The Franciscan Family Apostolate, in partnership with the Canossian Sisters, serves the poor living in remote tribal villages in Andhra Pradesh surrounding the town of Vizagpattanam, and in the neighboring Orissa State.
Andhra Pradesh Family Sponsorship Program
This program focuses on families that have been affected by HIV/AIDS and are living in remote areas near Veeraghattam and Draksharama in Andhra Pradesh .
The majority of those under our care are abandoned widows and their children infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.
Sponsoring a family in this program requires a three year commitment of $25 a month. In addition, the Franciscan Family Apostolate provides the family with a resource such as a buffalo, some goats, or perhaps a roadside shop, to help them to develop a source of sustainable income. The family also receives medical care and social services through the clinics that the Canossian Sisters operate. When you sponsor a family, you first receive a family history and a photo. Every quarter the family will write you reporting on their life.
These families live in remote areas off the east coast of India in tribal villages. Reaching these villages is difficult and the political climate is unsettled in these areas so it is not possible to visit these families. However, you are welcome to write your family and you can direct questions about your family to Sr. Carmel and Sr. Jisha. Email makes this easy but you can also mail letters to India.
Draksharama HIV Program
Our program in the village of Draksharama provides medical care, nutrition and counseling to HIV/AIDS patients. At our clinic 30 children and 260 abandoned widows are provided with food and medical care. In addition to devoting all the clinics resources to these patients one day a month, the Sisters are constantly available for medical emergencies. They do home visits to check on the children. They follow through with patients on ART (Anti retroviral therapy) to make sure they are taking their medications. They provide counseling for all as they adjust to this dreaded disease.
With the support of the Franciscan Family Apostolate the Sisters maintain several outreach services in the village of Veeraghattam:
HIV/AIDS. Once a month, the Sisters open their clinic to 140 HIV/AIDS patients from 50 nearby villages. The patients receive counseling and review their medications with the sisters. They are provided with provisions to supplement their diets. All are served a meal.
Mobile Clinic and Dispensary. Twice a week the Sisters travel to different interior tribal villages with medicines. If they do not have medications needed by the poor, they provide referrals to city hospitals and help them with transporation. Since these poor are accustomed to relying upon herbal treatments, so it is only with persistent coaching that the poor are willing to try western medications and treatments.
Support for the Elderly. Once a month the Sisters open their doors to the elderly in the region and offer them rice, medical check-ups and medications. They look out for the elderly living on their own and encourage others in their villages to keep a watchful eye. Several times a year they offer other staples and clothing to these elderly in great need.
The Franciscan Family Apostolate supports the operation of a clinic in the Jubo area that served about 2500 patients in their dispensary in 2014. Those who come receive both medications and foods. Malaria is a major problem in this region. Before the Sisters began their efforts, an average of 15-25 children were dying yearly from malaria. Through the efforts of the Sisters, the mortality rate from malaria among children has dropped to zero. The Sisters also travel to 14 villages in the area to reach out to the poor. They organize programs in the villages to educate everyone on topics such as sanitation, personal hygene , and government support programs available to women. Whenever they travel for these programs, the Sisters bring medications and ask how they can assist the villagers.
To learn about helping these programs, please click here.