The Jesuit AOR Province covers Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Kenya is home to AJAN House, the coordinating hub of the AJAN network located in Kangemi, a poor suburb of Nairobi.
In Nairobi, Jesuits have been instrumental in founding innovative projects for AIDS-affected children and teenagers. These projects have grown rapidly in size and well-deserved reputation: St Aloysius Gonzaga secondary school, founded by the local Christian Life Community (CLC) and by Fr Terry Charlton SJ in Kibera; Nyumbani, a home for HIV-positive orphans founded by the late Fr Angelo d’Agostino SJ, which has since expanded into community care; and Upendo, a programme for children at risk of abuse or neglect founded by the Jesuit parish in Kangemi. The parish in Kangemi also runs a well-established programme for people with HIV called Uzima.
AOR Province programmes dedicated to research, advocacy and communications tackle the pandemic too. Radio Kwizera, a radio station belonging to the AOR Province that is based in western Tanzania, airs weekly programmes about HIV and AIDS.
The Nairobi-based social centre, Hakimani, has launched a youth programme in partnership with AJAN that focuses on intellectual and psychological formation rather than ‘reproducing’ the usual warnings against HIV. The Hakimani-AJAN project is called ‘Think positive alternatives exist’ and addresses a key question: to what extent are new cases of HIV a result of people’s inability to connect messages conveyed in rigorous preventive campaigns to the real risks of contracting the virus?
In Uganda, the Jesuit Solidarity Fund, a programme started by a Canadian Jesuit missionary in the early 90s, reaches out to many single mothers and orphans who are affected by AIDS. Active in Kampala and Gulu, the Fund provides basic but vital support for mothers to survive, to keep their families together and to send their children to school.
In Ethiopia, the Jesuit university chaplain in Addis Ababa organises HIV prevention activities for young people and accompanies spiritually people with HIV who want to reach out to others in their same situation.