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The right to live

10 August 2018

People who know Ian Shanks, know of him, or come to know him, soon find that his love of Jesus is central to what he does. That is true both in business and in philanthropy.

Ian’s pharmacies and foundation take their name from Jesus’ words to his listeners, that ‘I have come that you may have life, and have it in all its fullness’ (John 10:10).

‘That is key to everything we do,’ Ian says. 

Shurmo Maternal Child Health Centre

During his January 2018 visit to Ethiopia, Ian officially opened the Shurmo Maternal Child Health Centre, built in 2017 through their partners, International Needs Australia.

This $60,000 project services a population of 30,000 people. It provides health, pre- and postnatal care, as well as immunisation and family planning services, and can accommodate up to three women delivering at once.

This doesn’t sound remarkable in an Australian setting, or any generalised, Western context. But it is a new where it is happening, and it is beautiful. This is happening in a country where the vast, vast majority of pregnant women receive no such aid.

Fullife Foundation is, literally, helping to save lives. That doesn’t happen without cash; during the 2016-2017 financial year, the Fullife Foundation expended $348,000 helping women in Ethiopia.

The Fullife Foundation has ongoing support from the Pharmacy Alliance, a group of 600 independent pharmacies, and from Pos Direct, a pharmacy IT company, who is a large donor of birthing kits. 

This year, Fullife is building a health outpost in Shurmo for NAPSA, the National Australian Pharmacy Student Association, which has 4,000 students studying over 17 campuses. They chose the Fullife Foundation over other charities as their official 2018 philanthropy partner.

Things are rolling along. And new opportunities still pop up. A discussion with Ian’s ophthalmologist led the Fullife Foundation to provide $5,000 to fund 100 cataract operations for women and children in Ethiopia over two months, as part of the Eyes for Africa campaign.

It occasionally gets a bit much for Ian, who is only too aware of the lack of hours in every day.

Ian is a husband, a father, a grandfather, a pharmacist, a businessman and a boss, and a foundation director. (Not to mention occasional trekker through Ethiopian climes.)

If you get to know Ian a bit better, you also learn he is a talented guitarist and pianist who supports his church’s worship every week.

But being busy is not a bad thing. As Ian attests, he is doing what he is supposed to be doing. And you are more than welcome to help the Fullife Foundation do what they do, and even more for that matter.

Women and children deserve the right to live, safely, without pain or suffering, with medical support and resources. You can help the Fullife Foundation ensure that keeps happening.