For several decades a church in Chapel Hill has had a relationship with a church in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2002 they decided to see how they might respond together to the AIDS epidemic. A business woman in the Kenyan church began to teach women affected by AIDS in one of Nairobi’s slums how to weave and sell rugs. With that skill, they wouldn’t have to sell themselves to keep food on the table. The Chapel Hill church imported rugs to the US and sold them. They also helped other American churches to build a relationship with the Kenyan program. The experience of assisting a grassroots African organization was been so rewarding, and so effective that a group of people formed the nonprofit, Africa Rising, to multiply the opportunities for others to have similar experiences.|
The work of Africa Rising is done principally by a full-time East African liaison (Mary Muhara) in Kenya, a part-time executive director (Amber Dun) and very part-time president (Jim Thomas) in North Carolin. With much of the work of Africa Rising being networking for the African organizations, Amber does the networking in the US and Mary does it in East Africa.
Is Africa Rising a Christian organization? Well, yes and no. While the motivation of our board is their Christian faith, among the African organizations we support, some are explicitly Christian and others are not. The same is true for the organizations we network with. And regardless of their faith motivation, we select only African organizations that provide services for all people regardless of their faith. We see Africa Rising as a form of Christian hospitality. For all those who want to see Africa thrive, we provide opportunities that are mutually beneficial to the givers and the receivers, whether they be African or from another continent; Christian or of another faith perspective.