International Engagement

  International Engagement  

GAIA 2018:  We did it again!

The people of Trinity raised the funds to purchase "Gracie," a mobile clinic, and to keep her operating in the field for over 2 months of visits.  Here she is!  

GAIA 2015:  We did it!
Thanks to support from the Trinity community and friends,
over $30,000 was raised, fullfilling our 3-year commitment and providing additional flood relief to the people of Malawi through GAIA. Thank you!

About GAIA
Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) provides basic health services, targeting prevention, care, and support in communities affected by HIV, AIDS, TB and malaria in Africa. GAIA is a non-profit, non-governmental 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in June 2000 in response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Tax ID # 94-3364364.  

GAIA’s work is focused in Malawi, a small country located in Sub-Saharan Africa at the epicenter of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Each year 46,000 Malawians die of AIDS-related illnesses. Of Malawi’s population of nearly 16 million, over one million are orphaned children, about three-quarters due to HIV/AIDS.  GAIA is highly accountable to its donors and the people served. Our Malawi staff has decades of experience in community development, health care, and relief work. They carefully monitor and evaluate all programs. GAIA has a strong reputation for integrity and collaboration with local community, religious and institutional leaders.  GAIA is registered as an international non-governmental organization in Malawi, providing official sanction to our work.

Trinity's Sponsored Village: Magombo

In the Fall of 2013 Trinity Church began a three-year sponsorship of Magombo village through GAIA: Global Aids Interfaith Alliance.  By educating and supporting a carefully selected team of local caregivers, the GAIA village program provides the "last mile" link to address the critical issues of healthcare and education of orphans.  

Magombo village is located in Mulanje District, an impoverished region in southern Malawi where about 1 in 5 persons is HIV-positive. Magombo’s population of 2,007 includes both Muslims and Christians.  The local economy is driven by agriculture, primarily maize, rice, and sorghum.  The village head man is Beni Samilu. He is 61 years old, married with 7 children.

Now serving Magombo are 4 GAIA Community Caregivers who are local women with at least a middle school education. Their names are Esnala Kamwendo, Mwandida Damiano, Uerita Njanji, and Fatuma Yamaya.  During the 3-year period, 
GAIA trains and equips these Caregivers to provide care to orphans and people who are ill.  The GAIA Coordinator, Cathy Sangala, is a Malawian woman with education in community development.

Caregivers regularly visit the households caring for orphans and check in on their health, school status and other needs.  GAIA coordinates with local NGOs to avoid duplication of services and to ensure that all children in need are supported.   Clustered among Magombo's 520 households are 54 orphans – 27 boys and 23 girls enrolled in primary school, and 3 boys and 1 girl enrolled in secondary school. Orphans regularly receive soap, lotion, clothes and a blanket.  Those in school receive pens, notebooks, school uniforms, and tuition assistance when needed.  

During home-based care visits Caregivers monitor patients' health and medication, educate them on various health issues, and advise and refer them to health services.  Within the first 90 days of the initiation of GAIA's village program in Magombo, they had enrolled 2 home-based care patients, one man and one woman, both of whom are HIV+ and on ARV’s.  In time, as the population gains confidence in the local GAIA staff, we expect broader testing to uncover – and stabilize – the full extent of HIV infection in Magombo.

Reports From the Field

“I recently came back from a trip to see GAIA in action in Malawi. 


It was an amazing experience, and I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the work that GAIA is doing there. GAIA has a wonderful staff in place both in the U.S. and in Malawi. Every single person impressed me. 
Malawi is not an easy country to negotiate  – communication, travel, infrastructure – everything is more challenging there. And we were on the front lines. Poverty in Malawi is extensive, and the country is heavily populated, especially with children.
We did not see signs of famine but I realize this was not the time of year when it generally occurs. Malnutrition is always an issue though, and GAIA is participating with other organizations to help provide basic nutrition, especially to young children and pregnant mothers, who are especially vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition.

I did not know how beautiful the country and the people of Malawi are. The people are handsome, warm, friendly, and musical!  I loved going to see Magombo, the village Trinity sponsors, where we were welcomed by the villagers with singing and dancing and we were encouraged to join in! 
The poverty and the problems in Malawi are daunting, but GAIA is clearly making a difference.”  

- Mary, Trinity Parishioner

Past Project: SHOES for LESVOS

Thanks for your support of shoes for lesvos! Through the generosity of many, lots of pairs of shoes were donated and more than $4,000 was given to purchase more for the relief of refugees. This project is now concluded.