InterVarsity Trojan Christian Fellowship and World Vision ACT:S assembled 100 supply kits for those affected by HIV/AIDS in Swaziland Thursday night during IVTCF’s weekly Encounter meeting. The event was funded by the Undergraduate Student Government’s Philanthropy Funding Board.
IVTCF holds weekly open Encounter meetings, which have recently focused on social justice through a series called “Breakthrough.”
“[Christian faith and social justice] are deeply intertwined,” said sophomore neuroscience major Ifeyinwa Anene. “You can’t be Christian without seeing injustice and doing something about it.”
On Thursday night, Encounter attendees “did something about it.” Attendees assembled kits of basic supplies intended to improve and prolong the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS as well as to prevent the spread of infection. The kits included rubber gloves, soap, medical tape and individually handwritten notes.
All the regular Encounter attendees were encouraged to participate actively in the project.
“It’s pretty cool because a lot of the time at church it just ends up being, ‘You should make kits,’ or, ‘Bring the kits you make here,’ but [at IVTCF] it’s up close and personal,” said Jeffrey Wang, a freshman majoring in biological sciences. “There’s not a connotation of participation being optional,” Wang said.
The kits will be donated to international Christian nonprofit World Vision. World Vision has sent more than 77,000 volunteer caregivers to Africa, Asia and Latin America to provide home-based comfort and care for victims of HIV/AIDS and other serious health conditions. The kits created Thursday night will go directly to volunteer caregivers in Swaziland. Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world.
“The event is really about equipping caregivers in Swaziland, Africa with proper resources and encouragement,” said Adam Joe, a junior majoring in film production major and co-president of World Vision ACT:S, said. “What’s really cool about this event is that students can tangibly help AIDS patients.”
World Vision is the parent organization for World Vision ACT:S, which was founded at USC last year by current juniors Adam Joe and Michelle Lau. Now, World Vision ACT:S is a branch of IVTCF’s social ministries branch, and also recently became part of the Political Student Assembly within Program Board. World Vision ACT:S is dedicated to creative activism, with the mission to “create to inspire action.”
“For me, it’s more of a direct impact we can have on big systemic issues like HIV/AIDS,” said Neriah Yue, acting president of IVTCF.
World Vision ACT:S, which advocates in the issue areas of human trafficking and urban poverty as well as HIV/AIDS, has plans to expand its social justice campaign campus-wide. World Vision ACT:S is collaborating with nonprofit iEmpathize and other student organizations to hold an Empathy Week on campus in March.
“As a Christian, I think justice is part of our faith,” Joe said. “In the Bible, we see a theme of justice from beginning to end.”