ACM 2019A

What Does the ACM Do?

The African Children’s Mission at Redeemer funds community-based projects organized by local leaders to benefit infants and children orphaned or affected by HIV/AIDS in Malawi, Africa.  We partner with Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) (www.thegaia.org) which not only works with us to identify worthy projects but also provides oversight of the funding to ensure that monies are applied effectively and efficiently in Malawi.

The ACM is led by a group of volunteers who meet monthly on Saturday mornings in the Parish House to plan fundraising and educational efforts as well as to determine how funds will be used.  (Check the Outreach Calendar for the next meeting, and come and see.) We maintain personal contact with our brothers and sisters in Malawi through correspondence, self-funded visits by members of Redeemer and reports from GAIA. 
What is the ACM's Mission?

As Christ cared for and uplifted those most powerless, so, too, the Church of the Redeemer strives to care for those suffering from the devastating impact of AIDS in Africa.  The ACM has sought to:

  • Empower our congregation to improve the lives and hopes of children affected by HIV/AIDS through education, child care, home health care, community improvement, and new programs
  • Provide travel team members with a new perspective on life through observation of the positive attitudes prevalent among the Malawians.
  • Develop an interactive educational and spiritual relationship between these children and our parish community through education of our children, young people, and adults
  • Coordinate activities with other faith-based organizations when our mission coincides with their mission
  • Ensure that funds are applied effectively and efficiently to address the pressing needs of these children orphaned by AIDS.
How and Why Did ACM Begin?

ACM began on a snowy night in 2004.  Redeemer’s rector, the Rev. Gary Hall, called a meeting to talk about a new idea – a mission to Malawi, Africa, to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Thirty parishioners showed up, and the African Children’s Mission was born. 

Malawi was chosen because it is stable and well-governed but among the poorest countries affected by HIV/AIDS.  Many parents were dead, dying or unable to care for their children.  The huge number of orphans was taxing the family structure.

Furthermore, the former dean of Episcopal Divinity School, the Rev. William Rankin, had created an international organization, Global Aids Interfaith Alliance (GAIA), targeting HIV/AIDS in Malawi.  We decided to partner with GAIA, which provided on-the-ground support in Malawi.

Redeemer developed program selection criteria, focusing on children as the hope for the future and with a view to creating a sustainable solution over the longer term. 

What Projects Has ACM Supported?

In the early years ACM supported centers for orphan care, nursing scholarships, health care and economic empowerment programs for women, medications for clinic, goats as a sustainable economic activity, training of women to become home-based caregivers, and the purchase of bicycle ambulances for villages

Travel teams:  Beginning in 2004 travel teams from Redeemer visited the people and the programs ACM supported, taking medications, books and soccer balls, becoming familiar with the work of the staff and caregivers, and fulfilling a “ministry of presence.”  Team members learned the value of our assistance and witnessed positive results.  After each trip, the travel team shared their findings and experiences with the entire Redeemer congregation.

The travel teams also delivered much-needed medical supplies to clinics in Malawi.  Often these supplies were provided through MAP International, which researches the medicinal needs of target countries, assembles donated medicines into shipping containers, and provides customs clearance assistance.

Church School Education:  Based on the 2007 travel team visit and the UN Millennium Development Goals, a book called “Abwenzi Means Friends” for intermediate school children was written by the Rev. Peter Sipple and Carol Chew, and a church school curriculum based on the book was developed by Barbara Billings.  As part of their studies students engaged in role-playing to increase awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Malawi and to gain an understanding of the challenges of life in Malawi.

Villages Projects:  In 2010 instead of supporting individual projects, ACM adopted for a three-year period the village of Naluso, providing 1622 villagers in 420 households and 97 orphans with food, education, medicines and life-saving services.

Subsequently ACM adopted the village of Kukada. With 2,194 villagers in 542 households, the focus was on developing critical life skills, sexual reproductive health and HIV prevention.

Nursing Scholarships:  At the conclusion of GAIA’s villages program in 2016, ACM supported scholarships for nurses. In Malawi, the shortage of skilled nurses limits the basic healthcare available. ACM supported Kaboni Gondwe and other nursing students with tuition, room, and board, uniforms, shoes, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, watches, and small living stipends. Each graduating nurse pledges to serve in Malawi for 4 years.

What is ACM's Current Focus?

Changing face of HIV/AIDS:  While there have been incredible gains in reducing the burden of HIV in Malawi in the last 15 years, the face of the epidemic is changing.  The majority of new infections are occurring among youth, especially girls and young women ages 15-24.  Evidence shows that keeping girls in school is a proven protective factor against HIV infection and also against early marriage, pregnancy and other health risk behaviors, including age disparate relationships and transactional sex, both key drivers of HIV.

For 2019 ACM is committed to supporting education as a way to reduce the risk of HIV infection among very vulnerable rural youth and provide a transition from abject poverty to economic independence and self-sufficiency.  ACM is planning to provide funds for school uniforms and supplies (notebooks, pens, calculators) to serve 320 impoverished orphans living in the Mulanje District, a low-income remote rural area of Malawi    

ACM’s education initiative is part of GAIA’s Targeted Community Programs for People at Risk, aimed at preventing new HIV infections by helping youth stay in school.  From a global perspective, the aim is to maximize impact and drive progress toward the UNAIDS 90-90-90 HIV treatment targets:  90% of all people living with HIV learn their status, 90% of those aware are on treatment, and 90% of those on treatment achieve viral suppression (non-infectious).  It is expected that in doing so, by 2020 the epidemic will be tipped to its breaking point. 

What Are The Funding Sources?

ACM’s “Got Goat?” campaign spreads awareness of the project and raises money to purchase and deliver live goats for villagers in Malawi and provide instruction on their care.  Goats provide food security: milk, a constant source of fertilizer, and offspring retained by original recipients while mother goats are given to other villagers.

Malawi Table at Redeemer Bazaar offers the opportunity to purchase bowls, necklaces, art work and other items from Malawi as well as give a donation. Colorful photographic cards of Malawi announce your gift to the bicycle ambulance program, nursing scholarships, and/or elementary and high school educational opportunities in honor of special individuals on your list. 

Christmas Joyful Giving allows people to donate directly to ACM.

The Redeemer Outreach Grants Committee has given annual grants to ACM for the ministry in Malawi. 

ACM’s Have-A-Heart Campaign emphasizes that Valentine’s Day means more than candy and roses.  Gifts of love help children in Malawi whose lives have been affected by AIDS.   In 2019 we continue to target populations most at risk for HIV/AIDS, especially orphaned and impoverished youth.  This can be achieved by providing education and creating activities where trust can be established – trust, which leads to an openness to testing and treatment.

HIV Testing Photo cropped

Online giving to African Children's Mission

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How Can I Participate?

ACM welcomes the thoughts, suggestions, and active participation of all who share our sense of mission and want to make a difference in the lives of children in Malawi.  Or you can contribute through this website. 

For more information about the African Children’s Mission at Redeemer, contact Prill Bradshaw, Chair, or any ACM member.

ACM 2017

ACM Related Links

http://www.thegaia.org/
The Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) partners with religious organizations in resource-poor countries for community-based HIV prevention and care.

www.africaaction.org
Africa Action is the oldest organization in the U.S. working on African affairs. We are a national organization based in Washington, DC. Our work dates back to 1953, the year our oldest predecessor organization was founded in New York.

www.allafrica.com
AllAfrica Global Media is a multi-media content service provider, systems technology developer and the largest electronic distributor of African news and information worldwide. Registered in Mauritius, with offices in Johannesburg, Dakar, Lagos and Washington, D.C., AllAfrica is one of a family of companies that aggregate, produce and distribute news from across Africa to tens of millions of end users.

www.afsc.org
The American Friends Service Committee is a practical expression of the faith of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Committed to the principles of nonviolence and justice, it seeks in its work and witness to draw on the transforming power of love, human and divine.