Title of honoured guest(s) if appropriate, Ladies and Gentlemen:
We live in a difficult age. It is one too of great juxtaposition. There are great extremes of wealth and poverty. There is uncertainty, suffering and fear. The spread of HIV/AIDS is decimating families, communities and entire countries. Yet tonight we have come together to celebrate hope. That hope is not pie in the sky. It is a real demonstration that when people come together and put their minds to it, change is possible. Fear can be overcome and positive changes can be made. Every difficult age needs its champions. It needs people to be unafraid. It needs people who are prepared to stand up and be counted. It needs ordinary people who are prepared to say that they want to try and change things.
Many of us have made a very real choice. That same choice is denied to so many millions and shows how vital your decision was. Your choice was not to walk away when help was asked for. It was a choice not to simply get on with your lives. It was a choice you made to listen, to understand and to say ‘If there is a way I can help then I will do just that'. The decision you made was a vital one. In it you have recognised the incredible challenge that has exists for us. You have recognised that while such suffering exists for so many, there is something that you can do to help.
That help is to raise money to fight for a world in which other families will not have to live in fear and secrecy. It is for those families and children who have very little present and the possibility of no future. Through the funds you have worked so hard to raise, direct help will be given to many people. Assistance, education and awareness can be given. Through your efforts and those of many others like you who did not turn their heads away, hope is possible.
It is a fact that the problems of HIV/AIDS are inseparable from poverty. Funds are needed desperately to finance the treatment of those living with HIV/AIDS and their families. Treatments are needed now and you have acted. You have shown through tonight and through your participation in (name of particular fund raising event), not simply generosity, but an awareness and willingness to help others. It is clear too that you have enjoyed not just the giving, but the event itself.
When people come together like this, it raises a wonderful energy of commitment and dedication.
It brings out all that is best about being human, which is to be a part of a caring community. Yes this is a difficult time, but you have shown what is possible if we put our minds to it. You have shown that there is hope and more than that, you have actually given that hope to many other people. The message we must take home today is that HIV/AIDS can be beaten and we can beat it.