In the 2000 Chapter proposals for the Capuchin Vice-Province of Zambia it was agreed that one friar be freed to work full time
in the apostolate of HIV/AIDS. Br. Noel Brennan, Vice-provincial at the time, gave permission for Br. Charles Hanley to undertake
Since its beginning in 2001 CHAS has assisted thousands of individuals and their families who are either infected or affected
by the HIV Virus. CHAS has always worked cooperatively with other AIDS Organizations, which has won it both acceptance and
appreciation: no trophies or plaques but rather the quiet, sincere gratitude of individuals, their families, and colleagues who
have become strong networking partners in the field of HIV/AIDS.
CHAS works on a one to one, non-directive counseling basis, which allows time for all those who come for counseling to
work through the problems in their present life situations in trust and confidentiality. Basically, CHAS allows people to take an
honest look at their “Life Issues,” take
responsibility for the consequences of their actions, and be responsible for the present actions and responses they choose to
employ as they gain informed knowledge of themselves.
One of the first priorities of CHAS was to disseminate as much information as possible on the HIV/AIDS pandemic to the
Capuchin friars and those working in the field. This was done in order to assist and update those who wished to know more
but did not have access to information, especially in the rural parishes. The Catholic bookshop, UNAIDS, and other NGOs in
Lusaka were very helpful in supplying this printed material. They also helped to assure that the latest
information was forthcoming. CHAS counselors took courses to update their skills at Kara Counseling and Trust Centre. It was
here as part of the course requirement that Br. Charles Hanley did volunteer counseling at Kara’s Hope House five days a
week. Later, Br. Charles also offered volunteer counseling at Umoyo Skills Training Centre and the “Child in Crisis” Center of
At the present time all CHAS Clients are referrals. Referrals are made by other HIV/AIDS organizations, religious superiors,
principals of schools, and counselors who feel that their clients will benefit from going to CHAS. There are also former clients
who have encouraged friends and loved ones to go to CHAS. On a few occasions referrals were made by word of mouth from
those who have heard of CHAS’s services through contact with CHAS staff or clients. The varied needs of our people, the
people of Zambia, are met to the very best of our ability, sometimes directly by CHAS, at other times in cooperation with other
agencies in our partnering network.
The CHAS Offices have been in many places over the last five years. Before CHAS had a permanent site, with the permission
of Br. Charles Chishimba CHAS was for a time located in the front parlor of St. Conrad’s Friary. CHAS has also used facilities at
Kara Hope House, the upper counseling room of the YWCA’s “Child in Crisis” Center, even the back pews at the Marian Shrine’
s sanctuary or the front seat of the CHAS vehicle which staff parked at different Post offices and parking lots around Lusaka.
Wherever our people felt most comfortable, secure, and wherever access was easiest for them, CHAS made counseling help
available. In 2004 our Vice-Provincial, Br. Jude McKenna, gave permission for the CHAS Office to be set up at the back of the
Padre Pio House property, owned by the Capuchin Vice-Province of Zambia, in two rooms formerly used by the friary’s cook.
CHAS extended this site so that the final office has five rooms including a kitchenette, toilet and shower facilities. The enclosed
back garden with a large swinging seat is a safe and happy place for the children to play, either while waiting for the parents or
while being the clients themselves. It has been up to CHAS to find funds from CHAS’s donors to maintain and operate the
facility, and to provide for medicine, food, transport, and other needs of clients.
It has been of major importance and a tremendous support that the Vice-Province of St. Francis has throughout the years been
more than willing to support CHAS.
|Finally, and most important, there has been support from friars working in Zambia,
who have expressed their encouragement and thanks for being able to use the
CHAS materials sent to them in their apostolate.