Jesuit projects for orphans and vulnerable children in Africa
The Loyola Hope Centre in Lomé, Togo, a centre dedicated to the care of people with HIV and orphans and to HIV prevention, offers orphans educational and psychosocial support. At the start of the 2010-2011 academic year, 122 children received school uniforms and supplies and their school fees were covered.
The Service Yezu Mwiza (SYM)in Bujumbura, Burundi, is a project of the Jesuit Region of Rwanda-Burundi that is dedicated to the struggle against HIV/AIDS. This project supports nearly 4,000 people: 1,300 with HIV and more than 2,700 orphans and vulnerable children. Many of the children are HIV-infected. Support to the children consists of uniforms and school supplies like exercise books and pens; nutritional, psychosocial and medical support, as well as help to the children’s parents or guardians to be self-sufficient (income-generation).
Six community homes (orphanages) for 42 orphans run by the Jesuit parish of Fonte Boa in western Mozambique – there are eight or nine children in each home.
The Parlons-SIDA programme run by the Jesuit parish of Christ the King in Kisangani, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, supports 42 children in primary and secondary school, by paying all their tuition fees, and supplying them with uniforms and supplies like copybooks, schoolbags, pens and pencils; in 2011, less children were helped than the year before because less funds were available.
St Mary’s parish in Matero, a suburb of Lusaka, Zambia, runs a primary school called Ana Amasiye (‘orphans’ in Chewa, one of the Zambian languages) for nearly 400 orphans and vulnerable children, which grew out of an initiative taken years ago by a teacher who is one of the caregivers of the parish home-based care programme. The school also has a feeding programme, which ensures that the pupils get fed every day, six days a week.
In Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, there are two associations that were co-founded by Jesuits. The Association Vie, Sante et Solidarité (ASVS)and the Association Bénévoles de l’Espérance (ABE) accompany and support very poor and neglected people with HIV (mostly women raising families alone) and orphans and vulnerable children, helping the latter with school fees and psychosocial support.
The Jesuit Solidarity Fund in Uganda supports mostly households headed by widows, abandoned women or children. Many of the families supported are affected by disability and severe illnesses, including HIV/AIDS. Some were refugees or internally displaced people. The Fund supplies food vouchers, rent subsidies and money to pay medical bills and helps children and teenagers stay in school when possible. The Fund was set up by the late Fr Eduard Trudeau in 1992 to provide school fees for children and youth who otherwise, through poverty, would be unable to go to school. However the realisation that many children lacked the most basic needs led Fr Trudeau to give material aid as well as payment for school fees.
St Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary Schoolcaters to teenagers from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya, who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Since starting in 2004, St Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School had just short of 300 graduates at the end of 2011, with 59 new graduates in November. St Aloysius also has a graduate programme to sponsor its graduates in college. St Aloysius Gonzaga was co-founded in late 2003 by the local Christian Life Community (CLC) and Fr Terry Charlton SJ
For nearly 17 years, the Jesuit parish of St Joseph the Worker in Kangemi slum, Nairobi, Kenya, has run Upendo programme for children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. Upendo offers children, of pre-school age, educational, recreational, social and nutritional support, and later sponsors and follows them up in primary and secondary school. Around 200 children and teenagers are supported.