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Event raises awareness of AIDS/HIV

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The Fort Richmond Y Neighbours Group and the Trinity United Church outreach committee recently joined forces. The two organizations teamed-up to organize a fundraiser in support of women and children who are affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.


On April 21 at Trinity United, Myrna Ronald, a concerned Canadian grandmother who is the moving force behind a vision to help victims of HIV/AIDS in Africa, challenged other women to offer moral and material support for Focus Africa. Focus Africa is a Winnipeg-based organization that began in 2004, and offers support to the women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in a slum in Kenya.


At the fundraiser, people were treated to an afternoon of amazing African entertainment and a presentation by the women of Focus Africa, followed by coffee and dessert. Handmade goods were made available for purchase at a mini-African market.


A free will offering resulted in a generous donation to Focus Africa for its support of Beacon of Hope, a faith-based facility in Kenya. Beautiful handmade cookies that were hand-painted were given to those supporting the cause.


Grandma Myrna, as she is popularly known, reminded everyone present at the event that Focus Africa’s mission is "to support Christ-centred, multi-use resource and medical centres that nurture, educate, train and empower women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa through community-based global partnerships with churches, agencies and individuals."


The fundraiser was organized by the Fort Richmond Y Neighbours Group, which consists of 23 women with a history that goes back almost 35 years. They started meeting once a week as mothers with young children, seeking to provide learning experiences while fostering friendships. Friendships did indeed grow and their need for educational stimulation continues to this day.


Today, they meet in their homes every Thursday morning to hear new speakers on a large variety of topics. The friendships and support the group offers one another is invaluable.  


Ronald and Gacheri Dyck welcome inquiries about future events that would promote awareness of Focus Africa. You can contact them at office@focusafrica.ca or 895-0608.  Please visit the organizations’ websites at www.focusafrica.ca and www.beaconafrica.org for additional information.


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Interested in tasting variety of peppers grown right here in Fort Richmond? Email Craig Berry at cberry85@hotmail.com. Part of the proceeds of a late May sale will be donated to charity and to cover the cost of the event.


Sunday Olukoju is a community correspondent for Fort Richmond. You can contact him at sunday.olukoju@gmail.com.

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