Roughly 2.5% of the total population in Rwanda is HIV positive. It is a heavily stigmatised disease, and many people believe that it is a punishment from God.
The Bible Society of Rwanda hopes to change this attitude and also help those who have been greatly impacted by this disease. The “Good Samaritan” project reaches out to those who are affected by the disease and seeks to breakdown social stigmas around it. Based on the parable of the Good Samaritan, this programme challenges perceptions of HIV and AIDS. It teaches Biblical compassion to those affected, as well as how to prevent the transmission of the disease.
Through the course every participant is given a Bible to allow them to read for themselves what the Bible says about compassion and loving one another. This project has had a great impact on many people who have been marginalised by society due to their diagnosis.
One woman who has lived with each HIV for 15 years told the Bible Society how the Good Samaritan project had impacted her life:
“……. I am a mother of 4 children. I knew my HIV status in 2005; the family pushed me out from my house, and I did not find peace anywhere. After 2 or 3 years, I heard that there is a group of people which help people infected and it was the Good Samaritan group. They gave me a Bible from Bible Society of Rwanda, when I opened it I read Isaiah 41:10 which helped me a lot. It gives me hope…….”
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the Good Samaritan groups haven’t been able to meet in person. The Bible Society of Rwanda values your continued prayers as they try to raise awareness of this disease without being able to meet in person. They're excited to resume the groups as soon as it is safe for them to do so.