A Canadian branch of a program that
delivers motorcycles for health workers and other goods and services
to improve the lives of rural Africans was launched Monday night at a
gala fundraiser in Toronto.
Virgin Unite Canada was kicked off at the
Direct Energy Centre by Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin
Group.Virgin Unite is an international
charity that focuses on the environment, young people in need of
assistance, and fighting HIV and AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
One aspect of the program, called
“Heaven’s Angels,” provides money for health care professionals
who use motorcycles to reach people in Sub-Sarahan Africa. Proceeds
from the Toronto party will go directly into that program, which can
deliver a new motorcycle and keep a health worker on the job for a
year with just $11,000. Branson and Virgin pay the costs of running
the charity, so donated money goes straight into field operations.
Virgin Unite also delivers HIV tests
developed by bioLytical Laboratories of Richmond, B.C., which has
donated $1-million in medical supplies for use at African clinics.
The tests can produce a diagnosis of HIV infection in 60 seconds.
“The support Canadians have given
will make an enormous difference in the lives of people in need,”
said Jean Oelwang, managing director of Virgin Unite, at the gala.
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