For the past seven years, fashion, art and music showcase, Ribbon Rouge has raised awareness of HIV/AIDS around the world and raised funds for HIV/AIDS patients in Africa and North America. This year, international model management company, Mode Models International is teaming up with the organization on its annual fashion, music and art showcase featuring a host of programmatic events from silent auctions to spoken word performances. This year the showcase is also teaming up with UNAIDS, the United Nations’ arm for advocating global action on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Ribbon Rouge is the brainchild of Nigerian pharmacist and entrepreneur, Morenike Olaosebikan. Olaosebikan who co-owns a thriving Shoppers’ Drugmart franchise in Canada as well as fashion label, Arewa came up with the idea for Ribbon Rouge after an experience with tuberclosis at a young age in her home country, Nigeria.
“The idea for Ribbon Rouge came from a personal struggle of mine from 2002 to 2003,” she said. “I fell quite sick with Tuberculosis and had to go through the WHO’s DOTS program back in Nigeria. It was an experience that stired up a very strong desire to make some sort of difference -watching people die with less than ideal pharmaceutical care. At the treatment centre, I frequently watched resourceful but often sub-optimal management of patients with HIV/ TB co-infections in a developing country. The only skill I really felt I could sell 7 years ago was my art, so I tapped into my artistic inclinations, and with the amazing support of my friends created this spectacle of a show.”
“Ribbon Rouge represents solidarity with so many phenomenal and progressive messages all at once; getting to Zero new HIV infections, getting to zero stigma and discrimination, eliminating gender inequalities, and getting to zero AIDS related deaths while supporting local artists for this amazing cause,” Olaosebikan said.
Olaosebikan would like the organization to grow from one annual third party fundraiser to several charitable events a year and ultimately, to a charitable organization that sustains itself through “fun” but enlightening events and becomes primarily concerned in advocacy, information dissemination and research in the HIV/AIDS arena.
This year’s event will be held at Lexus South Pointe, 100 Street Southwest, Edmonton, Canada on Friday, 6th December, 2013 as from 6pm. There would be performances from Mode Models, Corde Lise & Sierra Jamerson of Fire Fly Theatre, Adje Performers, motivational humorist, Zandra Bell and award winning Namibian singer, Garth Prince amongst others. 100% of this year’s proceeds from funds raised go towards HIV Relief through UNAIDS and HIV Edmonton.