Monday, December 31, 2012

Students at Urbana Assemble 32,000 AIDS Caregiver Kits Ready for African Countries

ST. LOUIS — An emotionally charged evening at Urbana 12 that included the appearance of Shortie Khumalo, an AIDS victim caregiver from Swaziland, concluded with students in attendance assembling 32,000 caregiver kits ready to be shipped to Africa in about two hours.

The 16,000 youth at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's triennial student missions conference were given a chance Saturday evening to write a short letter of encouragement to a caregiver before joining others on the Edwards Jones Dome floor. Once there, students filled a World Vision bag with items such as latex gloves, soap, and water purifying tablets.
"We wanted to provide the opportunity for the Urbana delegates to make a tangible effort that would shift their perspective to identifying with those in the margins of our world," said Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Urbana's program director. Toyama-Szeto called the event "historic."
"In planning for this event, we were searching for the intersection between proclaiming the Gospel and demonstrating the Gospel. A gospel that is just proclaimed is only half the Gospel. And a gospel that is just demonstrated is only half a gospel," she said.
Volunteers who work with AIDS victims in Swaziland and other African countries will receive the caregiver kits. The kits include medical and hygiene items for the compassionate care of AIDS victims in a part of the world that has borne the brunt of what has been called the largest humanitarian crisis of all time, and where access to basic health care is greatly limited, say Urbana organizers.
"The caregiver kits provide practical materials which bring dignity and comfort to those living with AIDS," said Steve Haas, vice president of World Vision, which is partnering with InterVarsity on the project.

No comments: