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Concert to help build centre in Africa

Event one of many fundraisers by GO!

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Amanda Furst, co-founder of GO!, stands outside the West End Cultural Centre, the location of her “Listen Local! Grow Global!” benefit concert. The concert is one of many fundraisers to help GO! build a community centre and home for orphans and street kids in northern Tanzania.

CINDY CHAN Enlarge Image

Amanda Furst, co-founder of GO!, stands outside the West End Cultural Centre, the location of her “Listen Local! Grow Global!” benefit concert. The concert is one of many fundraisers to help GO! build a community centre and home for orphans and street kids in northern Tanzania. Photo Store

A local non-profit wants to help opportunities grow in Tanzania through an upcoming concert at the West End Cultural Centre (WECC).

Growing Opportunities International (GO!) is hosting "Listen Local! Grow Global!" a benefit concert at the WECC (586 Ellice Ave.) on Nov. 30.

The concert will feature hypnotist Jesse Lewis, musician Elsa Kaka, and two documentaries by Furst. There will also be a silent auction and refreshments for purchase.

Founded in 2010, GO! is a non-profit and volunteer-run organization that partners with individuals in developing countries with visions and goals of making their communities a better place. For example, GO! has helped a volunteer nursery school teacher in Rwanda build a two-classroom schoolhouse.

"(The teacher) had been teaching 80 nursery school kids in her backyard for five years," GO! co-founder Amanda Furst said.

Now, that school has 70 students studying in it every day.

Furst said the benefit concert is one of many fundraisers to help build a community centre and home for street kids and orphans in northern Tanzania.

"We’re still in the construction process. We have a field cleared out, but we haven’t started fully on construction," Furst said.

She predicts the whole project will cost around $70,000, and she knows one fundraiser won’t reach that goal. Furst’s other fundraising efforts include presentations on GO! to elementary, junior high, and high schools across Winnipeg, trying to get young people involved.

"We put on other fundraisers too. We work with an artist in Tanzania who makes jewelry, and we sell those at fundraisers as well," Furst listed.

Furst’s love for Africa started as a fascination, but turned into a true passion in 2005. Furst, a gym teacher at the time, had travelled to African refugee camps to teach sport development.

"I just loved the sense of community," Furst said. "If you walk down the street, everyone takes a moment to say hi and connect with community members."

As a result, Furst has made it a mission to show people on this side of the planet that the state of the African continent isn’t all negative, as she feels it’s often portrayed as being in mainstream media.

"There are so many negative stereotypes in the media: the child soldiers, the corruption, the famine. But there’s so much more than that," Furst said.

This is the fourth "Listen Local! Grow Global!" concert, and it is always held at the WECC.

"Amanda is extremely enthusiastic and passionate about her cause. It ends up being a good experience for the patrons who come in and watch," WECC marketing and production co-ordinator Kelly Leschasin said.

Doors open at 7:15 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance, and $23 at the door. Tickets can be bought at the WECC or from Furst. For more information, or to buy tickets, email amandafurst@yahoo.ca or at http://www.growingopportunitiesinternational.org/

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