Monday, December 18, 2006

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings

You have been part of the most amazing year for African Aids Angels.

Here are just some of the year's events.

*Many new groups began on the Island and Mainland.
*Several home groups began in the Victoria area.
*Established craft events in Victoria invited our group to sell Angels at several new locations.
*Sales at local malls and shops were very successful.
*A home sale raised substantial funds for Aids Angels and generated lots of publicity.
*We have received many generous outright donations this year.

As a result, we have raised over $55,000 in 2006. That equals more than our previous five years (2000 to 2005) combined.

We are now working with our partners in Africa to determine the wisest and most effective ways of using these funds to support those affected by Aids.

We will give you more details in the new year.

Enjoy your holiday.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Message from Christine Allan in Zambia

I just received this news from Makeni Ecumenical Centre. I have their 2007 orphanage budget now, which I can present at the next committee meeting for the board.


Sent: Tuesday, December 05, 2006 12:22 AM
Subject: The 2007 Budget

Dear Pierre,
I am sending the 2007 budget, I hope that it will go through this time. The Bookkeepers say that it is only in early January that they will know whether the 2006 budget was met.
I am including some points that may assist in your presentation or write-up or discussions or for your information only:
Christopher, one of our youngest children, is going to Grade one next year. He is very excited about it. The thought of wearing a new uniform!
We have two new aunties, aunty Violet and aunty Christine. They have replaced aunty Grace and aunty Mary who left during the year.
The surroundings and grounds of the orphanage have improved greatly due to the hard work of Morgan Kayuni, the maintenance worker.
Bertha, the eldest girl now in Grade 12 at Katondwe Girls Boarding School, is having problems in Mathematics and Physics. Ted Krickan is coaching her in the two subjects while he is with us.
The Orphanage Girls Church Choir sang at a Candle Lighting Service on Saturday 2nd December. This was in remembrance of Worlds AIDS day that falls on 1st December. This a yearly event where churches from different denominations within Makeni area meet to commemorate World AIDS Day.
Best wishes,

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thanks from South Africa via Oklahoma

*Sanibonani nonke! (Zulu)
(I greet all of you!)
I'm a Zulu South African presently living with my wife and our two sons
in a town called Edmond in Oklahoma, USA from where I'm sending
this e-mail message.
While searching the Internet for information I needed for a project on which
I'm currently working on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in my home country,
South Africa, I came across your informative web site.

On behalf of the AIDS orphans and their families you're helping in Africa,
I'm sending this e-mail .... of thanks.
Albeit an ordinary "Thank you" is entirely flat and inadequate in expressing our deepest gratitude.
With deep gratitude,
we say to all of you:-

SIYABONGA! (isiZulu, the language spoken by South Africa's largest tribe,
numbering +/- 12 million) The word, "Zulu", means: "heaven", therefore, Zulus are the children of heaven!
Zulus speak isiZulu and predominantly live in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
SIYABULELA! (isiXhosa, Dr. Nelson Mandela's vernacular)
[The Xhosa are the second largest group. They speak isiXhosa and live mainly in the Cape Province.]
BAIE DANKIE! (isiBhunu - Afrikaans) Afrikaans is a language similar to Dutch.
[During the difficult years of the former apartheid government, Afrikaans was a compulsory subject.]
May ...God bless you for the work you're doing for His beloved people in South Africa!
John Mkhize

Thanks from Malawi

This weekend we had a surprise phone call from Teddy and Delirah Phiri, our Malawi contacts. Part of our funds provide seeds and fertilizer for Aids widows to grow food crops.

They called to say thank you to all of you and followed up with this email.

Dear Larry and Mary,

It was so nice to hear your voice. It much more real than emails.

The rains have started falling and people are busy tilling their gardens
and it that busy time for Delirah and Mrs Munthali in the fields.

Pass greetings to all the good people.


Congratulations volunteers!

You have done a wonderful job !

We have raised almost $20,000 since November 1!

Here's where it came from:

Oak Bay Secondary Students raised $4ooo.

Sales at Hillside, University Heights, Westshore, Holy Cross: $4000

Shirley Hunter's home event $7500 to date

Craft Fairs at Commonwealth, Fair Trade, Amnesty, Dicken's Fair, Fibre Arts: $2750

Our faithful downtown shops: $600

Personal sales from you to your friends: $850

To the sales organizers: Anne, Fran, Barb, Linda, Shirley, Allison, Pierre, Carolyn, Vic, Lorraine, Ria, Elizabeth, Gail

To all the dozens of volunteers who glued hair, cut fabric, created wings, assembled bodies, dressed angels, collected materials, worked sales shifts, hosted angel making sessions, printed pamphlets, and all the hundreds of other small tasks that add up to this impressive result

Thank You!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Are you new to African Aids Angels?

Victoria Loves African Aids Angels!

If you are interested in the Angels projects, volunteering, getting involved or any other aspect of our organization, here's what to do.

1. Email us at

2. Type "Tell me more about Angels" in the subject line.

3. Include your contact information.

We will get back to you after Christmas. Our volunteers are working hard at Christmas sales and events, then they will take a well earned rest. We'll contact you when we start up again in January.

Looking forward to meeting you.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Angels news from South Africa

These are children of Thembalethu Orphanage.

AAA Victoria supports these children. $200 a year provides food for one child. $35 a year covers primary school fees, books and uniforms for the school age children.

The Born to Live program at St. Mary's Hospital at Marianhill provides Anti-retroviral drugs to pregnant women in order to block the transmission of AIDS from mother to child at delivery. Mother and child then need follow up medication. The cost of this treatment is $400 per person per year. AAA is one of the main supports for this program.

Malawi Project News

African Angels, our partner in Malawi, is providing agricultural training for youth orphanned by AIDS who need to support themselves and their younger brothers and sisters. This year is a pilot project, inspired by the success of one enterprising orphanned secondary school graduate who is finishing his second year as a successful market gardener. His example is inspiring others in his situation.

AAA Victoria and Seeds for Malawi (our Saltspring sister group) provide school fees for orphans until the end of secondary school. The fees are $200 per year per student. This covers uniforms, books and exam fees. AAA Victoria is supporting 30 students this year.

Family fragments affected by AIDS, (i.e. grandmothers, orphanned adolescents), receive support for growing maize and vegetables. $30 buys fertilizer and $20 buy seed for one crop year. AAA Victoria is supporting 30 family groups for seeds and fertilizer.

AAA also provides nutritional hospice support for those no longer able to grow a crop for themselves. $150 will provide a year's worth of food one individual.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Makeni Ecumenical Centre orphanage

St. Nicholas orphanage, that AAA supports in Zambia, can be found at the following coordinates with google earth:

15°27'50.22"S 28°14'42.31"E

You can download Google Earth at this site

I've posted the image here too in case this is too hard to follow! The small cluster of buildings is the orhanage and the area around it Makeni Centre. Take care,


Monday, October 09, 2006

I have lots of fabric to donate!

What kind of fabric do we need?

We have had many generous donations of fabric so we are well stocked. Storage is becoming a challenge.

Here is what we are still looking for:

glittery, good quality, bright, vibrantly coloured, party type fabric

real African fabric or bright ethnic fabrics

We have templates for cutting the fabric and will happily give them to anyone who wants to precut what they donate.


We still need earrings and small brooches.

At the moment we have lots of beads and lace.

Thanks on Thanksgiving

This is a personal thanks to all of you who have done so much over the last few months. African Aids Angels is growing as an organization. We have new groups underway in Parksville, Qualicum, Chemainus, Pender Island, Comox, Sidney and others are exploring the possibility of starting up. These new groups have contributed almost $2000 in the last month.

In Victoria, volunteers are coming foward to help with the dozens of small, behind-the-scenes details that keep us running smoothly. Some are making wings at home. Some cut fabric. Some are working on organizing the sales and others are volunteering to sell. Many have begun putting hair on the angel bodies so they are ready for the dressings. Women from the Latter Day Saints have begun special groups to assist us in creating enough angels to supply us for the Christmas season.

There are angellers independently organizing fundraisers that will be of great benefit to us. A successful one was just held at the Stilt.

Each of our four projects requested $7000 worth of support for this year. We need to raise $30,000 to meet their needs. We are very close to reaching this goal, thanks to you.

An independent project appraiser recently visited African Angels in Malawi and was really impressed with the work they are doing with our support. Its wonderful to get this kind of feedback.

Many members talk about the great people they are meeting through African Aids Angels and I am always impressed with your generosity. Let's continue to make a difference with many small steps.

Mary Bomford

p.s. I'll be spending some time with my new red-haired grandson and may be slow to respond to enquiries. Be patient and imaginative!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Latest Malawi News

CBC Sept.24th

The IMF and the World Bank are canceling
a $2.9 billion debt for Malawi.

This is 90% of Malawi's international debt.

This is moment of opportunity for Malawi where the average income is $1 a day.

Hair for Angels

Angelic Hair

Marg Farley has generously offered to coordinate the details around getting hair on angels.

She now has the wool, glue and peg bodies and will be the central point for delivery and pick up of materials for putting on hair.

We are about to begin our busiest time of the year. We anticipate needing about 1000 angels between now and Christmas. If 10 people would commit to doing 100 angel hairdoes we would be fine.That's about 3 hours of work once you get a routine going. Right now we have 4 volunteers for this job.

Give them a break and share the load.

We will have more "hair instruction" at the next dressing Oct. 7th.

Contact Marg ( if you can help.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fear of Sales

Christmas Angel Sales

Last week many angel makers overcame their fear of doing angel hair. Congratulations!

The next challenge will be selling the angels.

We need over 30 volunteers ready to do a short 2 hour shift at one of our sales.

The angels sell themselves. You just need to collect the money! We provide all the materials. You just turn up with a smile.

We have coordinators for all the sales. Many thanks to Anne, Fran, and Barb.

Contact them to select your time and date:
Westshore: Nov. 2,3,4

University Heights

Hillside: Nov. 24,25,26

Fall Dates: Update

Saturday, October 7
10 a.m. til 2 p.m.
Drop in or bring your lunch if you come for the day,
St. Aidan's
3703 St. Aidans' Street
(check your map, this is tricky to find)

Tuesday Oct. 17
7 to 9 p.m.
Holy Cross Parish Center) next to church,
4049 Gordon Head Rd.
Angel Making

Note change
Wednesday October 18
6:30- 8:30 (Note Time!!)
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies
just north of Thrifty's James Bay
Angel Making

Oct. 25th: 7-9 p.m.
Susannes, 1273 Fairlane Terrace
Angel Making

Nov. 2,3,4
Westshore Mall
Anne Lowan in charge
Angel Sale

Nov. 6
Monday, 6:3o- 8:30 (note time)
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies
just north of Thrifty's James Bay
Angel Making

Nov. 17,18, 19
University Heights Sale
Fran Miller in charge

Tuesday, Nov. 21
Holy Cross Parish Center) next to church,
4049 Gordon Head Rd.
Angel Making

Nov. 24, 25, 26

Hillside Mall
Barb McCrow in charge
Angel Sale

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thrifty Smile Cards

Smile Cards good until December 2006

We have received a huge benefit from the Thrifty Smile Card program since December of 2005.

Thrifty's will be revising the program effective January 2007.

We can use our current cards until December 2006. We still have about 30 cards left and it is really worthwhile using them for the remaining 3 months of the program.

If you have lost yours and need a new one or you know someone who would like one, email Mary at and cards will be mailed to you.

The Smile Card program will continue in a new form. We are not sure if we will qualify under the new program but we are immensely greatful to Thrifty's for the benefits we received this year. You could express your thanks when you use your card.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Students in Malawi

African Angels, our community contact group in Mzuzu, Malawi, is funding schools fees for children orphanned by AIDS. The funding is provided by Aids Angels, Victoria and Seeds for Malawi, Saltspring. These girls are attending high school with the support of African Angels.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Letter from a Young Angel Maker

Heather lives on Pender and made angels with Mary, a member of one of our sister groups. Heather is 10 years old.

Dear Mary,

Thank you for letting me make “Aids Angels” with you and Andrea.
With each pieace added onto the Angel deep down I know that I have done a good deed. With the sales of the dolls, People in Africa are being given aid. Some people might think “Who cares? We have a good life it’s not our fault if they don’t have food and water.” But when we’ve made even just one “Aids Angel” and then turn on the TV and see those shows abouting giving aid to people in Africa, we know we’ve done a good deed. Thank you for giving me a richly deserving chance at doing my part for the world, Thanks again,

yours truly,

P.S I saw both my angels in the disaply window at the Driftwood. Oh how I felt!

A letter from Maria Ndolo

Maria receives funding for her school fees from African Angels. Her fees are covered by our sister group on Saltspring Island. She lives in Mzuzu, Malawi and responded to a request for a letter describing her situation and her hopes.

I am Maria Ndolo. I was born on 20th October 1991 at St. John's Hopsital here in Mzuzu and I am the fourth born of our family of five.

Life was going well with me when I was below 14 years. But my father was expelled from his job, not because of doing bad things but because he felt sick. He died on 20th July 2005. My mother was trying her best to find means of finding school fees but it was always difficult to make it for all of us in our family.

It has been my dream that I will be a lawyer one day and I thank God that he sent the African Angels to my rescue and I know I will acheive my goal.

Splenda for Splendid Angels

Do you use Splenda?

Could you keep the boxes? They have a lovely silver lining that some angel makers are using as a base for glitzy angel bodies. Bring them along to angel making sessions or email Mary at for directions for other drop off opportunities.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Positively Africa

This will be of interest to Aids Angel makers. We are a group that makes direct community to community contact with our projects. Peggy and Peter will talk about the value of this kind of connection compared to working with much larger organizations.

positively AFRICA

Victoria talk and slide show

Who – Peggy Frank and Peter Bardon - “positively AFRICA

What – Peter and Peggy will talk about their experiences and connections in Rwanda, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They will discuss the importance of direct linkages with communities in Africa and provide some idea about what can and has been done.

Where – The Garth Homer Foundation Centre at 813 Darwin Ave (near the Saanich Municipal Hall, and the crner of Vernon Ave. and Saanich Rd)

When – 7pm on Friday Sept. 22, 2006

For more information call Peter and Peggy – 250 -537-7064 or 250-519-0040

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Message from Malawi

Email from Teddy Phiri,
our Malawi contact

It is pleasing to hear of the great interest of people in the work of AAA. (African Aids Angels). Sometimes I can not believe what we have achieved over time in terms of your mobilisation of people in Canada to be involved in AAA fund raising activities. Reflect back on that dinner evening at your house. We could not imagine that today many people are benefitting in Malawi.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Angel Sales

Angel Christmas Sales

The pre-Christmas season is the busiest time of the year for angels sales.

The new Westshore mall (formerly CanWest) is booked for Nov. 2,3,4. Anne Lowan is in charge and already coming up with creative plans. Contact Anne at to help with selling.

Hillside Mall has given us Nov. 24,25,26. This is when Santa Claus arives so we will have a good crowd. Barb McCrow is in charge. Contact her at bmckrow@shaw .ca and choose your shift.

Other locations are University Heights and the Youth Craft Fair at Pearkes. We are looking for coordinators for those sales. Think about it. Contact Mary at 727-0226 or if you are interested.

Angel Body Parts

Hair, Wings, Fabric and Tags

Join us Saturday, Sept 16 at St. Aidans, 3703 St. Aidans Street, from 10 til noon.

We need to stock up on angel parts to be ready for making angels to meet the Christmas rush.

Come join us and learn how the angel components are made. We will have four centers. You can move around and try all the different tasks.

This is for all of those who say, "Oh I m not so creative!" If you have never made an angel, come and make the components. Everyone is welcome.

We are looking forward to a big crowd. St. Aidans craftroom has lots of space. Check your map. It s near Mt. Tolmie but a little tricky to find.

See you there!

Autumn Aids Angels

Fall Aids Angels Schedule

The autumn nip is in the air. Please keep checking the dates below as you plan your fall schedule.
This will be updated regularly.

New Horizon's in James Bay, and the parishes of Holy Cross and St. Aidans in Saanich have donated us their spacious, well-lit facilities for making angels. We will use these locations regulary but still enjoy the warmth of volunteers homes once in a while. Special thanks to Susanne for her gracious hospitality.

We are trying to alternate between Saanich and Victoria locations to provide locations that are closer to your home.

Sept. 19: 7 -9 p.m.
Holy Cross Parish Center) next to church, 4049 Gordon Head Rd.
Angel Making

October 2
Monday 6:30- 8:30 (Note Time!!)
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies
just north of Thrifty's James Bay
Angel Making

Oct. 25th: 7-9 p.m.
Susannes, 1273 Fairlane Terrace
Angel Making

Nov. 6
Monday, 6:3- 7:30
James Bay New Horizons
234 Mnezies
just north of Thrifty's James Bay
Angel Making

Nov. 2,3,4
Westshore Mall
Angel Sale

Nov. 24, 25, 26
Hillside Mall
Angel Sale

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fear of Hair

A critical link (or curl) in the chain

Wouldn't you like to watch TV without guilt?

Make your TV time productive!

Learn how to put on Angel hair.

When you come to make angels, you just pick up that pre-prepared angel body and your creative juices flow, but, someone had to put hair on it.

We are immensely greatful to four volunteers who have been steadily putting hair on angels. Its time to lighten their load.

If you have reasonably steady hands and can set aside one or two hours of TV or DVD time to give the angels their hair you will become a very important link in the angel production team. You can do it at home. No meetings, no gas to burn. We admit its not the most exciting job in the world but we can't do without it.

Contact Anne at jalowan@shaw .ca or phone 744-3996 if you are interested.

UPDATE: workshop at St. Aidan's Sept. 16. See post above.

The Generosity of Scissors

Scissors Request

We have had a great response to the request for scissors! Thanks to all those who donated them.

We have a good supply of pinking shears now and hope that you'll enjoy using them for fabric trimming at the dressing sessions.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

FAQ's draft

We need your input:

Check out the FAQ's draft.

Do you have other questions?

Are the answers here complete and clear for you?

Reply to Anne at and copy to Mary at

This will eventually become part of our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the African AIDS Angels

  1. How do you transfer the funds to Africa?

Funds are transferred directly from our AAA Victoria account to the bank accounts of our four projects.

  1. How do you distribute your funds?

Our funds are divided equally among the four projects and sent two or three times a year.

  1. How do you know how the funds are being used?

Our board members have personal connections with each project. Several visits have been made to the projects and regular reports are provided by email and telephone.

  1. Why did you choose those four projects to support?

The four projects were chosen because six of our board members have lived, worked or traveled in Zambia, Malawi and South Africa and have personal connections with those involved with each project.

  1. What kinds of projects do you support?

African Aids Angels support people who are affected by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. We are supporting widows, orphans, family fragments and pregnant women with HIV/AIDS

  1. Are you open to supporting other projects?

At this time the needs of our four projects continue to grow. We do not have the resources to expand beyond our current commitments. We are open to other groups outside the Vancouver Island area, using our model to raise funds for other AIDS projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

7. Are you a charity and can I get a tax receipt for my donation?

African Aids Angels is a registered society in B.C. We are not a registered charity with the federal government and therefore ineligible to provide charitable tax receipts.

8. How many volunteers are there in the organization?

Our Victoria group has over 150 volunteers.

9. What do your volunteers do?

Our volunteers make and sell angels, search out donated materials and prepare them for angel making, speak to educational and service organizations, and support the growth of new groups.

10. Do you have paid staff?

All our staff is volunteer.

11. What percentage of your funds goes to AIDS relief?

On average 93% of the funds raised go to our four projects.

12. Is African Aids Angels Victoria the only Angel group?

There are groups in Winnipeg, Ottawa, Seattle and many Vancouver Island towns. Contact us for more information.

13. I am a teacher. Can someone do a workshop for my class? What kind of information would be provided?

We do presentations for schools. We work with the teacher to provide age appropriate AIDS information for the class. We will assist with angel making provided that the teacher makes arrangements for the sale of the angels as part of the presentation.

14. This is such a huge pandemic. How can you make a difference?

We believe in the Japanese proverb that thousands of individual snowflakes will come together with enough weight to break a branch. We are one of thousands of small groups that together are making a difference.

15. Why are you sending money to Africa when we have homeless people here?

We have respect for all groups that support anyone in need. Many of our members support homeless people through local organizations. AAA is focused on AIDS relief in sub-Saharan Africa.

16. Is this a religiously based project?

We are not a religiously based organization. We are supported generously by many local churches. Our projects in Zambia and South Africa are managed by faith based groups. They are using our funds to support the needs of orphans and pregnant women with HIV/AIDS. Our funds are not used for proselytizing.

17. I would like to go to Africa to work. Can I help with one of your projects?

We do not arrange volunteer placements. Some of our projects occasionally accept volunteers but these arrangements must be made on an individual basis.

18. How can I get involved? How can my sister in Calgary start a project?

In the Victoria area we welcome new volunteers. Call or email and join our volunteer list.

Outside of the Victoria area you can email and ask for the angel making manual. Check the website for the current contact. The Manual for Making a Difference outlines everything you need to know about establishing a group, making and marketing angels. We also encourage other forms of fundraising to support our projects. Email if you interested.

Aids Background

Check the CBC website for information on the Toronto Aids Conference.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Angel Progress

The demand continues for African Aids Angels. The Times Colonist article has created an enormous amount of interest. We have deposited over $6000 into the Angels account since the news story appeared. Over $1000 of that has come from direct donations and the rest has come from the sale of angels. We need everyone's effort just to keep up with the summer sales. It looks like we will be able to fulfil the requests of all four projects for this year if we continue at this pace.

See you on the 18th or the 31st!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

James Bay Market Helpers

Carolyn will be selling angels at the James Bay Market on July 22 and August 17th. She needs helpers for set up, take down and a break time during the day. If you have time to help out contact her at

Market info:

-located at the corner of Menzies and Superior St, good bus service, stops right in front.
- open from 9am to 3pm
-we are expected to be ready to go for 9am, so set up starts at 8:30a.m., take down at 3 p.m.
- it's often breezy and cooler in James Bay, so bring layers.
- parking is available, I just need to know in advance so I can get parking passes.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Smile Cards for Angels

Aids Angels has a new supply of Thrifty Smile cards. We are still eligible for their program. If you are a Thrifty shopper and use the cards to buy your groceries, the Angels receive 5% of your purchase. This program costs you nothing and is a great fundraiser for our projects.

Try it out. Email and ask for a Smile Card. Send your postal address and we will mail it to you with directions for use. Ask all your friends to try the card too!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Angel Making Challenge June 27

Can You Make 5 Angels?

We are overwhelmed by success. Rob Shaw's Malawi story in the Times Colonist has resulted in many donations, new volunteers and great angel sales.

We are really short of angels. We need your help! If all angellers old and new will plan to make at least 5 angels this month, then we can catch up on the demand.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Are you new to Aids Angels?

Welcome to African Aids Angels. If you read Rob Shaw's Times Colonist article, and want to know more, please check our website The site lists where the Aids Angels are sold. You will also find our history and many photos of the people that we support.

The website also provide contact addresses if you want to make email inquiries.

Thanks for your interest.

Photo: Teddy and Delirah Phiri, two of the African Aids Angels organizers in Mzuzu Malawi. Teddy and Delirah manage the funds raised by African Aids Angels Victoria and Saltspring Island's Seeds for Malawi. They provide seeds and fertilizer for women widowed by AIDS and other families fragmented by AIDS; emergency food relief and school fees for children orphanned by AIDS. photo: Sean McIntyre

Sunday, June 11, 2006

African Journey

Rob Shaw's reports on his trip to Malawi and Tanzania start Sunday June 11 in the Times Colonist.

Monday June the 12th features Mzuzu , Malawi and Aids Angels in that area.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Angels sustain African relief project: $5 fabric dolls locally crafted by an army of volunteers have helped raise $60,000 to fight disease, starvation overseas

Times Colonist (Victoria)Monday, March 13, 2006
Byline: Rob Shaw
Source: Times Colonist

There are angels with glittering wings and golden halos among us in Victoria. And while they are only 15 centimetres tall, glued together out of painted clothes pegs and fabric-swatch dresses, they are providing small miracles for some of those in need.

They are African *AIDS* *Angels*, made and sold by local Victorians to help fight disease and starvation in South and East Africa.

A growing group of as many as 100 volunteers cut, glue and piece together the angels which sell for $5 in stores such as Gardenworks in Oak Bay, Flowers First on Cook Street, Star Cinema in Sidney and Fat Cat Fine Art on Store Street.

Their sales, along with auctions and donations, have raised almost $60,000 since 2001.

The money helps feed and house AIDS orphans at projects in South Africa and Zambia, as well as support a program to prevent pregnant women with HIV/AIDS from passing on the disease to their unborn children. It also pays for seeds, fertilizer, gardening tools and school fees in a drought-stricken village in northern Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world.

"AIDS is such an enormous problem, but you can kind of look at the angels and say this is actually something that you can do, and it takes away the feeling of helplessness," said Mary Bomford, a special-education teacher from Saanich who, with husband Larry, administers the Malawi arm of *AIDS* *Angels*.

The angels project started in 2000 after Victoria residents Vic and Lorraine Parsons travelled to South Africa and saw the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS. "I just said, 'We can't go back and forget about this, we have to do something,'" said Lorraine, who is with the provincial Child and Youth Officer.

That something became the angels. Friends in Ottawa, who were also on the trip, founded their own branch. Victoria raised a modest $900 in its first year. But tireless volunteers, such as organizer Anne Lowan, soon came on board. Lowan began promoting the angels in capital region stores.

Last year, the angels raised $36,000.

The effort involves hours of behind-the-scenes labour at monthly craft parties. About 5,000 angels were glued, painted and given traditional African names last year. During the busy Christmas season, angel-making becomes a weekly affair.

"Some days it's just like magic, and the most interesting people turn up," said Bomford.
Expenses are around five percent of total money raised, said Bomford. About 25 cents from each $5 angel goes to material costs, she said. The organization is run entirely by volunteers.
Its success has surprised even its founding members. As donations continue to rise, organizers are beginning to talk of partnerships with non-governmental organizations such as the Stephen Lewis Foundation to ensure all the money raised in Victoria finds its way to Africa.

Their influence has already spread to sister groups in Winnipeg, Smithers, Powell River, Pender Island and Toronto. There is also interest from Hawaii, Uganda and a women's prison in Seattle.

Saltspring Island's Garden Club now sells angels. Its Seeds for Malawi program has raised $14,460 since 2003 for the same Malawi village as Victoria's *AIDS* *angels*. Together, Saltspring and Victoria help more than 60 families directly, as well as provide maize crops and food for others in the village.

"I think that's one of the greatest things about this is not only the phenomenal exposure in Victoria, but also the expansion in other parts of the world," said Vic Parsons, a retired Canadian Press reporter.

"It shows people want to help and they just need something simple to do to help," added wife Lorraine. "People are so generous, and I really believe that."

Times Colonist reporter Rob Shaw is currently travelling to the Malawi village supported by the Victoria *AIDS* *Angels* and to the country of Tanzania, on a fellowship from the Jack Webster Foundation and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Sunday, May 14, 2006

African AIDS Angels Victoria BC

This weekend (12th and 13th May)the Rotarians are holding their major annual conference at the victoria Conference centre. The District 5020 Rotarians, under the guidance of District Governor Joan Firkins, have been wonderfully supportive of the African AIDS Angels all year, and at the conference each club (there are 87) has been invited to display the three angels they have dressed for the occasion. The delegates will vote for their favourites, paying $1.00 per vote, and the angels will be auctioned. (The proceeds from all this will be going to the projects)
At the same time, on Saturday afternoon, Linda, Ashley and Anne will be holding a workshop. Joan is certain of 40 young exchange students taking the workshop, and it could be up to 100!.Luckily there will be a group of Rotary Anns on hand to help.
All in all it should be a wonderful time. I'll blog on afterwards and let you know how it goes.
P.S. A round of hearty applause and three cheers for Kristjan who has spent so much time getting this BLOG up and running for us. Thanks so much, Kristjan.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Makeni Project News: April 2006

Friends of Makeni Newsletter

April 2006 Newsletter

Dear Friends of Makeni

Warm Greetings from Makeni Ecumenical Centre. The main purpose of this mailing is to let you know that the MEC Annual 2005 Report is now available from the front page of the website,, or on request by email (please specify PDF or DOC format).

As you know, all the centre's departments have been feeling the absence of Father Pierre Dil, who passed away just over a year ago and Mrs Christine Allen (Administrative Manager) suffered a prolonged illness in 2005, but is now, thankfully, back with us again.

Some other general news from the last year:

Sandy Adams (Scotland), returned to continue working in the main office and lending a hand wherever he is needed. We were also joined by Deborah and Bruce Milano (USA) as long term volunteers working with the Family Planning and AIDS outreach units.

The children of St Nicholas Village enjoyed the company of volunteers Yvonne Kars (Holland), and Matthew Dil (Canada), both of whom developed a great rapport with the children and provided many interesting and entertaining activities for the children.

Jan and Truus Veldkamp (Holland) renovated the primary school playground, provided entertainment facilities and also decorated at St Nicholas Village

The large new ARV (Anti-retroviral) Clinic is nearing completion within MEC grounds. This will be of great use to Makeni and surrounding townships, in the fight for longer survival and quality of life of AIDS sufferers. This programme is a co-operation between MEC, the District Health Management Team in Lusaka and the Ministry of Health.

A local steering and strategic planning board has been formed including interested parties who are not staff members to help ensure that we achieve our aims. Details of current membership are in the full report.

The rains have been very good this year – almost too good, since prolonged rains after crops are harvested can be a problem for drying grain.

The Open University (UK) has now donated a total of five computers to the centre, and we are extremely grateful for the support of Operation Sunshine (Folkestone, England) a church-supported charity, in shipping items to Zambia. The first shipment of three donated computers left at the end of April.

In addition we have continued and generous support for St Nicholas Village from Africa Aids Angels in Canada, and renewed support from churches in England, Holland and Canada, including the Kloosterkerk Worldwide in Holland.

Once again we thank all our friends for their support over the past year, without which many of our our projects could not survive.

Please consider renewing your commitment by making an annual donation to the Friends of Makeni fund, by sending a donation to Mrs Christine Allen at Box 50255, Lusaka, Zambia, or through your local Friends of Makeni support group!

Mailing List

We hope the above reports are of interest to you. Please use them to publicise our work in your congregation and among friends. Its contents will be included also in our website which you may visit at (There may be a delay between the newsletter and website materials being updated.)

Please let the webmaster (Anton Dil) know, by writing to postmaster @

·       If we are not using your preferred email address
·       If you would prefer not to receive the newsletter
·       If you know the address of someone else who might like to receive the newsletter

Yours in Christ

Mrs Christine Allen (Administrator), Fr Andrew Mukuyamba (Chairman), Mrs Wenda Dil and family and the staff of MEC

Thursday, April 27, 2006

ABOUT African AIDS Angels Victoria, BC

We are a small group of volunteers concerned about the devastation that AIDS has caused to the individuals and the society of Sub-Saharan Africa. We are people of all ages, and many occupations and faiths, who want to work with small projects that will make some difference to the lives of people affected by the epidemic. The projects we have supported have direct, personal connections with our volunteers in Victoria. We encourage like-minded groups in other cities to make angels to raise funds for AIDS-related projects that they may know of, or if preferred, to channel the funds through us to our projects in Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

Many of our most active and dedicated angelmakers and sellers are university, local college and high school students, or members of youth groups. Besides the fund-raising component of our project, our volunteers - young, middle-aged and older - are also learning about the impact the epidemic is having internationally.

For example, a 2002 UN study in Malawi showed 70 per cent of surveyed houses had suffered losses of labour due to AIDS-related illness, a fact that has contributed to famine in that largely agricultural country. In Sub-Saharan Africa there are about 3 million children under age 15 living with HIV-AIDS. In South Africa alone, 360,000 people died in 2001 from HIV-AIDS.

We recognize that our own efforts in the face of this catastrophe are modest but we hope that the AIDS Angel idea spreads so that people in other communities can lighten the load of those affected by this epidemic.