Did you know there are 33.3 million people currently infected with HIV?
Did you know that 2.5 million of those people are children?
Did you know that the poorest parts of the world are disproportionately plagued by this devastating – but preventable – disease?
In recognition of World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1 each year, we’d like to credit the great work our Cross Catholic partners have been doing to help AIDS victims and their families.
No region has been hit harder by the AIDS crisis than sub-Saharan Africa. Whenever we go to Africa, we inevitably have an encounter with the consequences of AIDS. One of our African partners, the Catholic Diocese of Ndola, Zambia, reaches out to poor villages by visiting HIV/AIDS patients in their homes, providing food, baby formula, medicine, and health costs, and most of all just loving them. The ministry is empowering the sick to live productive lives, to raise their own children, and to prevent the spread of the virus to their loved ones.
Further south, in the country of Mozambique, we have partnered with a group of devout Catholic women who are working to improve the lives of AIDS orphans. The Reencontro project provides food, education, health care, housing, vocational training, counseling, and even legal help for children who have been forced to fend for themselves. The younger generation has been robbed of its parents by the AIDS pandemic, and the problem is so widespread that it can’t be contained by traditional social safety nets. It is up to us to bring hope to children who have nowhere else to turn.
We are so thankful for Catholic men and women who have stepped out of their comfort zone to tend to the needs of AIDS victims and their families in the poorest regions of the world.