Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Educate the Youth in the Democratic Republic of Congo on HIV/AIDS

Please know how grateful I am for all that you continue to do for the Missionaries of Africa and those we serve in cities, town, villages and even the most remote communities across the African continent. The kindness you extend allows us to reach out to those who are suffering and in need. As I have shared with you before, your generosity is what makes our work possible. Because of you, there is hope — and for that reason, I am writing to you once again.


“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile . . . or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Leo Buscaglia, author

Please know how grateful I am for all that you continue to do for the Missionaries of Africa and those we serve in cities, town, villages and even the most remote communities across the African continent. The kindness you extend allows us to reach out to those who are suffering and in need. As I have shared with you before, your generosity is what makes our work possible. Because of you, there is hope — and for that reason, I am writing to you once again.

Some of the young people at Fr. Peter’s mission in Mahagi, DRC

Not long ago, I received a letter from one of our missionaries, Fr. Peter Ekutt, who is living and working in Mahagi — a town on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Central Africa. There, Fr. Peter works with young people who are struggling to live healthy, productive lives in the midst of a culture where the average life expectancy is less than 60 years of age.

“Our work here is meant to inform and educate the youth on the prevailing dangers of diseases such as HIV/AIDS that claim so many young lives here,” Fr. Peter writes. “People here still can’t talk about HIV. Some think that it does not really exist, while others just believe it is witchcraft. Young people that are sick hide in their homes and die in silence because nobody wants to be identified as a sick person. Some even try to cross the border into Uganda (our neighboring country) to seek treatment because they are ashamed or afraid of what their friends will think if they know they are sick.”

“Talking about this in schools, I discovered that children and youth are afraid to speak up even when they are victims,” Fr. Peter continues. “Although there is a high rate of transmission among young people, they are still naive about HIV/AIDS. They are becoming infected every day. Some of the young people even come to our Youth Center to share about it secretly.”

Members of the HIV Information Sessions Planning Committee

“Our hope at the mission is to educate as many young people as we possibly can. Right now, we have youth coming from churches, high schools and universities. We have a big hall that seats about 600 students.

They come in the morning, afternoon and in the evening. We also have a library to help students improve their studies. During the weekends we have films, videos and conferences. We want to give our youth the spiritual, intellectual and social formation they need for the future. Obviously, there are expenses involved with this. We are hoping that you will help us provide these youth with the guidance that not only could help them turn their lives around — but save them as well.”

Young people reading the Information Posters

As life expectancy rates continue to decline in many places around the world — including here in the U.S. — it is obvious that many young people need our help. In your own community, perhaps you could volunteer (through a local non-profit organization) to become a mentor to a young person who is without a healthy, adult role model. You could also become involved as a resource person for your church’s youth program. As I shared with you at the beginning of this letter, even the smallest act of caring has the potential to turn a life around!

I am also hoping that you will send a donation to help the young people in Fr. Peter’s mission in Mahagi get the guidance and education they need to live healthy lives. While our goal is to raise at least $36,000 for this and our other projects throughout Africa, any donation you send will help young people — such as those Fr. Peter wrote about — know that they are not alone in their struggle. God bless you for your continued caring.

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development