Some big names are headed to the Pantages Playhouse this March to raise money for victims of sexual violence.
A fundraiser featuring Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, Senator Romeo Dallaire and War Child North America founder Dr. Samantha Nutt will be held at the theatre on March 27.
It will raise money for a hospital in Congo that helps survivors of sexual violence.
Dr. Denis Mukwege’s Panzi Hospital has become known worldwide for its work with victims of sexual abuse and their families.
Winnipeg music and film producer Darcy Ataman organized the fundraiser. Last year, he travelled to the African country to implement a music program that helps the victims heal.
A 2011 report by the American Journal of Public Health estimated that upwards of 1.8 million women in Congo have been raped during their lifetimes.
The Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Congo has treated thousands of victims of sexual violence since 1999, creating a gated community where women and families can feel safe from the social stigma surrounding rape.
“[One woman] told me that every day she got up and made a choice, in that, do I go up and work in the mine and I know I’m going to get raped, or do I not make enough money to feed my kids for that day?” said Ataman.
One thing that struck him about the community was the number of children there.
“It dawned on me that these are the kids born in the rape. These are the kids that have not seen the outside world yet,” he said. “It just infuriated me to think, you know, how many strikes against life do they already have?”
Now, Ataman is trying to raise money to continue the Make Music Matter program, which encourages women to work through trauma and share their stories through music.
“It’s incredible what music does in their lives,” said Ataman. “It literally gives them a reason to get up in the morning again.”
He has already began to take donations, including a $10,000 donation from the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Tickets for the event will go on sale on Tuesday through Ticketmaster.