Volunteers: Key actors on the community scene

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VOLUNTEERS: KEY ACTORS ON THE COMMUNITY SCENE
February 16, 2016

Volunteering, the cultural cornerstone of the community movement, is essential to the daily functioning of organisations.

Petites mainsAgainst today’s trend of disengagement by governments from major social sectors such as education or health, to mention the most evident ones, the role each individual can play within his/her community appears all the more crucial. Evidently, it is not a matter of substituting collective or individual social initiatives for the functions of government bodies, but volunteers have long understood the role they can play so as to help shape the new face of our society.

The commitment and altruism of these men and women take, in fact, very many forms and the expression « giving of one’s time » seems a gross understatement when placed against the tremendous contribution they make. Volunteers participate in the democratic decision-making process (boards of directors, executive councils, etc.) of organisations and associations. They offer their services to people so as to foster the improvement of their quality of life while maintaining them in their natural environment. They lead support, self-help, artistic-expression, meditation and other groups. They become the faces of causes by sharing their experiences or being their spokespersons. They offer their professional skills (accounting, law, massotherapy, psychology, etc.) for free.

Volunteers invest their time, energy, skills and good humour! Just like you, dear donors, they make a difference each day towards a society with greater solidarity, a more balanced society.

New protest against underfunding of Quebec’s community groups

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NEW PROTEST AGAINST UNDERFUNDING OF QUEBEC’S COMMUNITY GROUPS
November 26, 2015

on fermeThis last November 2nd and 3rd, close to 1,300 community groups closed their doors in protest against their precarious funding. The strike movement, which affected the whole of Quebec, was accompanied by demonstrations that drew attention to a funding shortfall, estimated at 250 million dollars, that has led many organisations to fear that they may be forced to close for good.

By reducing services, the government’s austerity policy deeply hurts the rights of poor, marginalised people and the community organisations that work with and for them. As people’s needs increase, they rely more and more to the organisations, whose funding, on the other hand, does not increase.
The under-funding of community groups is nothing new, but current government policies have been weakening the organisations, preventing them from fully carrying out their mission.

In this difficult situation, Fqsida takes the opportunity to thank you once again for your support and loyalty!

On 2 and 3 November, Fqsida, in solidarity with its member organisations and the community movement as a whole, made an exceptional gesture by closing its doors and interrupting its activities.

Between us, what’s my place?

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“BETWEEN US, WHAT’S MY PLACE?”
July 26th, 2013

Dear donor,

I would like to talk to you today about an event that is particularly close to my heart, which will take place in Montréal on September the 27th and 28th.

It’s the 3rd edition of the Forum of People Living with HIV, a meeting that will bring together 200 people from all across Québec, under the theme “Entre nous, c’est quoi ma place?” / “Between us, what’s my place?”

In an atmosphere of optimism and commitment, this symposium will be organized around the most current and significant issues in the fight against HIV/AIDS, whether it be in terms of medical treatment, advances in our understanding of treatment as an effective way of preventing the transmission of HIV, access to employment and insurance, recognition of rights, the place of HIV-positive people in Québec society, and the essential role they play in the fight against the worldwide HIV pandemic.

An element of “crosscutting concern” will be prominent in all the activities in the program: the involvement of people living with HIV in different spheres of society and community action, particularly in the current context where international authorities have targeted the eradication of AIDS within one or two generations.

From the onset of the fight against HIV and AIDS, the “Greater Involvement of People living with HIV and AIDS” (GIPA) has always been a determining factor in the advances achieved in all our communities, and the essential role of HIV-positive people in the fight against the pandemic needs no longer be proven. Even so, the GIPA principle needs to be constantly stressed and implemented, since HIV-positive people continue to encounter many obstacles in their participation and expression of their specific concerns. New approaches need to be developed in order to encourage them to speak out and get involved, since their participation makes all the difference between an unproductive action and an approach that results in concrete success.

Today, dear donor, as the 2013 edition of the Forum approaches, I invite you to show your support for this community movement by making a donation to this event.

I would also like to extend a very special thank-you for your loyalty to the Fondation québecoise du sida!

Yours in solidarity,

Donald Careau,
President

Fight discrimination, fight HIV/AIDS!

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FIGHT DISCRIMINATION, FIGHT HIV/AIDS!
February 18th, 2013

According to UNAIDS “HIV-related discrimination continues to impact the lives of many people living with HIV, and still prevents millions of people from coming forward to test for HIV and access prevention and treatment services.”* This statement holds true around the world, even here in Québec, and the implications it holds for public health are diverse, particularly in terms of prevention. For example, prejudice and the discrimination it engenders can impede the proper distribution of information about the risks of transmission. Discrimination can create a climate where political bodies are not required to do their part in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It can hinder early screening, since the rejection of HIV-positive people often discourages others from wanting to learn their HIV status. Finally, discrimination impedes access to treatment.

The fight against the prejudice, stigmatization and discrimination that HIV-positive people face is also a question of social justice. Efforts to have these people’s rights respected are not only an essential part of our response to the epidemic, but also ensure that every person can fully exercise their right to health, access to employment, safety, and a meaningful place in society.

Today I would like to commend the impressive way that people living with HIV have mobilized in defense of their rights. As a result, they come closer every day to seeing these rights recognized. And as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fondation québécoise du sida, a role I’ve now held for several months, I would also like to highlight the work carried out by our recipient organizations in Québec and in the African member countries of the Coalition PLUS, in the fight against discrimination and prejudice: educating and working with political institutions, adapting resources to respond to various discriminatory situations, running public awareness as well as education campaigns, etc.

I would also like to express how critical your support is in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Thank you for your generosity!

Donald Careau
President

*UNAIDS press release from December 10, 2012, for Human Rights Day.

The issue is no longer what must be done to fight HIV/AIDS, but how to do it

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THE ISSUE IS NO LONGER WHAT MUST BE DONE TO FIGHT HIV/AIDS,
BUT HOW TO DO IT.
July 31th, 2012

Dear reader,

Since its new beginning in 2007, the Fondation québécoise du sida has benefited in many ways from organizational support from COCQ-SIDA. This community solidarity is dear to us, and is a solid partnership for the Fondation. However, the board of directors decided last year to make the Fondation more autonomous by creating a separate executive director position. On June 28, our annual general assembly has honoured me with this important mandate.

While we have the best and most up-to-date knowledge on HIV/AIDS at our disposal, the community organizations must now meet the challenge of integrating that knowledge into its work and adapt its actions to the needs of the populations it serves. Recent scientific advances, new preventive technologies, the effects of stigma and discrimination on the pandemic and the resulting human rights issues, the role of social, economic, and structural factors are among the many parts of the context that must be considered. Today, the issue is no longer what must be done to fight HIV/AIDS, but how to do it, and of course where to get the financial and human resources required.

In Quebec, on top of the difficult economic situation, the political choices of both levels of government lead not only to frequent budget restrictions but also to decisions that may have negative impacts on awareness raising, prevention, and social justice.

As for the situation in Africa, between economic crises and civil wars, your support for the Fondation is more important than ever. Funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS are dropping, with some countries lacking the funds needed to contribute and others preparing for the crisis by reducing expenditures. In this context, community work is increasingly difficult. For example, ARCAD/SIDA in Mali saw its testing and medication distribution facilities in the city of Goa destroyed. Deeming the situation in the country too dangerous, and not having completed its evaluations of how its funding was being used, the Global Fund discontinued its contributions. Poor workers have already carried on with their tasks for months as volunteers, but how long can they continue?

While the latest scientific advances could make it possible to wipe out HIV/AIDS, more than ever funding will be the central issue of the next few years.

Thank you so much for your faithful support!

Sincerely,

Lise Pinault,
Executive Director