Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We Remember a True Hero

Last week marked two years since the passing of an amazing man. He was known by many names and professions. The kids he fought so passionately to defend called him “Faza” or “Fr. D’Ag”.

Fr. Angelo D’Agostino, SJ died on the 20th of November in 2006. He was a Renaissance man in the truest sense. He was a physician, psychiatrist, Catholic Priest, and outspoken advocate for the orphans of sub-Saharan Africa plagued by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

On September 8, 1992, Father Angelo opened the first home for children with HIV in Kenya. He spearheaded the creation of Nyumbani (“home” in Swahili)- a facility to provide shelter, food, education, antiretroviral therapy, and much more to nearly 100 children, from newborns to those in their early twenties.

Ten years ago, Nyumbani began the ambitious outreach project, the aim of which was to provide pivotal services needed by families of children living with HIV. It is called Lea Toto meaning “to raise the child” and in 1999, it became a full community-based care program.

D’Agostino’s last initiative in Kenya, Nyumbani Village, addressed the fact that the middle generation, who would normally care for both their children and their parents, had been almost wiped out by AIDS. Nyumbani received a donation of 1,000 acres of agricultural land on which grandchildren and grandparents now live together.

Learn more about the Nyumbani Village in this report from Voice of America News:

In July of 2005, PicCell made a contribution of $5,000 to help those who Nyumbani serves. We were pleased that Fr. D’Agostino was there to receive the check. He may be gone now but his legacy is as important as it ever was. To help Nyumbani in their mission to help those affected by AIDS in East Africa, please visit: