Jan. 3, visit startsomegood.com/help-support-pinan-s-first-ever-graduating-class.
You can reach the organization at email@example.com or at 250-505-9071.