2007 has been an extremely fulfilling year.
The year began with the preparation for our annual fundraiser A Taste for Life. The growth of the event enabled us to pull together a steering committee. This team was made up of professionals from Ottawa area businesses and they made it possible for our event to grow.
The foundation was invited to be part of the strategic committee for the Ottawa Coalition on HIV and AIDS, a network of AIDS Service Organizations who are affecting change.
The Coalition is a grouping of different partners, individuals and organizations working at solving the issues that face the members of our community who are living with HIV/AIDS. The Coalition is an organic structure where participants are free to get involved in issue based standing or time-limited working groups. The purpose of the Coalition is to contribute towards a greater strategic focus and to share information and good practices. It will also be a consultative body and will work at mobilising the community. It is an active participant in research and evaluation. Ad-hoc groups are formed to address common issues. This is intended to be a fluid structure.
Of this coalition a certain amount of working groups were identified including the creation of Joint Action Teams (JATs).
The purpose of the Joint Action Teams is to create a venue where interested organization and individuals can work together at addressing the specific needs of a target population in regards to HIV/AIDS. Thus far, there are four JAT’s in existence, and more are likely to be developed in the future. We currently have the Gay Men’s Wellness Initiative, the Injection Drug User group, the Education and Prevention committee and the Ethno-Cultural group.
In February on behalf of the Snowy Owl I headed to the northern district of Kilema, Tanzania, Africa. I was part of a multidisciplinary team of 22 volunteers, including nurses, doctors, pharmacists and logisticians, who worked with our Tanzanian counterparts. During this mission, our team visited 9 rural communities in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, principally providing basic surgeries, medical consultations and free medications. We treated over 5200 patients and distributed more than 8000 prescriptions of a value exceeding $ 20,000 thanks to the donations they received and the support of many volunteers. The experience so moved me that I committed to returning in October after joining the CACHA Board of Directors in July, 2007.
The Canada Africa Community Health Alliance (CACHA) was founded in 2001. During the “Jeux de la Francophonie”, The University of Ottawa Health Services had the privilege to host the designated medical care facility for athletes and their physicians. Dr. Kilby, UOHS Medical Director, met daily with African care providers to discuss a diversity of issues regarding the provision of health care in remote African communities.
At that time, arrangements were made to send medical equipment, supplies, and HIV/AIDS educational material to the African care providers upon their return home, thereby ensuring immediate requirements were met and that materials were sent to areas with the greatest need. Additionally, most physicians left with one full PC to be used at their medical sites.
Today, CACHA counts many members and sponsors who have participated and continue to participate in the development of our organization.
In October I returned to Kilema to be part of the HIV centre start up and the Orphan program.
Kilema HIV Centre opened in the fall of 2007, the HIV Centre is a focal point of our efforts to battle HIV/AIDS in the area. The 2-storey, approx. 5000 sq ft. building now houses space for voluntary counseling and testing, ARV treatment clinic, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, a fully-equipped laboratory for testing and follow-up, a specialized HIV pharmacy, community group meetings and Utu: the Kilema Orphans and Vulnerable Children Support Program.
Utu: The Kilema Orphans and Vulnerable Children Support Program Building on our established partnership with Kilema Hospital, we are striving to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children in the Kilema area in the following ways:
. Providing of basic necessities such as food, clothing, medical care and proper shelter
. Ensuring that orphans and vulnerable children receive education through provision of school fees, school uniforms and school lunches
. Meeting the social and emotional needs of the children through recreational activities and psychosocial support
. Utilizing tracking systems to ensure monitoring of support, transparency and appropriate distribution of resources among children according to their different levels of need.
I am now sharing the responsibility of running the orphan program with an incredible group of Canadians working in the field.
For further information on my October ventures feel free to visit my blog www.myheartisafrica.blogspot.com
April 25th, 2007 our 9th annual Taste for Life was again an extremely successful event. This year’s event raised over $70 000.00 for which we are very grateful. The event attracted over 4000 diners, WOW what an incredible show of support. Thank you everyone. Now mark your calendars as it this year’s event is scheduled for Wednesday April 23rd, 2008.
August was reserved for Camp Wendake, a place set apart where I volunteered again this year. Camp Wendake is a camp for people living with HIV/AIDS and their care-givers, loved ones, and traditional/non-traditional families. It is the only camp of its kind in Canada. The camp has rustic cabins, and it is situated on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron near Bayfield, ON.
Camp Wendake is a non-profit camp, sponsored by the AIDS Committee of the Diocese of Huron staffed almost exclusively by volunteers and they rely on generous donations from the community to operate the program.
Camp Wendake is an amazing contradiction! People gather because of a common affliction, but find freedom from focusing upon the disease for a brief time – and find an opportunity to celebrate life. The camping experience occurs in a community where HIV/AIDS is the “norm”.
February 2008, Camp Wendake joins CACHA as three of us are taking part in the medical caravan.
The Snowy Owl AIDS foundation was involved in the “AIDS Walk for Life” again this year with a twist, I co-emceed the event with Max Keeping.
In the fall I was invited to be a member of the Bruce House Board of Directors and accepted. Thank you Bruce House for all that you do.
On December 1 each year, the world comes together to recognize World AIDS Day. The Ottawa World AIDS Day Committee of the Ottawa Coalition on HIV/AIDS (OCHA) is hosting an event acknowledging World AIDS Day in Ottawa.
The theme of World AIDS Day 2007 – 2008, as identified by the UNAIDS is Leadership. We chose to celebrate the leadership of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Ottawa and the leadership of our community partners working in HIV/AIDS.
The event we prepared for World AIDS Day 2007 was held on Tuesday, November 27th, as a community forum and was held at Ottawa City Hall, in the Jean Piggott Hall. We tied in the UNAIDS theme to the work being done locally in Ottawa by using the theme “HIV/AIDS Leadership in our Community” for this event. Between 100 and 150 individuals attended this event and it included participation from individuals living with HIV/AIDS, the wider community, local schools and media.
We hosted individuals from our community living with HIV/AIDS who shared their experience and how they have provided leadership within the community, a few speakers and representatives working within HIV/AIDS in Ottawa, including Insight Theatre , Oni the Haitian Sensation who educated and entertained throughout the afternoon.
Ottawa’s World AIDS Day Committee is a committee of individuals representing organizations in Ottawa who provide HIV/AIDS prevention and education services to the Ottawa community or support services to individuals within our community living with HIV/AIDS. The member organizations represented by this committee are AIDS Committee of Ottawa, ACHNO (African Caribbean Health Network of Ottawa), Bruce House, Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy, Ottawa Public Health, Ottawa Interfaith Council on AIDS, Planned Parenthood Ottawa, Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation, Somerset West Community Health Centre and Youth Services Bureau.
A large part of our contribution was the display of the amazing photography of Jacqueline Turpin that made up the exhibit at the International AIDS conference in 2006. The panels, all 65 images were on display at City Hall, Carleton University and Ottawa University. An amazing effect!
With your help we have been in a position to grant thousands of dollars in funding requests making a difference in the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS. Without your generous contributions this would not be possible.
Thank you for caring.
That wraps up 2007, as I think back on this year I realize we are making a difference and I thank you for all your support, without you we would not be in a position to make that difference.
Lise D. Turpin
The Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation
– INTERESTING LINKS –
To make a donation click here
For more information on CACHA click here
For Jackie Turpin ‘s website