On Oct. 28, the Fernie Elks Hall was filled with women, wine and crafts for a fundraising event for the Freedom Climb.
The Freedom Climb, a project of Operation Mobilisation (OM) Canada, is a weeklong event being held from Aug. 6 to Aug 12, 2016. The event is a gathering of women climbing the peaks in the Elk Valley, raising money and awareness for women and children who are exploited, enslaved and trafficked.
To participate in the climb, a climber must raise $3,000, with 90 per cent of all money raised going directly to the cause. To help with some of the fundraising efforts, organizers and climbers are hosting fundraising evenings.
“It’s to advocate for women and children. What the concept is, we climb mountains to raise awareness and to be able to climb, we have to raise a certain amount of money for each climb,” said Ramona Gliege, event organizer and participant.
Gliege, along with five other women from the Elk Valley, completed a Freedom Climb in Colorado last year, which gave them the idea to host one in the area. Currently, they have over 20 women from the Elk Valley interested in participating and they are hoping for more.
“We’ve already got a huge group of Saskatchewan women who have also done the Colorado one. They’re getting a really good group together. ” said Gliege. “We’re hoping fro 50 to 70 women – that’s what we are hoping.”
The fundraising event cost $35 to attend, and with that each attendee received two glasses of wine, healthy snacks and all the materials needed to create a layered art project. There was also a raffle featuring many goods from local businesses. Gliege said that she and Kim Hopkins, another organizer and participant, have been overwhelmed by the community support for the event.
Gliege and Hopkins are planning for fundraising events leading up to the Freedom Climb, including a spaghetti dinner planned for mid-February.
For more information on the Freedom Climb and the causes they support, visit Om.org.