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The 2012 WLC Kama Benefit Reading Series: 20 Years of Campaigning for World Literacy!

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Kama Series 20th Anniversary

Kama is the Sanskrit word for pleasure, and a pleasure in reading is what the Kama Reading Series is meant to inspire. Join World Literacy Canada (WLC) for the 20th anniversary of its annual benefit series. Since its beginning, the Kama Reading Series has been host to over 200 influential authors and thinkers, such as Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Mordecai Richler and David Suzuki. Speakers at this year’s five-part series include Rohinton Mistry, M.G. Vassanji, James Bartleman and David M. Malone. The full line-up can be found on the WLC website.

Each evening begins at 6:30p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and the speakers begin at 7:00p.m. Afterwards there will be discussion, Q&A, and books available to buy and have signed by the authors. The series events are monthly from January to May of 2012 at the Toronto Park Hyatt. Tickets can be purchased for individual events or for the entire series. The WLC is a registered charity and series tickets come with a tax receipt.

Proceeds from the series go directly to supporting community-based literacy initiatives in Canada, India, and Nepal. Why literacy? WLC believes that literacy is the key to fighting poverty, improving social justice through empowerment and opening the way to a higher standard of living.

Mamta Mishra has been the Executive Director of World Literacy Canada for 22 years and is the founder of the Kama Series. According to Mamata, the series “continues to be a one of a kind book lover’s event with drinks, food, donation, readings, talks, conversation, and book signings, all in an intimate setting. All authors donate their time to the cause and organization to help raise funds for literacy. The series has created a Kama community inspired by ideas and engaged in making a difference.” Mamta is most looking forward to the reading Imagine on April 25th, featuring Tzeporah Berman, Nahlah Ayed and Judy Rebick. She anticipates this evening will bring out the activist in all of us.

Poet Syeda Nuzhat Siddiqui has been working with WLC since 1985. She has served on the board of WLC, was the volunteer president at one point, and has been working on the Kama series since its beginning. She will be speaking at the February 29th Kama Reading, Elephant & Neighbours, about the cultural and spiritual significance of the Elephant and its impact on its neighbours. Syeda sees the series as “a rare opportunity to bring together authors with diverse backgrounds and introduce their literature. I see the Kama Series as a pilot project that will inspire many individuals and organizations in the world to promote literacy. The Series will help attendees, intellectuals and creative writers of different cultural backgrounds to overcome regional, linguistic and cultural barriers to share their experiences. It will also help the participants expand their vision.”

More about World Literacy Canada:

WLC has a variety of programs in India and Nepal and works in some of the poorest and most densely populated areas of the world. The charity works in 555 slums in India, affecting over 250,000 people directly and 555,000 people indirectly, mainly women and children. Their international programs include early childhood education, library services, scholarships, healthcare services and health-education workshops, adult literacy and skills training, small business loans and women’s empowerment programs.

In Canada, WLC works to improve standards of literacy and to foster a culture of global citizens. Some of their programs include student literacy clubs; summer camps aimed at exposing disadvantaged kids to the arts, culture, career opportunities and fostering pride of self; intensive student leadership and peer-support programs aimed at anti-bullying and inclusion; and a bi-lingual children’s writing contest aimed at building literacy and developing global citizens.

Check the WLC website for more information about their programs and some great videos about what the charity is accomplishing.

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