• James Armstrong

Hudson resident chosen to attend Global Fund Fifth Replenishment Conference


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Hudson resident India Robbins was one of only 100 Canadians picked to attended the recent Global Fund Fifth Replenishment Conference held in Montreal.

It was described as a great honor for India Robbins to be chosen as a delegate to the two-day Global Fund Fifth Replenishment Conference held in Montreal Friday, September 16, to Saturday, September 17, an event that takes place every three years.

“I was totally surprised,” said Robbins who originally made her application for the event through ONE, an international campaigning and advocacy organization created to raise awareness and take action to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases.

“At first, I wasn’t taking it that seriously,” said Robbins in reference to her application. “Then I saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the corridor at the conference and I knew this was something important.”

The acceptance of her by ONE also meant that she was making the commitment to be a ONE parliamentary riding leader for Vaudreuil-Soulanges. As a volunteer, Robbins will be recruiting other volunteers to work with her. “We will be launching a petition to put pressure on our local federal Member of Parliament, Peter Schiefke, and the federal government to increase its commitment to ending extreme poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa,” she said.

Robbins was one of the 100 Canadians chosen out 200,000 applicants from across the country to attend the conference. “’Poverty is sexist’ was the focus of conference,” said Robbins. She was particularly moved by the mother/daughter duo from Kenya, Patricia Asero Ochieng and Consolata Opiyo and their presentation about their personal experience of living with HIV/AIDS. “Over 700 girls are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS every day,” said Robbins.

“The message was about empowerment through education. Especially for girls and women in African countries,” she said. “The traditional pattern is that boys get to go to school. Not girls.”

According to its website, www.theglobalfund.org, the Global Fund is a partnership organization that works in partnership with other organizations to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria as epidemics. Founded in 2002, the fund raises and invests close to $4 billion U.S. per year to support locally run programs created by local experts in communities around the world.

The ONE organization, cofounded with U2 front-man Bono, supports the Global Fund by lobbying political leaders around the world and organizing grass roots campaigns. “It really emphasizes that we all have a voice and we can make change happen,” said Robbins. She pointed out that many of the seven million members of ONE are from countries in Africa. According to the organization’s web site www.one.org, they do not distribute grants or receive government or public funding. ONE is funded by foundations, individual philanthropists, and corporations.

“It was really amazing to meet Prime Minister Trudeau, Bill Gates and Marie-Claude Bibeau our Federal Minister of International Development and La Francophonie,” said Robbins. The conference experience is motivating Robbins in creating a local advocacy group.

“I will be receiving materials soon and have done training for organizing events,” she said adding her campaign for volunteers begins in October. Anyone wishing to participate should contact Robbins by e-mail: indiarobbins81@gmail.com

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