- Dec 20 The focus of Maarifa, a faith-based psychosocial support program for youth living with HIV, is shifting from Kenya to the world via open-sourcing on the internet. The Steyn's, will relocate to the US in January to follow God's call in new directions.
Jessica first went to Kenya in 2001 as a volunteer with a Minnesota based non-profit organization. God led her to continue her relationship with the people of Kenya, specifically to fill an important gap in the services offered to youth living with HIV.
Jessica founded Maarifa, a psychosocial support program for youth living with HIV. Maarifa is a Swahili word that means, “A plan to overcome a difficulty.” She partnered with the Health Ministries Department of African Inland Church (AICHM) to bring life skills, emotional and spiritual support to young people ages 10-21 living with HIV.
The framework for the Maarfia program is called The Armor of Positive Living and is based “The Armor of God” from Ephesians 6. The Maarifa curriculum was completed in March of 2015 and the first Maarifa class for youth living with HIV was taught in April of 2015. From AICHM’s central position, Maarifa is offered nationwide.
Jessica married Daniel Steyn in November of 2014. Daniel is a tentmaker with Globe International and continued working for Intel in Nairobi. In April 2016, their daughter Nadia was born. By January of 2017, Daniel’s job required them to relocate to Minnesota, which has given Jessica an extended opportunity to reach more youth living with HIV.
With a rewritten English version of the Maarifa curriculum, originally published for a Kenyan audience, it is easily adapted to any culture. By offering the curriculum online, Maarifa’s message of hope and support is opened to the world.
Jessica has seen the positive impact Maarifa has had on youth in Kenya and is excited to see what God will do through Maarifa in this new season.