Helping African AIDS Orphans
Work has begun on a primary school in Uganda as part of the Order’s partnership with the Apostles of Jesus outreach program to provide care and shelter for African children who are orphaned because of AIDS.
Former Pennsylvania State Chaplain and now Director of Mission Promotion for the Apostles of Jesus, Father Paul O. Gaggawala, A.J., traveled to the site in Uganda for the ground breaking on the new school. A similar construction project is also slated to begin soon in Kenya.
Through this program, the Order is cooperating with the Apostles of Jesus, the first community of missionary priests and brothers founded in Africa in 1968. The partnership will expand existing services for orphaned children in Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda a boarding school for children is planned for construction.
Most of the children became orphans when AIDS affected their families, but in Uganda, some families were split by the recent civil war, according to Father Gaggawala.
Additionally, of the estimated 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths worldwide in 2009, more than 7 in 10 — a total of 1.3 million — occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the United Nations . Those estimates show that there are now nearly 15 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the AIDS crisis.
Announcing the program at the 129th Supreme Convention in Denver, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson explained that, in pursuing this program, the Knights will be continuing the mission of Venerable Michael McGivney, who founded the Order to help the widows and orphans of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn. and beyond.