History

Our mission is to break the silence surrounding HIV/AIDS.

All-Africa Conference: Sister to Sister (AAC:SS) was formed in 2002 following a meeting between a group of African and North American theologians who were attending a conference at the Yale Divinity School. The conference was organized at the initiative of Yale Divinity, which sought and received the support of USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development).

Sr. Margaret Farley, RSM, a professor at Yale Divinity School and a conference host, asked the African women religious theologians what assistance they needed in their countries. They suggested a conference of women religious and leaders to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic.

A meeting with women religious in Africa followed later that year. Sr. Margaret was joined there by Sr. Eileen Hogan, RSM, a licensed social worker. During that meeting, the African Sisters themselves suggested creating the All-Africa Conference to empower women religious through education, training, and networking.

Participants concluded that breaking the silence and ending the fear and shame associated with HIV/AIDS were urgent priorities in reducing the incidence of new cases. They stressed that treatment and prevention are only possible when people are comfortable enough to ask for help.

They identified three key goals:

  • empower women religious through education to provide exceptional care-giving and counseling to those living with HIV/AIDS.
  • build trust for Sisters serving the HIV/AIDS community so that people are comfortable being treated without fear or shame.
  • grow a network of women religious who can provide comfort to one another as well as spiritual and professional support.

Sr. Margaret and Sr. Eileen spent the next 15 years meeting with African women religious, assisting them in hosting conferences and workshops to address their needs in training and education.

Currently, AAC:SS is administered by Sr. Rosemary Jeffries, RSM along with Sr. Mayon Sylvain, RSM and supported by many volunteers both lay and religious.

Where we serve today. Sister to Sister supports educational and pastoral programs in six sub-Saharan nations: Cameroon, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Our impact. Since our founding, over 6,000 Sisters have participated in AAC:SS programs. Over 500,000 individuals living with HIV/AIDS have benefited from our Sisters’ increased skill and knowledge.

Hear from our Sisters in the field.
Sign up for our newsletter.