CABSA dreams of caring Christian communities that will minister hope and reconciliation in areas of health, wellbeing and equality in a world with HIV. We sincerely believe that the faith community has an incredibly powerful contribution to make in our global and national efforts against HIV and AIDS.
The Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa, known today as CABSA, was launched in 2001 in response to the growing need for Christian HIV and AIDS services. CABSA started off as a project of the Huguenot College of the Dutch Reformed Church that also indicated the desire to be involved in the HIV field. The Huguenot College provided office space and infrastructure in the early years of CABSA’s ministry.
Our mission is to guide and support Christians and Churches in their response to HIV and in doing this we are challenging stigma and discrimination, standing in the gap for HIV positive people and their families, combating ignorance and judgemental attitudes with accurate facts and Biblical principles and empowering Christian leaders with valuable skills and tools. But most of all, CABSA’s activities bring hope to people living with HIV who were hurt and judged by the ignorance of their church or church leaders, to families who carry the burden of HIV with their loved ones, to clergy and churches who often do not know how to respond to the realities of HIV in their communities and many Christians who sincerely want to help or make a difference, but do not know where or how to start.
CABSA operates from the core values of respect for life, human dignity and excellence, empowerment, partnerships, stewardship and transparency.
Over the years CABSA has developed a set of Guiding Principles that guide everything the organisation does. These Biblical guiding principles are practical pointers that help us to remain faithful followers of Christ in the midst of a broken world.
Photo: Group discussion during a CABSA training.
CABSA offers three Training Curriculums:
• Churches, Channels of Hope Facilitator Training
A 6 day training specifically aimed at faith and community leaders. It empowers faith leaders with the knowledge, attitudes and skills to respond competently and responsibly towards the HIV epidemic. Learn more about this training here.
Over the years, the CHABAHIVA Trust has sponsored the training fees of several leaders, primarily to empower staff members of the Field Band Foundation.
• HIV Peer Educator Training
This 5 day training was initially developed in cooperation with the CHABAHIVA Trust and specifically for the training of peer educators in the workplace. The workplace training is central to the HIV Farm Project that CABSA implements as part of a project agreement with the Trust. Read further about this project in the districts of Wellington and De Doorns here.
Photo: HIV Peer Educators at a training refresher meeting.
CABSA has two slightly different versions, one aimed at the workplace and one aimed at young adolescents and young women.
CABSA and the CHABAHIVA Trust have initiated the HIV Farm Project in 2016 and has implemented it ever since. CHABAHIVA Trust has a license agreement to implement this curriculum and do it mainly through the Field Band Foundation. Read further about this here.
• HIV Integrating Training
This is a 3 day training, available for any literate group who wants to make sense of what HIV means in their personal, spiritual and professional capacities.
CABSA’s response to HIV:
Today the primary focus of CABSA is to support and empower Churches, faith and community leaders, as well as marginalised communities to respond competently to the HIV epidemic. This is done mainly through trainings, workshop and awareness events, but also through Bible Messages, liturgies, networking, advocacy. CABSA addresses gender based violence through the Thursdays in Black campaign.
More information about CABSA is available on their website. Regular updates on events and developments are posted on the CABSA Facebook Page. Email a request to Meloney to receive CABSA’s weekly Bible message: admin(at)cabsa.org.za