Justin Miller, Co-Founder and CEO, and Melanie Passons, Donor Engagement Manager, with CARE for AIDS, who highlight the story of starting the organization, their efforts to empower people to live a life beyond AIDS, and their work in communities and churches across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Their holistic approach to care includes one-on-one counseling, group therapy, medical guidance, economic empowerment seminars, savings groups, discipleship, and more. During the interview, Miller and Passons also share success stories and how the community can participate and help.
Background on the founding of CARE for AIDS: In 2007, three men (two Kenyans and Justin) who grew up in drastically different contexts found their way to each other through a common concern for the marginalized. They believed that the church could be more than a house of worship but also a haven for medical care, life counseling, and HIV support. They understood that HIV does not have to be the end of life but can be a beautiful opportunity for physical restoration and spiritual growth in Christ.
Some information on HIV/AIDS: Globally in 2019, there were 1.7 million new infections and 690,000 AIDS-related deaths. 59% of those new infections and 300,000 of those total deaths were in Sub-Saharan Africa, where we work. AIDS is still a disease of epic proportions, and its victims are often the most economically poor and marginalized in society.
Basic CARE for AIDS program model: CARE for AIDS operates centers in 70 communities across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Each center is located within a local church and has two local CFA counselors who guide 80 HIV+ clients through a nine-month program. Throughout the nine months we work to empower clients in five main areas: spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and economically. Our program is a holistic approach to care that includes one-on-one counseling, group therapy, medical guidance, economic empowerment seminars, savings groups, discipleship, and more. (Though this model looks different in light of COVID.)
Vision: After 12 years of operation, we have seen 18,000+ clients graduate from our program, 61,000+ orphans prevented, and more than 4,600 clients make first-time faith decisions. Our goal is to empower 100,000 people to live a life beyond AIDS by the end of 2027.
Ways to get involved:
- Beyond Blood: Hope and Humanity in the Forgotten Fight Against AIDS: Released in October 2019, Beyond Blood is the origin story of CARE for AIDS, written by the organization’s 3 Founders. Purchase a copy and be inspired!
- Impact Trips: Join us next year on an Impact Trip to East Africa where you will have an opportunity to meet and fellowship with those who are most directly impacted by our program. A week of meeting CARE for AIDS staff, visiting clients in their homes, worshiping together with them in church, and sharing meals together provides an opportunity to take part in the work of CARE for AIDS first-hand. (All of this assuming we will be able to travel again next year due to COVID)