A few months ago, in September, I attended Free the Children’s We Day with my daughter. Year after year this is an extraordinary event full of inspirational speakers and wonderful musical performances: everyone – the young and old, the famous and not famous, the movers and the shakers – passionate about changing the world, together. The energy in the room (the Air Canada Centre room) is infectious. The feeling after this event within every one of its 18,000 attendants is always ‘anything is possible’. We can do it.
One of the highlights of 2011’s We Day was Nelly Furtado. She and her band did an extraordinary version of her song ‘Powerless’ with the Kenya boys’ choir. And Nelly’s announcement after her performance that she would be donating a million dollars to a girls’ school in Kenya was thrilling.
Thrilling, too, was our chance to see Celia Palli up on stage. Celia, who hails originally from Spain, sings both on her own and in Nelly Furtado’s ensemble. Celia has an incredible voice, and is also my son’s wonderful singing teacher.
Celia was interested in what brought us to the We Day event, and I explained what we do with Cuppa Change, and that we were involved in two major schoolhouse projects with Free the Children: one in Kenya, and one in Haiti.
Celia, who was blown away by We Day, immediately asked how she could get involved with Cuppa Change.
My initial reaction was to suggest buying fair trade coffee to support one of our projects. But then I remembered a quote someone passed on to me by humorist and social commentator Will Rogers: “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”
So I asked Celia if she would consider writing us a jingle – something catchy and fun to spread the Cuppa Change message. Something we could upload to the website.
To my delight, Celia said yes. And very shortly thereafter, she had a completely catchy, completely fun song that is sure to go viral. (She also bought coffee, by the way.)
Celia thought it only fitting that she and our son sing the song together – after all, much of what Cuppa Change does involves children. It’s the kids, at schools like Earl Grey, who are involved in raising money through the sale of fair trade coffee. It’s the students in Kenya and Haiti who benefit from the Free the Children schools that we have supported. It’s the children in Africa who are orphaned by AIDS who benefit from the work the Stephen Lewis Foundation does. It was a child, Ryan Hreljac, who started Ryan’s Well Foundation, and it is children who benefit from the clean water wells and sanitation projects that the RWF builds. So I asked my son if he’d like to participate in singing a Cuppa Change song with Celia. He said yes.
I’d gone out on a limb, and suddenly – fruit.
Next: Celia’s song produces fruit of its own: a music video. Oh yes.