The 2018 Vastenactie campaign project is being carried out by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who have been active in the Mbala region of Zambia since 1962 at the request of the government at that time and the Bishop of the Diocese of Mbala-Mpika. Their mission has been to help facilitate education and nursing services, including for mentally and/or physically disabled children. Their accomplishments include building a hospital in the region (in collaboration with the diocese) and running it for many years.
Since the HIV and AIDS pandemic, the sisters have shifted their focus in Zambia. The government assumed responsibility for the hospital and the sisters established the Households in Distress (HID) program in 1991, the goal of which is to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS through education and good health care, and by helping people provide for themselves. The sisters are the only large religious aid organization in the region dedicated to HIV and AIDS victims.
The HID program involves providing help to orphans and vulnerable children, organizing the education and care of disabled children and adults, poverty reduction programs and awareness programs.
Our campaign project focuses on 300 HIV-positive men and women who are widows/widowers or single/foster parents with a meagre income and an average of six to eight persons in their household.
The goal of this project is to increase the independence of these individuals (100 per year for three years) by training them in entrepreneurship and ways to support themselves. Through the project, for example, they learn how to start and expand their own business, receive starting capital or a starter’s package for establishing a small farm.
After three years, the program participants have enough income to care properly for their family. This project will help a total of 15,700 people in the Mbala region of Zambia, 12,600 of them indirectly.