With 35,000 churches and monasteries and 500,000 clergy in Ethiopia, the Orthodox Church is poised to send messages into the most remote parts of that country to prevent HIV and to fund ministries to treat the infected. The International Orthodox Christian Charities, the humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians, and the U.S. Agency for International Development have committed to a $6 million campaign to fight AIDS in Ethiopia, the cradle of African Christianity and home to the third-highest HIV-positive population in the world.
"Our job is really to save a generation," said Tedla Teshome of the Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission. "The very existence of the nation is at stake." The goal of the three-year project is to offer faith-based community care to 9,000 orphans and vulnerable children, through "hope centers." Trained counselors will also promote abstinence and monogamy among a target audience of youth ages 15 to 24.