Residents in a Scarborough community danced to support a cause for women across the globe on Valentine’s Day.
Zumba instructor Dawn D’Sa hosted a 1 Billion Rising campaign in Guildwood Community Church, as part of the global V-Day Movement to end violence against women. It was D’Sa’s first time taking part in the campaign.
“I just heard about it recently, through Facebook,” D’Sa said. “When I saw it, I felt compelled to do something.”
The V-Day movement, created by Eve Ensler, is marking its 15th anniversary; its concept is based on the statistic from the UN website that one in three women on the planet will experience violence in their lifetime. 1 Billion Rising is a call for women and men “to rise up, dance, and strike to demand an end to violence against women and girls.”
D’Sa’s campaign did just that: it was one of five groups in the GTA that participated in it on Valentine’s Day.
The hour-long dance class drew over a dozen participants, many of whom were regular attendees. Karen Matthews lives in Etobicoke, but makes Zumba a weekly activity she attends.
“With Zumba, you can’t go wrong,” says Matthews. “It is just a room filled with people that are here to have fun, and that’s what makes all the difference for me.”
Although it was D’Sa’s first time supporting the V-Day campaign, she has held Zumba fundraising campaigns since 2010. She explained that her first Zumba fundraiser was for building wells in Malawi. In more recent years she has raised money for women’s programs.
The Armagh House, a program to provide shelter for women who have suffered from abuse, is one that she began raising money in 2012. For this V-Day, she continued to have proceeds go towards the shelter.
“It just tied in really well with the mandate of 1 Billion Rising,” said D’Sa.
The event raised $550 in cash and $1,000 in product donations such as clothing, diapers and feminine protection.