Ottilia Chareka

HALIFAX: Two sisters are trying to help others though art.

Patricia and Primrose Chareka are hoping to use some of the funds raised through selling prints to set up affordable housing for youth coming out of the foster system. The pair set up an online store called The Chareka Collection, featuring a number of photographs for sale, with the collection’s message being one of perseverance regardless of circumstances.

“The photographs are in honour of our late mother who passed away in 2011. We wanted to turn a negative into a positive,” said Patricia. “We felt that this would be a good way to highlight her legacy and everything that she’d done because the collection has an ultimate end goal which is to support affordable housing for other youth and…other foster children who have gone through circumstances that we’ve gone through.”

Patricia Chareka
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When people purchase the prints, said Patricia, they will get something beautiful while also supporting something beautiful as it is going to help children in foster care.

“When starting, everything was inspired by our mother and one of my favourite prints, and also the first one shown on the Web site, is the hope print. That one has the phrase `faith, hope, perseverance, resilience’ and those key words were taken from an interview that my mother did,” said Patricia. “At the end of the day, we want people to be able to have an image and get something beautiful but for that image to resemble hope, to resonate with them in a way that says `yes, you can move forward, you can do great things’.”

Patricia said 75 per cent of the proceeds are going towards the affordable housing project Primrose and they have been in contact with Housing Nova Scotia.

“This is an initiative that we ourselves are taking on,” said Primrose. “We are in the process of incorporating as a company and with Housing Nova Scotia, they will provide us some funding and we will be hiring contractors and developers as we ourselves don’t have the necessary knowledge to go forward with the housing ourselves. It’s definitely our own initiative and we would be overseeing the building and the operation of the apartments as opposed to donating to a pre-existing charity.”

Patricia said the affordable housing endeavour will be specifically geared towards youth and students who are coming out of the foster system and transitioning into adulthood. Having dealt with the foster system, Patricia said they are hoping to provide housing that is safe for youth and, down the road, resources such as therapy, tutoring, and general guidance.

“We would like to have these places be a place where they can spend holidays and to feel comfortable,” said Patricia.

Primrose Chareka

Primrose and Patricia are two of the five Chareka children.

Those looking to view the collection can visit www.charekacollection.com.