Why We Exist
Carol Sherwood, Arusha’s first staff person recalls “We didn’t start in 1972, but a couple of years before.” Our roots go back to the Calgary and District International Development Society. Staff wanted to incorporate some development education into the publicity for local walks, and devised some innovative programs for young people to learn more about the split between the world’s rich and poor.
- Arusha takes its name from the Arusha Declaration, a set of principles drafted by the governing party of Tanzania in 1967 as a guide toward economic and social development: Inherent in this Declaration is a rejection of the concept of national grandeur as distinct from the well-being of its citizens, and a rejection, too, of material wealth for its own sake.
- It is a commitment to the belief that there are more important things in life than the amassing of riches, and that if the pursuit of wealth clashes with things like human dignity and social equality, then the latter will be given priority. – Julius Nyerere, President, Tanzania from The Arusha Declaration , 1967
Activities addressed by Arusha have included film series, discussions, and orientations for Calgarians volunteering overseas.
By the 1990’s, Arusha’s energy was focused on the Committee for Anti-Racist Education, One World Film Festival (that evolved into the Calgary International Film Festival), a resource library, work in schools, and a multitude of workshops and special events. In 1996, The Sustainable Calgary and Calgary Dollars projects emerged from Arusha’s work on sustainable communities. Since then Take Action Grants, a grassroot granting initiative, was created and supported over 100 citizen projects and Open Streets Calgary attends 50 events each year with environmental education using pedal generators, pennyfarthings, and bubblemakers!
In all Arusha’s work, it maintains its commitment to address social, environmental and economic issues in Calgary.