From grassroots beginnings, AIDSPIRIT's faith based non-denominational organization continues to provide support, compassion, and resources for the Kayunga District. It has also provided our community with fulfilling opportunities to volunteer and donate.
In the Beginning
AIDSPIRIT USA was founded in 1994 by Father Tom Beggin, a Catholic priest from Billings, Montana to provide resources for those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. In her late 70's Sister Mary V Maronick came out of retirement to join Father Tom in his efforts to bring AIDSPIRIT USA to an international level.
In 2008 several members of AIDSPIRIT journeyed to Uganda, East Africa to investigate how they might help some of the more than 2 million children who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
Shortly after, a young Ugandan boy named Kenny Mwange approached members of AIDSPIRIT and asked if they could sponsor the education of several of his orphaned friends.
Since those early beginnings 12 children whose education was supported by members of AIDSPIRIT have graduated from University or Vocational schools and all are employed. Currently we are providing an education for over 66 vulnerable children and with the help of donors just like you, we will be able to educate many more.
We Began to Grow
Since 2009, the Chairman of AIDSpirit USA, Tom Jacques and his wife Jean have traveled to Uganda 12 times with a team from the U.S. to support the children we are sponsoring and the many projects that have been initiated in support of the Tender Mercies Home. Since those early years (and with the help of our generous donors), AIDSPIRIT USA has been able to:
Move the children from a tiny two room building to the Tender Mercies home which for most of them was the first time they had a bed of their own,
Erect a security fence around the home to prevent children from being abducted and further abused,
Purchase land to help Tender Mercies work towards attaining agricultural sustainability,
Drill 8 new water wells,
Restore 6 abandoned water wells,
Conduct dozens of medical clinics and provide medicine for over 1000 children with Sickle Cell Anemia,
Provide a safe home, a family, and an education for over 70 vulnerable children.
The demand for a larger space was immediately apparent with 19 children living in this small 2 room building which led the members of AIDSPIRIT who visited Uganda in 2009 to lobby friends, family, and others to build a new Tender Mercies home suitable to meet this need.
Our First Home
Tender Mercies is now home to over 40 permanent children and multiple children who have been temporarily placed in our home by the local magistrate.
Our New Home
In 2015 the members of the Montana District Key Club raised the funds need to build a security fence around our Tender Mercies home. In building this fence, we have been able to provide a safe environment for our children to continue to grow and thrive in their educational endeavors.
AIDSpirit USA is in the beginning stages of creating a permaculture farming project that will help our Tender Mercies Home attain agricultural sustainability. This project will include cows, pigs, chickens, fish, and other livestock which in addition to milk, meat and eggs will produce waste by-products to fertilize the more than 5,000 pineapples, 800 banana trees, hundreds of coffee plants, 2 acres of corn and other crops that we recently planted.
This permaculture project will also provide permanent employment for some of our developmentally challenged children as well as other children with a passion for farming.
As our work continues to grow, we look for future opportunities to make an impact in similar communities across Uganda. AIDSPIRIT remains committed to raising the funds needed to provide a quality education, clean water, medicine, and a safe home for orphaned, abandoned, and other vulnerable children who need our love and support. With your help we can make these goals a reality.