The Tragic Reality
Ten years ago, those infected with HIV faced a grim existence. With little
understanding of the disease - and little medical help to treat its symptoms -
men, women and children with AIDS had little reason to hope. Theirs was a future
filled with darkness . . . a darkness that held little more than despair and --
ultimately -- death.
According to the World Health Organization, of the 34.3 million people in the
world who have AIDS -- nearly 24.5 million of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.
3.8 million of them are children under the age of 15.
According to the new report "Children on the Brink 2002" by USAID, UNAIDS and
UNICEF, the number of AIDS orphans will increase to a staggering 25 million by
But because of generous individuals like yourself - men and women who are
contributing their time and financial support - hope is one the horizon! There
are now more than 20 specific HIV medicines that are helping to preserve the
immune systems of those infected with HIV for many years. And while not a cure,
these medications are giving AIDS victims a chance to live normal, more
The Missionaries of Africa are committed to helping those suffering with
diseases such as AIDS gain access to the life-changing medications they
desperately need! With your continued financial support - our missionaries can
reach out to provide medical and pastoral care for those who long for a brighter
future . . . for those who have suffered too long!
Orphaned by AIDS ...
Once upon a time in Africa there was no such a thing as an orphan. In fact,
there is really no word for "orphan" in African languages, to define an orphan
one has to resort to circumlocutions: a child without a mother and father. Even
if both mother and father died being an orphan in our sense was all but
inconceivable because there was always an older brother or sister, uncle or
aunt, or some other relative no matter how distant who would be willing to take
in such children.
AIDS has changed all of that, now there truly are orphans, children who have
no close or distant relative to take them in. Many of them depend on the only
family that they know, the priests and religious of the Church who are striving
to straining point to take them in and care for them. AIDS is not just a cruel
disease, but a cause of possibly permanent social disruption, the likes of
which, Africa has never known.
Orphanages were once unknown in Africa and missionaries used to build schools
for children, they are now building or converting schools into orphanages. Visit
one of these orphanages and see how these tiny children cling to you, it breaks
Youth Alive Movement
For more than a thousand years, sexual activity in African
culture has often been seen as a sign of virility and
strength. Many believe that this is one of the key reasons
why the HIV - the virus that causes AIDS - has claimed
so many adults, teens and even children.
As Catholic missionaries,
our priests, brothers and sisters are teaching African
young people that maintaining abstinence while single
and remaining faithful to their spouse during marriage
are not only Gospel values, but values that can save
them from the horrible suffering and death that is caused
by AIDS. The Youth Alive Movement - which is
being funded in part by the Missionaries of Africa -
is reaching out to young men and women in Uganda, Tanzania,
Burkina Faso and Gabon . . . sharing with them the Good
News that the battle against AIDS can be won. That their
future can be filled with life!
AIDS Widows and Orphans Family Support
The AIDS crisis is devastating Africa! Currently there
are more than 13,000,000 children
living in Africa who have lost one or both parents to
the disease. It is creating an entire generation of orphans.
The Missionaries of Africa are currently supporting efforts
such as the AIDS Widows and Orphans Family Support
(started in Uganda in 2002) to provide children such as
Annet (age 13) with the help they desperately need in
caring for their orphaned brothers and sisters. AWOFS
also provides medicine and medical care to adults and
children suffering the slow death of AIDS.
Through the financial support we receive from our friends
and benefactors, the Missionaries of Africa are able
to provide food, clothing, clean water, medicine, medical
care and educational materials as well as pastoral care
and counseling to those whose lives are being destroyed
by this terrible disease.
Families United to Fight AIDS
One of the primary goals of the Missionaries of Africa
is to help the African people help themselves and
one another break free from the depths of poverty
and despair. That's why we began supporting Families
United to Fight AIDS more than 10 years ago!
Burundi (in East Africa)
is one of the countries hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic.
Most of those living in Burundi are now teenagers -
the majority of the adult population having died from
the disease. Families United to Fight AIDS helps
orphaned children connect with "intact" or host
families to provide children with shelter, education,
food, socialization as well as eventually finding jobs
and learning to live independently.