SOURCE: International Needs Canada

April 10, 2015 12:07 ET

International Needs Canada Celebrates the Toronto Launch of the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey

Campaign Promotes Global Citizenship Through Social Entrepreneurship, Legacy and Corporate Social Responsibility

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - April 10, 2015) - International Needs Canada launched the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey -- a campaign to raise $1 million to support sustainable development projects in some of the world's poorest nations -- by showcasing a selection of organizational initiatives at a free, open reception titled New Books! New Music! New Adventures! in Toronto on March 20.

Featuring performances by internationally acclaimed folk singer Raghu Dixit and Toronto-based classical guitar professor William Beauvais, the event celebrated the Canadian debut of Astha Guitars -- a new brand of premium-quality guitars to be manufactured in India as a strategy for financing the education of underprivileged children in India -- and featured the launch of the latest title by author and communications consultant Geoff Weinstein: Buried Alive: Shifting Corporate Culture. The highlight of the event was the presentation of the newly published book Umoja: A Journey From Success to Significance which provides an engaging account of the inaugural Umoja Journey in which participants took a road trip to deliver Land Rover ambulances from Mombasa, Kenya to a new health centre built by International Needs Canada in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"Building on the tremendous success of the inaugural Umoja Journey in 2012, the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey extends and strengthens our mission to transform lives, change communities alleviate poverty and promote social justice around the world," said David Marshall Executive Director of International Needs Canada. "This journey is designed to engage and inspire people in communities around the world to embrace the idea of unity that is reflected in Umoja and to see themselves not just as members of exclusive isolated communities of narrow interests, but as committed citizens of an intimately interconnected world."

To experience an Umoja Journey, participants purchase seats in a Land Rover vehicle and embark in a group on a road trip through a series of planned destinations designed to reflect the Umoja tagline "Adventure with Purpose." The adventure component of the journey includes visits to luxurious, exotic destinations that showcase the natural beauty of the earth. The purpose component takes participants to visit various sustainable development initiatives supported by International Needs Canada.

The 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey is organized into a series of "legs" corresponding to the six continents involved -- North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia. The North American leg of the journey which began on March 20 in Toronto continues throughout the year with Land Rover visits to a selection of major cities. Events in these cities are designed to engage organizations and individuals in joining a leg of the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey and financially supporting sustainable development initiatives as part of their commitment to social justice and their legacy to future generations. Road trips through Europe and Australasia are also planned as participant engagement initiatives designed to solicit support for sustainable development projects in Asia, South/Latin America and Africa.

Umoja: A Journey From Success to Significance
The book, Umoja: A Journey From Success to Significance offers readers vivid details of the adventure of the 10 participants on the inaugural Umoja Journey -- a 32-day Land Rover road trip from Mombasa Kenya through Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania to the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- from the point of view of the only female participant on the journey, Colleen H. Cole, who co-authored the book with David Marshall. The book is available via the Umoja website at www.umojajourney.com.

Corporate Social Responsibility Partnerships
International National Needs Canada is pleased to promote Buried Alive: Shifting Corporate Culture the latest work by author Geoff Weinstein, President and CEO of Mainstream Communications Inc., one of a steadily growing number of corporate social responsibility partners. Mainstream, a private consultancy rooted in Canada's banking and financial industry, focuses on teaching professionals how to maximize their influence through effective communications. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Buried Alive available via www.amazon.com and www.umojajourney.com will be donated to International Needs Canada.

The 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey is collaborating with Thomson-Reuters -- the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals -- as corporate social responsibility partners in Latin America. Thomson-Reuters is supporting the establishment of an Interactive Library and community hub at Rose of Sharon -- a school for vulnerable children in Barranquilla, Colombia, supported by child sponsors and donors affiliated with International Needs Canada.

Social Entrepreneurship
As one of the highlights of the Asia leg of the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey participants are invited to a visit Astha Guitars in Bangalore, India where ACTS Group of Institutions -- a school system providing an integrated approach to learning incorporating Agriculture, Crafts, Trades and (academic) Studies to more than 14,000 underprivileged children in India -- is partnering with renowned Swiss company, Brunner Guitars, to train Indian craftsmen to manufacture a new brand of premium quality guitar using unique Indian woods and forward-looking technical design strategies. Profits from the sale of Astha Guitars in Canada, the United States and Europe will support the education of orphans and vulnerable children. For more information on Astha Guitars visit www.umojajourney.com and www.asthaguitars.com.

"International Needs Canada is committed to fostering innovative collaborations, cause marketing initiatives and corporate social responsibility partnerships that alleviate poverty, support sustainable development and promote social justice in communities around the globe," David Marshall says. "People who wish to participate in the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey will, in addition to receiving the adventure of a lifetime, find new frontiers of personal accomplishment and gain new perspectives on matters of life, legacy and other issues of social significance."

Legacy Retreats
As a feature of the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey participants are invited to attend Legacy Retreats -- facilitated workshops conducted at some of the world's most exotic locations -- designed to stimulate reflections and resolutions towards creating a legacy of lasting significance through social service.

For further information on the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja Journey, visit www.umojajourney.com.

For more information on the work of International Needs Canada, visit www.internationalneeds.ca.                                                                                        

Contact Information

  • For further information contact:

    Garth Hardie
    Manager, Communications and Marketing
    International Needs Canada
    210-4031 Fairview Street
    Burlington, ON L7L 2A4
    Phone: 905-637-9411
    E-mail: garth@internationalneeds.ca