A member of UNICEF Canada’s 25th team, Bita Cattelan founded Friends of Unicef to raise awareness and funds in support of the organization within the Montreal social and corporate communities. A personal mission that is very dear to her heart, she has dedicated herself to assist those who need help, particularly children.
Having organized many galas and events, including the #WHYBEAR campaign, 2017 marks the next venture in protecting and defending the rights of every child regardless of gender, religion, race or economic background.
We are thrilled to spotlight Bita’s dedication to this cause, and sat down to learn more about what’s in store for Friends of Unicef.
Can you tell us more about next month’s gala taking place in Montreal?
We are hosting the 2nd Edition UNICEF Gala on April 18th at The Ritz-Carlton Montreal celebrating while also celebrating 70 years of UNICEF, raising awareness and funds in support of UNICEF Canada. The event will be presented by Montblanc and attended by President, North America, Sylvain Costof and David Morley, President & CEO of UNICEF Canada.
Unicef is celebrating their 70th anniversary. Can you share a special memory in relation to your work with the organization?
A chance encounter actually encouraged me to plan my first UNICEF fundraiser in Montreal. Inspiration came from the story of Emmanuel Anassis, founder and chairman of DAC Aviation International. Twenty-five years ago, as a brush pilot with one plane, he signed a contract with a UNICEF-run consortium in Sudan to deliver medical supplies. Since then, his company has grown to include a fleet of more than 30 aircraft. After meeting Anassis, I began planning a gala to commemorate Universal Children’s Day in 2015. This memory encountering Emmanuel is where it all began with Friends of UNICEF.
Please share your view on the #TIEDTOKIDS campaign and why people need to be more aware of what is happening all over the world.
My husband and I are reminded every day how fortunate we are and appreciative of the privileges and opportunities we have been given which we now provide for our daughter Leila. It is unacceptable that in the world we live in today so many children are suffering from lack of nutrition, water and preventable diseases. It is incomprehensible that children in their innocence are the first victims of wars and are growing up surrounded by terror, violence and intimidation. Children that out of no choice of their own have been driven out of their homes and are faced with daily abuse and injustice, struggling to survive. UNICEF speaks for these children that can not speak for themselves. We believe we have a responsibility to care for those less fortunate. UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization.
We have an obligation to inform, create awareness and to participate in the efforts of organizations such as UNICEF.We invest with UNICEF because they are not simply a charitable organization but a humanitarian institution that deals in development , not welfare. I believe that in life we demonstrate and define who we are by the communities we belong to. That giving is the highest and most effective expression of belonging and giving back in any capacity and is a more fulfilling and joyful experience than receiving .
The #TIEDTOKIDS campaign provides an opportunity for us to feel connected. And this is why I am excited to participate both personally and through the Friends of Unicef committee.