A fundraiser has been launched to help rebuild the Ogwehoweh Skills Trades Training Centre (OSTTC) longhouse that was consumed by fire on July 22.
Grand River Employment and Training Inc. (GREAT) and OSTTC have set up a funding project called The Ęjidwahsrö:ni' Fund - "We will build again." The goal of the fund is to raise $1,000,000 to help fund the rebuilding process.
Erin Monture, CEO of Business Opportunities for GREAT, said it was pretty much a formality that a rebuilding plan would be put in place after the news of the July fire. She added that the amount of support from local and non-local organizations really showed employees that this was something that was valued and something could be done to salvage a bad situation.
Monture stated that GREAT is still awaiting the official report from Six Nations Fire Department on the July fire, but did say that vandalism has been ruled out as a cause.
"We were just happy that no staff, no visitors and nobody in the community was harmed at all. That was our number one priority and we can move on from this, that's what we're looking at, and that's when we started this fundraiser," she said.
OSTTC have been able to offer the same programs that ran previously through the longhouse, but have adjusted how those programs will be offered while the space is unavailable.
"We're still able to provide the types of training that we've had, and we have a virtual tour that we're just about ready to launch which was in partnership with one of our visitors that came in and he wanted to donate and create a 3-D model of the longhouse," Monture said. "So we'll be able to do things like that moving forward but temporarily we're just doing things in other spaces at that time."
The original longhouse was created by local tradesmen on Six Nations—the plan will be to have them build this community space once again when funding and designing stages are complete.
The "We Will Build Again" fund has raised just over $15,000 in fundraising efforts to date. Monture is hopeful the fund will reach its target goal.
"I am hoping so and by looks of it I definitely think it's possible," she said.
The plan for the new longhouse is already underway. The site has been cleared and excavated and GREAT has began drafting the plan and ordering supplies needed.
"As soon as we get the green light and have the funding available, we're ready to start," Monture added.
More information on the "We Will Build" Fund can be found on the OSTTC's social media channels as well at the OSTTC Longhouse's social media pages.
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