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Frequently Asked Questions

We hope that you may find the answer to your questions here before contacting us.

1. What kinds of projects do you support?
African Aids Angels supports people who are affected by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. We concentrate on supporting widows, orphans, family fragments and pregnant women with HIV/AIDS, through local organizations.
Some parts of the programs involve relief for immediate needs such as food and shelter. Other parts are more developmental in nature such as agricultural assistance which should allow recipients to become more self-sufficient in future if they are healthy.

2. Why did you choose those four projects to support?
The 4 projects were chosen because several of our board members have lived, worked or traveled in Zambia, Malawi and South Africa and personally know those involved with each project.

3. 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. Visit our page How donations make a difference to see what your donation will support.

4. Why do you send money instead of goods?
Money is the most useful asset, and the commodity that is most lacking.  Africans can buy what they need locally and hire local people to work. Generally speaking, it can be expensive, time-consuming and not secure to send goods to Africa.

5. How can I donate fabric?
Usually we have an abundant supply of material. We will still accept fabric which actually comes from Africa such as chitenge cloth: email us for drop-off locations. Check our Blog for updates on accepting fabric.

6. Do you need other donated items?
We always need used costume jewelry for angel decoration. We can use earrings, brooches, rings and interesting beads or fancy buttons. We also need pinking shears and regular scissors. The above items (but not cloth) can be left in Victoria at the James Bay Community Project reception desk, 547 Michigan Ave.

7. How do you distribute your funds?
Money is sent once or twice a year to each of our projects, based on their expressed needs and our available funds raised in the previous year.
Funds are transferred directly from our AAA Victoria account to the bank accounts of the four projects.

8. 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, and we will support them with information.

9. 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.
The legal requirements for charitable status with international organizations are very complex and beyond the capacity of our Canadian organization as well as some of the groups in southern Africa. In addition, without charitable registration we are more flexible to respond to needs expressed by the programs.

10. How many volunteers are there in the organization?
Our Victoria group has about100 volunteers.

11. What do your volunteers do?
Our volunteers make and sell angels, search out donated materials and prepare them for angel making, organize special events, organize opportunities to make angels available at shops and events, speak to educational and service organizations, and support the growth of new groups. Anyone can join our email list and be informed about upcoming events, or check the Blog regularly for news.

12. Do you have paid staff?
We are all volunteers.

13. How can I get involved? How can my sister in Calgary start a project?
In the Victoria area we welcome new volunteers. Email us and join our volunteer list. Check the Calendar for angel-making sessions.
Outside of the Victoria area you can email and ask for the angel-making manual. The manual How to make AIDS angels: a 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 fund-raising to support our projects. Email if you are interested.

14. What percentage of your funds goes to AIDS relief?
On average 95% of the funds raised go to our four projects. The rest is used to buy some supplies and pay administrative costs like printing and insurance.

15. Is African Aids Angels Victoria the only Angels group?
There are groups in Vancouver, Powell River, Roberts Creek and London Ontario. Contact us for more information.

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

Please see our Schools & Youth page for details.

17. 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 HIV/AIDS relief in sub-Saharan Africa.

18. Is this a religiously-based project?
We are not a religiously-based organization. We are supported generously by some 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.

19. 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.

20. This is such a big problem. 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.