Ventura Homes donates $70,000 to learning centre in India

Local company to partner with UWinnipeg on unique initiative

Participants in today's announcement included (from left to right) UWinnipeg President & Vice-Chancellor Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, Ventura Custom Homes Ltd. President & Owner Cliff Penner, UWinnipeg VP-International Dr. Neil Besner and UWinnipeg Student Recruiting Representative Kuljit Bhattal. Photo by Kelly Morton /

WINNIPEG, MB - Winnipeg company Ventura Custom Homes Ltd. today announced that it is donating $70,000 towards the development of a learning centre for women in Village Bhanohar in the Punjab Region of India. The centre will be produced in partnership with The University of Winnipeg and the village Bhanohar.

The learning centre will consist of a library, a computer room and a gymnasium. The centre will be available to all of the women living in the village as well as to those in the surrounding villages. This educational centre will give an opportunity of learning to young women for furthering their skills in reading and writing and give access to the world's current affairs, and provide the same academic advantage as being connected to the world wide web, which some take for granted in today's world. These opportunities will encourage young women to participate in politics, sports, and other community projects.

The gift from Ventura Homes is a continuation of the proven generosity of its President & Owner Cliff Penner, who has a history of contributing to the local and international communities. His past donations include a $250,000 gift to the West End Cultural Centre and a $10,000 gift to areas of India hit by natural disasters. Every year Penner makes contributions to rural sports groups in India, to sports and cultural programs based in Winnipeg and to academic scholarships for students.

“Ventura Custom Homes Ltd. recognizes that the Indo-Canadian community has become an integral part of our great city,” said Penner. “Kuljit Bhattal has worked diligently in support of a project that identifies with many of Ventura's core values. We are proud to be part of this joint effort that will provide educational support for young women in and around Bhanohar, India. When Dr. (Lloyd) Axworthy and Dr. (Neil) Besner, along with their staff at the University of Winnipeg, agreed to be part of our efforts, we knew the benefits of higher education would extend deep into the fabric of our city and have a tremendous impact on the lives of many young women.”

The learning centre project came as a result of a conversation with Axworthy and officials from the village of Bhanohar. At that time, the university agreed to sponsor two students from the village to attend UWinnipeg through its Opportunity Fund.

In a very generous gesture, Penner asked to help with the project. After visits by UWinnipeg VP-International Neil Besner and student recruiting representative Kuljit Bhattal to Bhanohar along with further conversations with Penner, the idea of building a learning centre came to fruition.

“This is a role-model project that is truly a one-of-a-kind effort,” said Axworthy. “The hope is that this learning centre will inspire other villages to build similar educational facilities.”

This unique project will work as a milestone to strengthen the ties between both countries, Canada and India, and will also create a great example of multiculturalism.

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Shawn Coates, Director of Marketing & Communications, University of Winnipeg

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