Support for Elderly and Frail Religious Sisters in Tanzania
Project Code: 154-05-39
In the past, they helped others. Now, they are the ones who need help. They are 17 elderly, frail or handicapped religious Sisters of the congregation of the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa. Some are unable to walk, or bedridden and entirely dependent on care. Those who are still capable of doing so, continue to proclaim the Good News, while those who are unable to leave their beds still offer up their sufferings for others, especially for those whom they formerly helped with wise counsel and practical Christian love.
The Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa are a congregation founded nearly 60 years ago in Tanzania, and they are dedicated to helping those in most need. They care for handicapped children, who are often at best tolerated and frequently neglected by their families and hidden from the neighbors. For in Tanzania a handicap is often interpreted as a punishment for an evil deed, or as a curse, and is therefore regarded as bringing shame on the family.
The Sisters also give refuge to young girls who are being forced by their family into marriage or, as still frequently happens, into the traditional so-called "female circumcision," brutal and dangerous genital mutilation. In such cases, the Sisters speak with the parents, often succeeding in persuading them to change their minds, but in other cases, keeping the girls under their care. The Sisters also care for AIDS victims and drug addicts. They live close together among the population and share the needs and concerns of the ordinary people at first hand. The people trust the Sisters, for they know that if they have a problem they will always find an open ear and a helping hand in them.
The Sisters of the first generation have passed on their work into younger hands, and nowit is they themselves who are in need of care. They are being cared for in Musoma in the north of the country, and, thanks to help from ACN, the congregation has been able to acquire a small plot of land. On this land they rear livestock and have planted a vegetable garden, so that the elderly Sisters can have a little milk and eggs from time to time, and meat and vegetables to eat. However, they are not able to produce enough to be able to sell a surplus at the market. As a result they cannot afford to pay for the medical care of the retired Sisters from their own resources alone.
The Sisters need medication, mobility aids, glasses, and many also require operations. Since this is a local African community, they have no mother house abroad that can help them.. ACN has promised them $6,600 in aid so that these frail, elderly and handicapped Sisters can now receive the care and support that they have given to others all their lives. Will you join in supporting these elderly Sisters in Tanzania? We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
This project is an example of our work. Your donation will be attributed either to this or to another similar project that accords with the pastoral needs that ACN witnesses.