Give more than flowers and chocolates this year - help African communities in need.
Ottawa (11 Feb. 2008) – The National Union of Public and General Employees is encouraging Canadians this year to not only give flowers and chocolate for Valentine's Day - but also hope to two African communities in need.
Delegates at the National Union's convention were moved to embrace the Bracelet of Hope campaign after a presentation by Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik, the founder of a clinic in Lesotho Africa that helps people with HIV/AIDS.
“We have the tools. We are lacking the political will and leadership needed to implement them,“ Zajdlik said.
“There is no greater suffering than an orphan with HIV. I already had a heart for Africa – now it is my soul. Parts of Africa are dying; our response is critical. More than ever, I believe that it is time to re-direct, re-focus and ramp up our efforts.”
Beautiful red and white bracelet
The beautiful red and white Bracelets of Hope, available for a $5 donation, are made by members of the Inina Craft Agency, often widows supporting their own children or orphaned children. The white beads represent the HIV orphans and widows of Africa and the red beads victims of the HIV virus.
The red and white colours, also those of the Canadian flag, represent the compassion that individual Canadians feel for Africa.
Besides supporting the women of Inina, money raised by the campaign goes to support the Tšepong Clinic in Lesotho, Africa.
Lesotho is facing a humanitarian crisis
The country of Lesotho is facing a humanitarian crisis. Of its two million people, 320,000 are infected with HIV. There are more than 100,000 AIDS orphans in the country.
However, change is possible. The Tšepong Clinic has more than 4,000 patients registered, including 1,300 who are enrolled in antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
“Give the women of the continent a foot up,” said Zajdlik. “I met with the women of Inina - it came to my attention that the positive effect of our bracelet order on a country 18,000 kilometres away was way beyond our expectations.”
Bracelets can be obtained by contacting the National Union. NUPGE