African Jesuit AIDS Network, (AJAN) undertook a 5-day AHAPPY training of trainers (AHAPPY TOT) for the Novices, in the Noviciat-Notre Dame de la Compagnie de Jésus at Kinkeso/Inkisi- located in the Catholic Diocese of Kisantu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the 2nd to 6th of August 2023.
The training that was attended by 10 novices, who are second year novices, offered a unique opportunity to deepen their knowledge of AJAN, participate in its mission and become active collaborators in this mission by becoming formators themselves. Through this AHAPPY training the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) continues with its role of working to help Jesuits throughout Africa find a way to respond to HIV and AIDS. Which is an extension of the work of the apostolate of the Society of Jesus in Africa on deep and thorough formation for all Jesuits working in Africa and Madagascar.
With the understanding that education in Jesuit schools seeks to transform how youth look at themselves and other human beings, at social systems and societal structures, at the global community of humankind and the whole of natural creation. The AHAPPY program is based on the Ignatian principle of “cura personalis”, which advocates true love and solicitude. Its fundamental values are life, human dignity, the option for the most deprived, social justice, the Magis (search for excellence) and collaboration.
The AHAPPY program is structured in 5 interconnected modules, starting with the awareness of oneself and the world around us, with the aim of enabling the participants to better understand themselves. This approach was aimed at strengthening the capacity to approach the world in the context of HIV and AIDS and to act appropriately. The program also encourages the acquisition of skills by participants to inform those around them and collaborate effectively in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
This will see the Novices accompany the young people and help them to understand themselves as God’s creation in their own journeys toward greater knowledge, freedom and love. This is an essential part of the new evangelization to which the Church calls us. The training which also focuses on promotion of justice as an essential element in Jesuit education and work in the fight against AIDS. It is a mission rooted in the belief that the vulnerable in the society this include those infected and affected by HIV need to live in a World and a community of justice, love and peace.
In doing this then those at the forefront in the fight against AIDS need to be empowered through educations that focuses on conscience and compassion, so as to have men and women who are ready to embrace and promote all that is fully human, who are committed to working for the freedom and dignity of all peoples, and who are willing to do so in cooperation with others equally dedicated to the reform of society and its structures.
Some of the Novices that participated in the training got to share with us their experiences:
MUHINDO Mastaki Bienfait, Jesuit Novice said,
“I was touched by what we learnt on the mission that AJAN pursues that of helping the Jesuits and their collaborators to build a healthy society and the appeal to all of us Jesuits in formation and the youth to live a balanced life; intellectually, spiritual and also physical.”
KABUNDI Kitwadi Vital, Jesuit Novice said,
“The AHAPPY session on integral development of the young people given to us by the AJAN team enabled me to know that before helping the young people of this world I have to know myself first and not stray away from the lord, as Fr. Mbala always says, Well-ordered Charity begins first with God, afterwards it extends on itself and towards others. You have first to know how to define your relationship with God and then know yourself, only this way can we dispose of ourselves to help others this is the lesson we carry home from Mr. Dieu Merci and Ms. Pascalia Sergon.”
At the end of the training, the novices who participated were awarded with certificates, the AHAPPY manual as well as other relevant documents for their future activities. The participants had an Ignatian experience that goes beyond a purely intellectual grasp where the whole person’s mind, heart and will enters the learning experience and the person trained is able to take the mission wholeheartedly. This initiative marks an important step in sensitizing and preparing young novices to become agents of change and active promoters of the integral development of young people in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
We thank you for your continued commitment and support to AJAN’s mission.
By, Fernando Nimbu,SJ
Regent at AJAN