Church Women United of the Philippines
Despite obstacles, Church Women United of the Philippines took the lead to help the Church become a caring community to persons living with HIV.
Country: The Philippines
Grant Program: World Day of Prayer
Year of Grant: 2017-2018
Grant Amount: $5,000
Knowledge is power.
The Philippines has the fastest-growing rate of HIV infection in Asia, yet stigma is a barrier to church support for people who are living with HIV. People who are most at risk of infection are those between the ages 1 and 25. The Church Women of The Philippines (CWUP) saw an urgent need for the Church to reduce stigma around HIV/AIDS. By becoming informed about the disease, the Church will be better able to express the mission of God to care for each other.
Persistence pays off.
Just negotiating with pastors and churches for support and places to house their learning sessions was an uphill battle. Many believe that this work is not a church’s responsibility. In The Philippines, church people tend to frame HIV/AIDS as a moral question rather than a viral infection. Even within the CWUP, only six groups accepted the challenge to hold learning sessions with women and youth.
Progress begins with one small step.
The five-month program spread across six sessions reached 322 adults and youth. The CWUP acknowledged there is much more work to be done, but are encouraged by what they have begun and the power of Christians united in prayer and action.
“…the church moving as one is a convincing instrument of prevention and therefore redemption. Our hope and prayer is for the church to be God’s loving hand and heart to those who are lost and isolated.” (Prima S. Formilleza, WDP Chair, Philippines )