The international site of the Daughters of Charity presents stories of their work in Cnetral Africa. The 6th Inter-Provincial Meeting of the Councils of Eight Provinces of Africa and Madagascar was held from July 8th-18th in the province of Central Africa, Rwanda. At the meeting Mother Evelyne Franc (Superioress General ), Fr.Patrick Griffin (Director General) Sr. Pia Humbel, (Econome general), Sr. Neghesti Michael (General Councillor), the Visitatrixes, Councillors, Provincial Directors and Treasurers prayed, reflected and discussed ideas together towards achieving effective and efficient collaboration based on shared vision and common action.
The theme of the meeting was ‘Transformed by the Holy Spirit, to be Witness of Hope and Prophesy in Africa and Madagascar.’ To broaden the theme towards achieving the objectives the following topics were presented:
- ‘The Company of the Future’
- “The Birth of the Church: the Gift of the Holy Spirit”
- Administration of the goods of ‘the company’
- Management in a context of a society sapped by corruption and confronted with financial dependence – ‘Challenges for the future of African Provinces’
- New forms of poverty in Africa, e.g. human trafficking
- Consecrated life in Africa: its hopes and its challenges
- The Provincial Council and its service of Animation
- The formation of Sister Servants
- The Second African Synod and its significance
- Presentation on Service DREAM in Africa
- Each Province made a presentation on the Fourth Appeal and the Fourth Response of the Inter-Assembly Document.
The site alos offer background of their work in Kenya
Sisters in Kiio and our Ministries
Kiio is situated in the North Eastern part of Kenya towards a town called Mwingi (Kitui Diocese) and this continues on into Garissa. Here we administer a small Polytechnic with the help of eight staff and have 30 – 40 young women and men. They all learn a trade and sit Government Exams where they all do well and last year’s students were all employed. The course for girls really equips them to be dressmakers, cooks, receptionists etc. The boys learn carpentry, mechanics and masonry. These skills equip them to enter the building trade in their villages, towns and cities.
All of them have difficulty with English so they have additional classes to build their confidence. They also do Book Keeping and Computer classes to enable them get jobs. We have introduced a period of ‘Work Experience’ and this we hope will enhance their skills in obtaining employment at the end of their two year training. They all pay a small fee and the Centre provides equipment, food and accommodation. We have to subsidize the running costs as fees are too small to cover the daily running costs.
During their two years with us they have classes every week on various Health Related Issues. This includes dramas prepared by themselves, quizzes in teams to asses their knowledge and it is also a fun way of learning and motivates them well.
HIV/AIDS Outreach Programme
The Catholic Dioceses of Kitui set up their own Programme for the Diocese because HIV/AIDS became a crisis in the early nineties. Many in these early years died from AIDS as people did not know about treatment. Also those who were infected had to buy the anti-retroviral drugs as they were not free, many died as they could not afford them.
The first and fourth weeks of each month we have Support Groups in Mwingi for men and women living with HIV. The group sizes average from 55 – 150 clients and we have a special group for our HIV Positive Children who are 396 in number. The second and third weeks of each month we travel to many different villages from one to three hours away. We economize fuel expenses and cover two villages each day. A total of 26 villages are covered monthly. One nurse(there are two nurses on the team) goes to each place and we begin with prayers and singing. Every month a different Health Issue is covered. Those who are sick are given treatment or referred. We usually take those for referral to the hospital as transport is expensive.
Our goal for 2011 is to increase ‘Income Generating Activities’ (IGA’S) for our clients. Many of our clients have no permanent work and this will enable them to support themselves and their families. IGA’S will include Poultry Keeping, Animal Husbandry, and Bee Keeping, Tree Planting, Aloe Vera Soap Making and Clean Water Storing Containers. This will enable our groups to become self – reliant in the future. Those who receive chickens or goats will give some of them to HIV Positive Children and they in turn will do the same until every child has chickens and goats.
All the Sisters are involved in our Parishes at the week-ends as we have 16 outstations. The Sisters will take communion for service in the far flung stations (small missions) and take part in the service and encourage the people. Our reflections are interpreted by an interpreter for us and the people love to see us coming as many are in the early stages of their faith development. Prior to each service we would give some input for the Children’s Sunday Catechism groups. Some Sisters attend ‘Small Christian Communities’ for prayer and give people some idea on Gospel Sharing relating the message to their own lives.
We are all also involved with Youth Groups and Local Women’s Groups for their Development. These are also social gatherings for the women and they enjoy each others company in a relaxed atmosphere. It gives them a welcome break from their daily routines and their husbands support and encourage them to attend.
Finally we are most grateful for the interest shown by many people in relation to our mission and various ministries among the poor. We deeply appreciate all the support given by friends, families and organizations that enable us to reach these vulnerable people in this semi-arid area that is now experiencing severe drought. May the good Lord bless each of you daily and keep you in his loving care.
Daughters of Charity Kiio