Listening to rock star Bono changed Justin Miller’s life. “The summer after my freshman year at Vanderbilt, I heard Bono speak about the AIDS crisis to a group of evangelical church leaders,” says Miller. “He offered a compelling challenge that AIDS patients have spiritual as well as physical needs. It made me think, ‘How can I help?’”
The next year Miller, an economics and human and organizational development major, traveled to Kenya with two friends to learn more about the needs of AIDS patients and their families. The statistics were grim: At least 22.5 million people in sub-Saharan Africa currently live with the HIV/AIDS virus, and 1.3 million die each year.
Returning home, the three friends established CARE for AIDS (CFA), an organization that partners with evangelical Christian churches in Kenya to offer physical, emotional and spiritual help to patients with HIV/AIDS.
“Our first community health center opened in 2008,” says Miller, CFA’s executive director. Since then the organization has grown to 14 centers and a half-million-dollar budget, serving nearly 2,000 Kenyans. Nick Gordon, Miller’s Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity brother at Vanderbilt, directed CFA’s Africa operations for two years and now leads the organization’s U.S. operations.
Miller says most of CFA’s funding comes from individual donors. A new initiative that encourages college students to donate their used textbooks raised around $200,000 last semester, with about $7,000 coming from Vanderbilt students.
Find out more: www.careforaids.org
© 2015 Vanderbilt University | Photography: COURTESY OF JUSTIN MILLER
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