Relaymedia

Young Christians in Africa Fight Against AIDS

( [email protected] ) Apr 06, 2004 07:55 AM EDT

AFRICA -- While the U.S. is spending more funds in support of fight against AIDS, churches and ministries in southern Africa are also equipping youth to stop the spread of AIDS. It is known that one in every three adults in Zimbabwe is infected with the deadly HIV virus. The AIDS is threatening lives of people across the world and Christians are fighting against the deadly disease starting with educating youth through a series of prevention programs

Especially the young Christians are actively engaged in this battle against AIDS. According to Christian Broadcasting Network, young Christians are leading the way in introducing prevention programs using discussions, drama, and music to stop the spread of AIDS.

Julio Manuel Samudine, the Youth Program Coordinator, said: "Our youth program has gatherings and meetings one that we have done this morning. They are meetings with educational debate. Our conclusion today was to explain to the youth that the practice of sex before marriage has various negative consequences, one of those consequences is the contraction of HIV and AIDS."

"Currently," he added, "we work with 35 different churches and each of these 35 churches has its own activities related to HIV and AIDS. Then after the debates are done here, the youth take the same debate teams and do them in their own church."

Because the youth are easily influenced by culture, it is believed that such interactive programs based on cultural resources would have much impact on youth and bring out good results.

Christopher Tshuman of Peer Educator of the ministry called Scripture Union said, "I want to help all the young people because I used to be like that. I just want to get the message across because AIDS is very bad in Zimbabwe."

Scripture Union in Zimbabwe is an evangelical peer education group. They work in collaboration with local schools to provide entertaining AIDS education in a classroom setting, for example by skit.

Tshuman said, "Most of the time we try and put it across in a way that the young can remember, y' know. So, maybe even years from now they say, hey these guys were so funny, but they saved me from getting AIDS. If they'd never told me about AIDS I don't know where I'd be right now."

Tshuman is full of hope looking at the young students: “I pray everyday that this work will succeed, even though we might not see the results now, it will be so satisfying maybe 10 years ago, a guy will walk up to me and say I remember you. You came and talked to me about AIDS at that school,” he said, “And I'll be like 'Oh, man! Good to see you again! What you doing now?' And it'll be really nice to know that kids survived and didn't get AIDS because of what we're doing. We really want to have an impact, a big impact."

"I have hope," said Tshuman, "I do have hope, if I didn't I wouldn't be doing this. I have hope that by learning this much about AIDS and its effects and how it's killing so many people, that finally people can start to change."