Loreto sister honoured by Kenya’s Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health in Kenya presented an award to Sr Mary Owens ibvm, Executive Director of Nyumbani, on 28 June in appreciation of her timeless service and dedication to the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Program. This program provides quality HIV care, treatment and support to those infected and affected by HIV in Kenya and is part of the Ministry of Health’s National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP).
Nyumbani was founded in 1992 by Sr Mary and Fr Angelo D’Agostino, an American Jesuit priest doctor, because orphanages in Kenya were turning away infants with HIV/AIDS. They first established the Nyumbani Children’s Home to provide solace and care for three abandoned HIV-positive babies. Soon the three children became six, then the six became 12.
Today, under Sr Mary’s leadership, Nyumbani helps more than 4,000 children infected or affected by HIV. Many are inspired by the wonderful work she and the staff do tirelessly. In fact, actor and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, Naomi Watts, visited Nyumbani recently to learn more about paediatric HIV treatment and praised the organisation for the impact it makes on the lives of vulnerable children.
Twenty-five years since it was founded, Nyumbani now runs four programs providing services for some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations of children, older people, and families affected by the devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic.
• Over 200,000 Kenyan children under the age of 14 are infected with AIDS
• An estimated 1.1 million Kenyan children are orphaned due to AIDS
• Nyumbani means “home” in Swahili