Aids Ministries Expand in Africa
The efforts of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) to educate for AIDS prevention as well as minister effectively to orphans and sufferers of the disease continues to increase in scope. Until recently, most AIDS prevention education has been focused on women and children. NCM and Helping Hands Africa (HHA) has launched a new ministry in South Africa to take action against the AIDS pandemic by educating and transforming the male understanding of relationships and sexuality. This is essential in a culture where male authority is considered absolute and women may not be able to initiate prevention behaviors. In addition, studies have reported that South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of HIV/AIDS. "Men's Clubs" are the result of a task force of South African men, including pastors and district superintendents, seeking to raise awareness of healthy and biblical masculinity and sexuality. This ministry organizes and promotes forums in churches where men are able to discuss such issues. The clubs will also encourage and equip men to lead their communities in evaluating conceptions of masculinity, and breaking the cycle of harmful practices by becoming Christlike role models for young boys. Trino Jara, former coordinator for NCM and HHA, stated, "In 2009, we plan to expand this ministry to countries like Swaziland, which has a high rate of HIV, and to Lesotho. We pray that the Men's Clubs will not only have a lasting impact on the AIDS pandemic, but will also build stronger Christian households and communities." In Kenya, a group of 20 elderly women formed a group called "Kinda-e-Teko," or "Determination Pays" in 2006 with assistance from NCM. The women, most of them widows, now number 36 and have resolved to provide more than 200 AIDS orphans with food and educational materials. They hope to double that number in the coming year. A poultry-raising project that began with each group member contributing three chickens is the main source of income for the widows of Kinda-e-Teko and the orphans they help. In order to support more children, the group hopes to expand to dairy farming with the assistance of microfinance loans.