Glendon’s Amnesty International Club Promotes Human Rights through ‘Air SolidaritÚ’
Air SolidaritÚ’s humanitarian efforts in Africa were featured in a YFile article in January 2005. Glendon Science of Flight professor (emeritus) Daphne Schiff and flight partner Adele Fogle participate in a humanitarian mission each year under the name Air-O-Sols. Piloting a single-engine plane, the 80-year-old Schiff and the 71-year-old Fogle deliver much-needed medical and school supplies to areas of Africa ravaged by war, famine and other disasters.
But in order to participate in Air SolidaritÚ’s annual mission, the Air-O-Sols need to collect $40,000 to cover cash contributions to the program, as well as expenses, such as airplane fuel and accommodations during the tour. And the medications and school supplies they distribute represent additional donations from individuals and corporations.
The January YFile article created a great deal of interest on York’s campuses. At the same time, several local papers, including the North York Mirror and the Canadian Jewish News ran stories about Schiff’s and Fogle’s activities. Schiff was also interviewed on CBC radio and television.
One of the most meaningful responses to their call for contributions was a special event held on March 16th by the Glendon Amnesty International Club, to raise awareness about human rights and the importance of humanitarian missions. Matthew Henzel, recent recipient of the Glendon Student Service Award for his contribution to the Glendon community, established the Club this year and has been working as its coordinator. Henzel was instrumental in organizing the fundraiser and in making it an outstanding success. In collaboration with Professor Schiff, the Club presented excellent speakers on the topic of human rights, including Schiff herself. The evening also included student musical performances, as well as a fundraising opportunity to donate to the work of Air SolidaritÚ and, in particular, the Air-O-Sols.
“We explained to all those present, that the money was going to a very important cause and that Air SolidaritÚ is trying to make a real difference”, said Henzel. “We told the students that every donation counted, no matter how small. Students are very hard-pressed for funds these days and we wanted to make sure that the money was going to be used where it was needed most.”
The Club raised $205 – a very significant amount, considering that it was donated on a small campus by individuals who do not have much themselves. Club organizers asked to be informed, if possible, about the ways in which this modest contribution would make a difference. The cheque was formally presented to Schiff, who was very moved by the students’ generosity and their concern for others. She declared it one of the most significant donations she had ever received towards her trips to Africa.
“It is an understatement to say that the time is now for the international community to live up to its belief that all humans are equal”, declared Henzel. “It is not enough for the international community to say so; it must show [its intentions] with real contributions. It gives our Club great joy to support an organization which is already doing that.”
This article was submitted to YFile by Marika Kemeny, communications officer at Glendon College.