World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, has recently launched its second national campaign, The Hope Initiative, to gain support from Americans in fight against HIV/AIDS crisis around the world.
The Hope Initiative is known as an unprecedented campaign to address the needs of children, families and communities that have been devastated by the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, in which World Vision believes as a way of spreading compassion of Christ.
Through this campaign, World Vision is hoping to mobilize millions Americans to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS crisis, especially the vulnerable children and orphans who are being neglected with no proper medical care, and encourage them to bring hope to those who are devastated by AIDS in Africa and around the world.
This year, World Vision is planning on holding tour in 25 cities across the nation. The first tour of the year started March 15 in Grand Rapids, MI and in Philadelphia, PA. March 15. Grad Rapids tour has already ended March 16. Philadelphia tour will end on March 20. More tours will be held in Los Angeles, CA (March 29-April 2), Dallas (April 26-30), Denver (Sept. 6-10), Nashville, Atlanta, Bermuda, and Chicago (dates TBA).
During the tour, World Vision will:
- Inform Americans about the plight of tens of millions of individuals affected by AIDS around the world, especially orphans and vulnerable children;
- Encourage Americans to contact their member of Congress to support President Bush’s $15 billion AIDS initiative and fully fund the 2004-2005 budget request;
- Encourage the public and church congregations to learn and act by joining with World Vision to support their work combating AIDS -- work that has created results and hope for hundreds of communities in places most impacted by the AIDS pandemic in the developing world.
- Educate Americans about the upcoming XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, July 11-16, 2004, and World Vision’s critical role in raising awareness about the needs of orphans and vulnerable children.
World Vision President Richard Stearns expressed his gratitude toward World Vision staff and gave brief update on what World Vision has been accomplishing through out the years, such as various outreach projects to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti and 30 Hour Famine project by students during the tour in Grand Rapids, MI. He said,
“It’s God’s grace that brought me to this organization…. The thing that is most humbling is whenever I go I’ve been greeted with gratitude from the community we serve but you shouldn’t be thanking me, you should thank World Vision staff, they are the ones who are giving you help in the name of Christ. I want to say that I’m accepting that gratitude for you. I’ll take that gratitude back to 100,000 American donors.”
World Vision AIDS experts including Richard Stearns, Dr. C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General, Sandra Thurman, International AIDS Trust and former Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and Angie Diale, African AIDS Activist, spoke at Philadelphia conference.
During Philadelphia tour, Stearns asserted the significance of AIDS, calling it a turning point of history. He said,
“HIV and AIDS is not just another social problem to be added to the very long list of social problems we deal with in the world. It’s not just another social problem confronting 21st century. It’s something new. I believe that this issue of AIDS will become one of the lenses that the historians will use to study 21st century as they look back on it.”
He also emphasized the importance of the role of church and the faith communities in confronting AIDS crisis to put faith into practice. He said, “Response of church is very significant. How should the church respond to this great calamity? First it’s honest,” then he continued, “We need to repent on this issue” for not responding to such crisis and asked the audience to question themselves, “What would Jesus do? What would he have us to do?”