A growing number of people in Burundi are contracting HIV/AIDS. An estimated
390 000 (6%) of Burundi's 6.5 million people are now HIV-positive. The highest prevalence (15.9%) is among young adults between the ages of 24 and 39, living in the capital, Bujumbura (Burundi's only city) and semi-rural towns. The balance is spread among the rest of the population living in both rural and urban settings across the country.
It's into this environment that TWR-Africa, in partnership with TWR-Netherlands, began broadcasting AIDS Challenge programmes in the Kirundi language in April, 2001. Kirundi is the mother tongue of the Burundians. The programme, called Turwanye Sida (Let's Struggle Against AIDS), takes a magazine format and is designed to reach a broad spectrum of people including religious leaders (who have, in the past, distanced themselves from the pandemic), soldiers, refugees, repatriates, Christians and unbelievers. The programmes focus on how to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS, home-based care (very important in Burundi where medical care is minimal) and health and hygiene issues surrounding life with the disease. The programme also offers medical advice by experts who are interviewed. Listeners are encouraged through the testimonies of those who have contracted AIDS and then found Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The message is one of comfort and hope as they share how, as believers; they have found "life after contracting HIV/AIDS".
In a country that does not have much by way of resources to fight this pandemic, TWR's programmes are often the only way people find out basic information about this disease. Recently listeners from a rural area in Burundi shared how they have been helped through the programme, "One of the problems we are facing with AIDS is that it is increasing rapidly in our country. TWR is the only radio station that produces programmes on AIDS for our people. These programmes are so effective that we take notes of the broadcast and go to the local schools and teach the children about AIDS from the notes we've taken."
As more and more people tune into the programme, more lives are being changed. You can become involved in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the AIDS Challenge programmes in Africa by praying for this programme or giving financially.
Published: 27 September 2007