CARE FOR AIDS EXISTS TO EMPOWER PEOPLE TO LIVE A LIFE BEYOND AIDS.
"We have restated our purpose at CARE for AIDS. We exist to empower people to live a life beyond AIDS - the life we envision for our clients is a physical life, but we also want people to be restored emotionally, socially, economically, and, most importantly, we want people to experience an eternal life beyond AIDS."
Justin Miller, co-founder and CEO
"ITS BEEN TEN YEARS, AND I AM THANKFUL FOR LIFE. I KNOW I WILL CONTINUE LIVING."
-SARAH, CARE FOR AIDS GRADUATE
CARE for AIDS launched ten years ago, and we are in awe of the generosity and commitment of our supporters and partners. In 2017, we celebrated our 10th birthday as well as the graduation of our 10,000th client.
In the past ten years, CARE for AIDS has opened 50 centers, celebrated with 10,053 graduates, and rejoiced as 2,646 clients made first-time faith decisions in the course of the CARE for AIDS program. One of the most exciting numbers from the past ten years, though, is the number of dependent children represented by our clients. Our 10,053 graduates represent 32,655 children who are no longer at risk of being orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis.
When we first met Sarah, she was bedridden and alone. Her husband had died of HIV/AIDS, and she had been rejected by her neighbors and community. She joined the first class of CARE for AIDS clients in 2008. Now, nearly ten years later, we checked in on her to see how life is going. Hear Sarah's update below:
CARE FOR AIDS PROGRAM MODEL
Each CARE for AIDS center operates within an African church, which is local, cost effective, and discreet for our clients. The center has two local Kenyan or Tanzanian staff workers who guide 80 clients through a nine-month process. We have adopted a collaborative model that delivers better care for a reduced cost by partnering with hospitals, other NGOs, and corporations to help provide medication, food, Bibles, education, and training.
SPIRITUALLY: The Gospel is shared early and often with each of the clients in the program.
PHYSICALLY: The counselor reviews proper drug adherence, hygiene, and nutrition with the client and provides a supplemental weekly food portion.
EMOTIONALLY: Through one-on-one counseling and home visits, counselors address the issue of self-stigma throughout the program leading each client toward a healthy expression of dignity and self-worth.
SOCIALLY: Once clients enter the program, they have the opportunity to see they are not alone. By participating in group counseling and forming peer support groups, our clients will have a community of friends to encourage and assist them after the program has ended.
ECONOMICALLY: Twice a month, clients attend a group seminar. Seminar topics vary from financial literacy to practical skills like soap-making and beadwork.
WHERE WE WORK
As CARE for AIDS continues to grow, we are constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve our programs. This year we are launching a pilot project that will allow us to expand our services to a larger population. Below is a brief overview of our main pilot project for 2018.
Each CARE for AIDS center will operate for 8-10 years in a community. In 2018, we are piloting the concept of splitting this program lifespan into four distinct program phases. Each phase will have specific goals and timelines.
Phase 1: Outreach
During phase one, CARE for AIDS staff will design and operate community-based sensitization programs including HIV testing services. This phase will double as a recruitment mechanism as well as an opportunity to educate the general community and reduce HIV-related stigma.
Phase 2: Orphan Prevention
Phase two is a version of the current model for clients who are most vulnerable and at risk of death due to opportunistic infection.
Phase 3: Open Recruitment
Phase three is a version of the current model open to any HIV+ client regardless of their physical health status.
Phase 4: Ongoing Sustainability
Phase four is an opportunity to invest further in our partner church and former clients. This phase also allows us to create greater sustainability in communities after CARE for AIDS exits.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE A LIFE BEYOND AIDS?
HIV is not simply a disease of the body. In East Africa, being HIV+ can mean being separated from your family, cut off from community, and even rejected from the church. To live a life beyond AIDS may seem an impossible dream for many of our clients before they enter the program. As Michael Mwaura puts it, "our life was in darkness...total darkness".
Hear Michael tell his family's story and learn what a life beyond AIDS looks like for the Mwauras:
Jacob Mwangangi, Kiambiu Center (SC)
Ann Wanjeri , Kiambiu Center (HC)
David Tirike, Langata Kijiji Center (SC)
Mercy Gacheri, Langata Kijiji Center (HC)
Dominic Muchir, Tassia Center (SC)
Ruth Kamau, Tassia Center (HC)
Casey Markham, Impact Trip Coordinator
Aaron Markham, Spiritual Development Coordinator
Lydiah Korir, National Health Coordinator
Chris Okello, Regional Health Coordinator
Fred Maina, HR Assistant
John Flores, Chief Development Officer
(SC) Spiritual Counselor
(HC) Health Counselor
Gideon Mutuku, Mtongwe Center (SC)
Elena Goho, Mtongwe Center (HC)
Matthew Nandi Atieno, Likoni Center (SC)
Gladys Mati, Likoni Center (HC)
Kingsley Mwakinyali, Mawenzi Center (SC)
Christina Mayunga, Mawenzi Center (HC)
Emmanuel Kimati, Chanika Center (SC)
Happiness Gakwaya, Chanika Center (HC)
Shadrack Julius, Tandale Center (SC)
Judith Komba, Tandale Center (HC)
Joan Francis, Makuburi Center (SC)
Boaz Mwasota, Makuburi Center (HC)
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Randy Gravitt, Board Chairman, CEO, InteGREAT Leadership
Wayne Hoover, Vice-Chairman, VP Field Operations, West Region, Chick-fil-A
Nick Gordon, Treasurer, Consultant, BCG
Kylie White, Secretary, Blogger and Orphan Advocate
Donald Thompson, Founder and CEO, Maxwell Group
Stan Reiff, Partner, National Consulting Practice Leader, Capin Crouse
Ryan Grant, VP and Managing Director, Parker Executive Search
Bobby Reagan, CEO, Reagan Consulting
Michelle Slatton, Designer
Shane Duffey, Lead Pastor, NewSpring Church
Justin Miller, Co-Founder and CEO, CARE for AIDS