Sean Murtha, Associate at BLG writes…On November 26, 2012 Dr. Adrienne Chan of Dignitas International spoke at the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (“BLG”). Dr. Chan has spent much of the past 5 years working at an HIV/AIDS clinic in Malawi, and she spoke at length about the tangible effects that donations made during the Give a Day campaign have in saving lives throughout Africa.
Dr. Chan highlighted the progress that has been made through the use of anti-retroviral treatments in sub-Saharan Africa. She spoke glowingly about the essential role that Malawian health-care providers play in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, and relayed heartfelt stories and pictures from her time working on the ground in Malawi.
The presentation also included a video in which a Grandmother supported by the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmother’s Campaign personally thanked BLG lawyers and staff for its continued strong support. As we all know, African Grandmothers are central to the life of their communities, as they have stepped into the breach to care for millions orphaned by AIDS. This personalized message was very warmly received by all who heard it!
Following her talk, Dr. Chan stayed behind to answer questions from audience members. Her presentation was the perfect way to kick off the final fundraising push at BLG, leading up to World AIDS Day.
James Fraser, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Dignitas International
Parisa Nikfarjam, Articling Student at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP writes … On November 28, 2011, a group of lawyers, staff and students from Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
had the pleasure of having lunch with James Fraser
, co-founder of Dignitas International
Mr. Fraser described the important work that Dignitas International does at the community-level in Malawi. BLG learned about the innovative medical care facilities created by Dignitas International and the research and advocacy initiatives that have been added to the mandate in recent years. However, it was Mr. Fraser’s stories about his experiences with those affected by HIV and AIDS that really inspired the room, and left some with tears.
Mr. Fraser explained a conversation he had with a woman in one of the medical clinics in Malawi, who questioned why it was that Dignitas International was supporting complete strangers. Mr. Fraser responded that the reason why more fortunate people, like Canadians, help those affected by HIV and AIDS in other parts of the world is the shared sense of humanity – the idea that regardless of where you are born and in what circumstances you find yourself, your life is as important as the life of anyone else.
This response not only established a deep connection between Mr. Fraser and this woman, but it also reminded the rest of us of the very basic rational of the Give a Day Campaign. This event provides yet another driving force for the various activities planned this week to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International at BLG.
BLG is looking forward to doing its part on World AIDS Day on December 1st by encouraging people to give a day’s pay to fight HIV and AIDS.