I am Sister Gloria Tenthani, a Sister Of Charity Of Ottawa, Coordinator of AACSS in Malawi. I would like to share on AACSS, our activities and impact on sisters, communities, and society as a whole.
The mission of AACSS is to bring together African women religious throughout the sub-Sahara so that they may more effectively address the crisis of HIV and AIDS by listening, sharing, learning and empowering one another to collaborate in strategies for prevention and care in response to the pandemic. We have recognised that HIV and AIDS challenge us to remain faithful to our commitment, …to act justly as we walk humbly with God and with each other (Micah 6: 8).
The AACSS Malawi Committee is building the capacity of Sisters to address the HIV and AIDS pandemic by offering HIV and AIDS education and awareness programmes, workshops, sessions to different groups including Novices, Formators, Superiors and Junior Sisters. The workshops/sessions are about breaking the silence about HIV and AIDS, curbing stigma and all forms of discrimination, promoting HIV testing, and encouraging the congregations to train sisters in counselling.
Achievement and Impact
To address these issues properly, an HIV-AIDS Policy was developed for all the Women Religious congregations. Since sisters are working in different fields, they engage themselves in counselling co-workers and advising them to go for HIV testing. Sisters encourage and support one another in our communities and families. Sisters share that when people are infected and infected they need care love, support so that stigma and discrimination should not be experienced. “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10: 10b
The AACSS Committee has been organizing workshops and sessions and sisters come from different congregations. Sisters are encouraged to be open to one another for support though it demands confidentiality. Sisters receive support and counselling sessions from a sister of another congregation which is encouraging. An experience was shared by one of the sisters, whereby, she lost a sister and her nieces and nephews were taken to the convent. The affected sister got confused; the experience paralyzed her. That was the time she needed support and love. Her dream became a reality. She received maximum support, love, care, and shelter for the children from the sisters and Major Superior – this cured her. Sisters are embraced with love and compassion by community members and relieved from bearing the pain alone. We praise God.