A group of local singers are raising their voices in support of young women and girls around the world.
Seven young songstresses, each well-known in her own right, are coming together to raise money for the education of women in developing countries and mark the UN’s International Day of the Girl.
“We’re the generation that is responsible for change in the world right now,” said 16-year-old Emma Blair. “We’re the voices that kind of need to speak out for these girls who aren’t able or allowed to have voices of their own.”
Blair, along with Emily Ross, Selina Heyligers-Hare, Madi Dixon, Sarah Ott, Julia Frasher and Kathleen Limpio, is performing in the Because I am a Girl concert at the Yukon Arts Centre on Saturday.
This is the second year the group has come together to raise money for the Because I am a Girl campaign, an international program to end gender inequality and promote girls’ rights.
“I hope (the audience) come away with a new understanding of how powerful and strong girls are,” Blair said.
“Because sometimes girls are typically labelled as weak, and all of us girls are kind of singing for the strength of others. We hope that people can take that away.”
The concert is one of many events scheduled around the world to coincide with the International Day of the Girl.
“Girls face discrimination and violence every day across the world. The International Day of the Girl focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights,” according to the UN’s website.
The Yukon concert is the brainchild of Emily Ross and her mother Lisa.
All of the performers, who range in age from 15 to 17, know each other from around the Yukon singing community, Lisa Ross said.
Last year’s concert, at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre, raised about $4,000.
About 230 people attended and “there were probably about 30 people that stood for the entire two-and-a-half hour concert.”
When the girls got together and talked about where they wanted the money to go, education was a top priority, Lisa Ross said.
That’s how the Because I am a Girl fund was chosen. It is run by Plan Canada, one of the world’s oldest international development agencies.
The money goes to things like scholarships, school construction, nutrition programs and training opportunities in developing countries around the world including Bangladesh, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
“By educating a girl you raise an entire community. So it’s not just girls and women that are affected, it’s an entire community,” Lisa Ross said.
Moving to the arts centre this year means there’s space for a larger audience. The event is being presented by the arts centre and the Yukon government’s Youth Investment Fund.
Solos, duets, trios and ensemble songs are all being planned for the night.
“I think it’s important because there are a lot of girls in the world that are going through life without an education,” said 16-year-old Limpio. “We want to be able to raise awareness towards the inequality and the poverty that’s going on.”
Tickets for the night are $20 for adults $10 for youth. The concert is happening at 7 p.m.
It is also being filmed. It will be made into a DVD and later aired on community television.
This year’s event goes beyond the singing. Jessica Hall, who is creating the DVD, will be mentoring a group of youth in videography that night.
On the Friday before the concert, members of Yukon Women in Music are also offering a free singing, songwriting and performance workshop from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Not only do we want to present a concert of these seven artists, we also want to help other artists grow,” Lisa Ross said.
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