ASEC News

African sisters serve HIV/AIDS patients in Africa

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Cottolengo Centre for orphaned HIV positive children started in 1994, with the aim of taking care of vulnerable abandoned and Orphaned children, who are either infected or affected by HIV+ in Nairobi. The Centre is managed by the Cottolengo Sisters in Kenya.


Sisters in sub-Saharan Africa work tirelessly to prevent, treat and support those affected and infected with HIV/AIDS.

In Africa, Catholic sisters are at the forefront of addressing modern Africa’s challenges, and are strategically placed to be key players and problem solvers in Africa. Sisters engage in programs that alleviate the plight of their people by providing human, social and pastoral services. They work in schools, hospitals and dispensaries, dental clinics, rural outreach programs and healthcare facilities. Sisters also create programs to serve HIV/AIDS patients, unwed mothers, youth and orphans, to name just a few.

By conducting site visits to alumnae projects in Africa, ASEC staff are able to see some of these powerful projects in action. Many of these projects are serving individuals affected and infected with HIV/AIDS.

Save

Brighten your inbox with stories of lives impacted by education.

Get our emails »
Sr. Mary Wambui speaks to our staff about how the SLDI program has benefited her project. Behind her, a wall of pictures showing all of the children she is serving.

Sr. Mary Wambui speaks to our staff about how the SLDI program has benefited her project. Behind her, a wall of pictures showing all of the children she is serving.

Sr. Mary Wambui is doing incredible work in supporting those with HIV/AIDS in Kenya. She was mentored by a Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) program alumnae, Sr. Wilfrida Adero, who passed along valuable skills that Sr. Mary uses every day. Sr. Mary and her staff work with children and parents as part of a holistic program that addresses HIV/AIDS prevention and care, economic empowerment, nutrition, education and much more. They serve roughly 3000 vulnerable children and their families and engage local community members on the ground to help monitor the children's progress and de-stigmatize the disease. The program is funded by USAID and has been running for about 10 years.

Sr. Eunice Okobia, MMM, is the Matron in charge of the Medical Missionaries of Mary Clinic, ACO Hosing Estate, New Lugbe, Abuja, Nigeria. Cases of HIV/AIDS, cancer, STDs, Hepatitis, Typhoid and even Malaria are, unfortunately, the norm, where Sr. Eunice works. She leads educational activities at the clinic twice per week and include patient screenings and information on pre-natal care, baby delivery, HIV/AIDS and cancer awareness.

Sr. Eunice graduated from ASEC’s SLDI Finance Track in 2009 and is one of the beneficiaries of the SLDI Alumnae Signature Grant through which she received $25,000USD under a pilot program with the Catholic Sisters Initiative at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to purchase a Cervical Screening machine in June 2015. “ASEC is a life-saving organization”, she stated upon meeting ASEC staff.

7-year-old Emmanuel John Zachary, a member of the child support group at St. Francis Hospital epitomized the work of the sisters... “I know that I am [HIV] positive, I have learned to live positively, eat a balanced diet, take my drugs and work hard at school... my life is the hands of the sisters!!!”

7-year-old Emmanuel John Zachary, a member of the child support group at St. Francis Hospital epitomized the work of the sisters... “I know that I am [HIV] positive, I have learned to live positively, eat a balanced diet, take my drugs and work hard at school... my life is the hands of the sisters!!!”

The St. Francis Community Hospital in Kasarani, the outskirts of Nairobi is part of a whole range of projects run by the Little sisters of St. Francis in an area that is populated people from low income areas who live in the informal settlements around the hospital. On a site visit, the Conrad. N. Hilton Foundation team was taken through the hospital, a rehabilitation center for street children and listened to narrations of people living with HIV and AIDS who are under the care of the sisters. 7-year-old Emmanuel John Zachary, a member of the child support group at St. Francis Hospital epitomized the work of the sisters,

“I know that I am [HIV] positive, I have learned to live positively, eat a balanced diet, take my drugs, and work hard at school... my life is the hands of the sisters!!!”

Sr. Teresa Mulenga, TS, ASEC Programs Coordinator, Malawi, demonstrates how to prepare fresh juice.

Sr. Teresa Mulenga, TS, ASEC Programs Coordinator, Malawi, demonstrates how to prepare fresh juice.

Because of the Teresian Sisters in Malawi, those bound in the slavery of poverty through the HIV/AIDS pandemic are now empowered, and they can live a healthy life. The sisters are working with more than 200 HIV/AIDS positive individuals in five support groups throughout their community. They assist in the preparation of nutritious foods from local resources and teach those living with HIV and AIDS how to prepare it and live a healthier life. The Teresian sisters have noted that they are better able to work with the less privileged because of the knowledge they have gained from ASEC's SLDI program. The sisters see themselves as the channels through which ASEC indirectly reaches the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals in Africa. 

Because of society’s great need, the majority of Catholic sisters in Africa are put to task without proper training and skills, lacking the essential competencies and degrees that are prerequisites for effective management. The high cost of living and education coupled with  sisters working in low-paying or non-paying jobs in parishes, makes it extremely difficult for their communities to invest in sisters’ education. As a result, sisters lack the tools needed for rendering effective services. The Catholic schools and healthcare and social welfare programs now heavily staffed by the sisters in Africa can only survive the challenge of a changing global landscape if these sisters are provided with relevant skills through upgrading and ensuring that they are well educated to handle emerging needs.

Today and throughout the year, we honor those continuing to fight back against this global health epidemic.

Education helps more HIV/AIDS victims

We ask that you'll consider donating to our cause to educate the Catholic Sisters in Africa and share their stories to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS and the great work ASEC alumnae are doing to improve the lives of their communities.

I want to help »


Profiled in article
SLDI Mentee - Kenya  


Profiled in article
SLDI Alumna, Finance Track (2009) - Nigeria  

Sr. Teresa Mulenga, TS


Profiled in article
Programs Coordinator – Malawi  

Jennifer Mudge


Author
Assistant Director, Program Evaluation  

Amy Fedele


Editor
Web Content Manager  

Leave a comment »

Share this story:

Keep Reading...

Preventing HIV/AIDS in Nigeria through economic empowerment

Sr. Veronica, a humanitarian aid worker, has trained over 250 beneficiaries, providing opportunities through her economic empowerment program, as a means to prevent more cases of HIV/AIDS.

Small rural health centre has big impact in remote Zambia

Because of Sr. Constancia, an isolated community plagued with HIV cases now has access to basic healthcare.

Liberation from the burden of HIV/AIDS in Malawi

ASEC not only aids the marginalized, but has been a key component in helping the Teresian Sisters realize their congregation's charism of liberation.

Back to news »

"Very quietly you're impacting so many lives through this program."

"...and you're giving these wonderful, faithful women a chance to succeed, and in their own little corner of the world... feel empowered."

-Lisa Mazzarella, HESA Instructor & ASEC Donor

the gift of a good education »