Over 13,000 Reached as Catholic Nuns’ HIV/AIDS Project in Kenya Marks 20th Anniversary

Bishop Oseso is then set to bless buildings at ASN Upendo Village, including the facility’s recently constructed income generating water bottling facility. 

“The Bishop will also commission our solar plant. Our solar facility is our response to the global warming menace. It is our main source of energy,” Sr. Muia told ACI Africa.

ASN Upendo Village started serving people living with HIV in 2003. At the premise, four ASN members and a staff of over 30 members, including hospital workers and community volunteers run educational, nutritional, health and economic empowerment programmes that target people infected with or affected by HIV.

There is an education programme for vulnerable children, a nutrition programme, a grandmothers’ project for elderly women who take care of orphaned children and a Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS (PMTCT) for HIV positive mothers aimed at ensuring they do not infect their children during breastfeeding.

Records that ACI Africa saw in 2020 indicated that the project had impacted 13,501 individuals, including HIV infected individuals and people close to them. These included 2,387 women, 795 men and 367 children who had been born with the virus. The outreach programme had also helped 6,892 orphan vulnerable children whose parents died from AIDS.

In the January 24 interview with ACI Africa, however, Sr. Muia clarified that those reached by the project are over 14,000 as the facility marks two decades of existence.

The project has also funded hundreds of income-generating projects including chicken and goat rearing, as well as farming for its beneficiaries. Dozens of households in the project have also been given beehives to practice bee-farming in areas around Naivasha while others have been trained in crafts to make mats, bags and other artistry for sale. 

ASN Upendo Village is a community of support groups, including four groups for HIV positive men and women, two support groups for grandmothers taking care of children whose parents succumbed to AIDS, one group for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS (PMTCT), one group for professionals and one group for discordant couples. 

Finally, there are two support groups for HIV positive teenagers and children.

“As HIV positive teenagers discover themselves and try to forge relationships with uninfected people, they face rejection and many other challenges. Actually, without support, this is a group that is most likely to go into depression,” Sr. Muia observed in the February 2020 interview with ACI Africa.

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