WCU?s LUVIM series hosted the co-founder of Hope Without Borders, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about AIDS. Crispin Masuka depicted the destruction AIDS breeds in Africa through a Power Point presentation of research and statistics Tuesday night in Philips Autograph Library.Crispen Masuka was born in Zimbabwe, Africa. When he came to the United States in 1999, he helped launch Hope Without Borders, the non-profit, non-denominational group that works to build unity among churches in Africa and in the Untied States in order to combat AIDS and raise awareness about AIDS orphans in Africa.
Katie Fourqurean, a senior majoring in social work, who plans to join the Peace Corps after college, proposed the idea to have Masuka on campus to the LUVIM program. Fourqurean and Masuka met at Immaculata College and at a concert for Hope Without Borders.
Masuka was affected by the AIDS virus because it killed his sister and her husband, and the couple?s two children were left orphaned.
After their deaths, Masuka was encouraged to do what he could to fight the disease. “At first, I said my efforts will be like a drop in the ocean,” Masuka said. However, he acknowledged that his doubts were erased when Hope Without Borders grew and he received support for his work from community and church members.
The Power Point presentation that Masuka displayed focused on the Sub-Saharan region of Africa, where he stated that AIDS was the most deadly and most widespread. People struck with AIDs in the region die in their late thirties or forties, and 37.2 million people are affected with the disease in Africa, according to Masuka?s statistics.
“It (AIDS) is killing over 6,000 people a day,” Masuka said. “Little kids are being left with no one to care for them. There is a generation of people growing up with no one to care for them.”
Masuka listed a variety of reasons for the spread of AIDS in the Sub-Saharan region. One cause of AIDS in the region stems from gender inequality, according to his presentation.
Men in the culture are allowed to take more than one wife, which spreads the disease. Also, since women hold little power and depend on their husbands for economic reasons, they can not resist their husbands.
Because of the gender inequalities that plague the society, Masuka mentioned that women comprise the highest percentage of people affected with the disease in the region. Musuka also blamed poverty as a cause of AIDS. In the society, poverty is devastating, the economy is not strong, and people can not afford drugs that would fight the disease.
He also claimed that some people in the culture are still in denial about the AIDS crisis. Some think that AIDS was fabricated by the American media and the American culture to discourage sexual behavior. Some people also believe that illness occurs because of spiritual reasons.
Because of AIDS, Masuka painted a grim reality during his presentation. Since citizens affected with AIDS die in their thirties or forties, it harms industries and schools in the region because the professionals are lost. He noted that it takes a long period of time for various industries and schools to train new professionals.
When parents pass awayfrom the disease, children are forced to take up parental roles, especially young women. Masuka noted that such tasks are stressful and heavy burdens on youth. Grandparents also look over the orphans of deceased AIDS parents, and he stated that the grandparents often can not afford such a task. Therefore, poverty grows.
Masuka listed ways in which people can help spark awareness about the disease and lend a helping hand to African communities suffering from AIDS. He encouraged people to talk about the AIDS crisis to their peers and to support groups that work to stop the spread of AIDS.He also urged people to support businesses that import products from Africa, sell the products as merchandise, and then give some of the profits to African communities. The money can be used to strengthen educational systems across Africa.
Outside of Philips Autograph Library that night, one of the businesses that Masuka mentioned, Ten Thousand Villages, had a table of merchandise and information for the audience.
“Ten Thousand Villages provides vital, fair income to Third World people by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America,” the company?s brochure says that was available that night.
“We like to get out and display what we sell and provide educational info,” said Jeremiah Kauffman, one of the company?s employees who worked at the table that night. There is a local Ten Thousand Villages located in Exton.
Along with his power point presentation, Masuka brought various local musicians with him Tuesday night. The musicians sang spiritual songs about God, faith and helping others. The music was a diverse mix of African drum rhythms, percussion music, vocals and dancing.
Audience members also participated in the music by singing along, thumping on drums and dancing.
People can find out more information concerning Hope Without Borders by visiting www.faith-alive.org or by visiting Brian Neal?s Web site, one of the musicians and ministers in attendance that night, at www.briannealministries.com