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The idea for Step By Step Africa was formed while I was living in a small town in the northern part of Ghana, a nation in West Africa. I was volunteering at a small orphanage, and learning all about the local way of life, from the big festivals to the daily meals. Although I knew that HIV/AIDS is a big problem in Africa, since it is not something that is easily visible, I was largely unaffected by it. About half way through my stay, a good friend of mine was diagnosed as HIV positive. I immediately became highly involved, not only in helping my friend find and obtain the proper treatment, but I also started seeking out other ways to fight the epidemic. I was astounded by the quiet but far reaching impact the epidemic has once you start looking for it.

What amazed me even more was how easy it is to make a difference to individual people who are HIV positive, and this realization is by far the biggest factor leading to the founding of Step By Step Africa. For those of us fortunate enough to live comfortably in the developed world, a small sacrifice from us can have an enormous impact on those in need. This is what Step By Step Africa strives to do – get the money to the people that need it the most for testing and treatment through generous donations.

Since returning to Canada in May 2006, I have found some friends to help me start Step By Step Africa. The founding board of directors includes Jeff Devon, Rob Burko, and Christa Romaldi. All three of them have shown a great combination of creativity, determination, and commitment to our cause. In 2011, Jeff stepped down from our board and we welcomed Shaindy Offenheim, who has long been one of our best volunteers.

We are all looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead for Step By Step Africa and finding ways to help those in need as much as possible.

Ben Wise

Founder and President