In honor of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, hosts Janis Bohan and Glenda Russell talk with Sister Sheila Flynn, founder of a grassroots program in rural South Africa, called Kopanang (“gathering together” in Sotho), whose aim is to empower women whose lives and families are impacted by HIV/AIDS. Joining us in this conversation is Tozi Mokoba, a member of the Kopanang community.
The Kopanang community provides support, skills training, and ongoing education for its members. The women also create handwork using the skills learned, and sell their work to earn money with which they can support themselves and their families. We discuss the story behind and the philosophy underlying Kopanang, the many programs that have evolved there to serve and empower local women, and the relationship of Sr. Sheila’s work to the Catholic Church.
Sr. Sheila and Tozi are currently visiting the Denver/Boulder area and will be presenting several talks honoring World AIDS Day during their stay in the area. Kopanang literature and products for sale will be available at these events.
Events for the general public include:
- On Wed., Nov. 30, Sr. Sheila and Tozi will be at the AIDS Awareness and Resource Fair, “Together We Can Make a Vibrant Movement,” in the Multicultural Lounge in the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria campus from10:30 to 1:30.
- On the same day, Nov. 30, they will be on the CU Boulder Campus, Center for Community (C4C) Room 350, for a presentation titled “Odds Stacked against Us” from 4:00 to 5:30.
- The “Universe Canticle,” a 31-panel hand-embroidered installation depicting the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang through today’s threats to the planet will be on display until Dec. 11 at St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch. This piece was originally commissioned by the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in San Francisco for World AIDS Day 2002. It was designed and created by Kopanang residents, and it demonstrates the beautiful handwork they create and sell as a means of supporting themselves and their families.