Hand in Hand in Africa (HIHIA) operates under the leadership of an eight member Board of Directors. HIHIA became an official Non-Profit organization, NPO, (501c3) in 2006 under the founding guidance of Andy Wilkinson. Andy remains Chairman of the Board and is committed to a continual expansion of our role in combating the consequences of the AIDS pandemic and working towards overcoming the disease. HIHIA lends a helping hand and targets creating a legacy of hope for those devastated by HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. This is accomplished by working with trustworthy national partners who live and work in Southern Africa's needy areas. HIHIA's Board of Directors is comprised of individuals who have served in a variety of industries and positions around the world and who share a passion for the tireless work of eradicating HIV/AIDS in the most vulnerable nations on the African continent.
HIHIA's story began when Andy Wilkinson returned to the US in May 2005 after two years in service to HIV/AIDS needs in South Africa. Wilkinson had worked under the supervision of missionary Clif Ingram, who lived and worked in SA for 8 years. While in SA, Wilkinson had established a center to educate families and assist them in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He applied for and received SA government status for a NPO. Before leaving SA, he realized the need to provide ongoing funding for the newly established Mmametlhake Family Care Centre. He began work to name a board and apply for US NPO status to fund the vision and mission of worthy projects in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Upon Wilkinson's return to the US, a 501c3 organization was formed and named "Foundation for the Relief of HIV/AIDS in South Africa." Ingram later returned to the US and joined the already active board supporting relief projects. An American RN, Regina Duncan, who also had worked under Ingram in SA, returned to the US and was named to the Board, along with other individuals interested in joining hands in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Desiring to expand the vision to include all of Southern Africa, the foundation began doing business as Hand in Hand in Africa. This name represents our vision of joining hands with the nationals who work with the sick and affected of this pandemic. We are fortunate to have many contacts across Southern Africa. In our travels abroad, as well as in the US, we receive several funding requests from well supervised projects that match our vision for working to reduce the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. Our Board considers the goals, needs and budgets of those requesting HIHIA funding and makes oversight trips to review approved projects regularly. HIHIA recipients must represent a project with a history of hands-on work and utilization of nationals.
Bert Andrew (Andy) Wilkinson is Chairman and President of HIHIA. He is a professional civil/petroleum engineer experienced in financial administration, human resources, geology and drilling.
Andy and his wife for more than 46 years, Gay, first traveled to Africa in 1995. The people and experiences from their time there left an indelible impression. Thus, in 2003, Andy left the professional world and he and Gay moved to SA to join the fight against HIV/AIDS. As missionaries they became involved on the ground level, developing and implementing a project to meet the needs of those suffering from the disease in a grassroots fashion. He hired and trained Home Based Care Workers, who were charged with identifying and assisting HIV/AIDS victims, arranged government training for counselors at pre- and post-HIV/AIDS testing centers, and taught abstinence-based education to local youth.
Andy and Gay have one married daughter and four grandchildren who live in Texas and are strong supporters of HIHIA.
Gay Wilkinson was elected to Hand in Hand in Africa's Board of Directors in 2012. She comes with three years retail experience -- owning a small business and hiring employees, inventorying, advertising, and pleasing the public as an entrepreneur. She graduated from Fort Worth's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1999 with a Graduate Diploma in Theology and minor in Education. Gay served as a missionary with the International Mission Board from 2003-2005 in South Africa.
Her job description was Church Planting and Chronological Bible Storying. She served in Kenya in 2008 as guest house co-director with husband Andy. Gay raised her family and cared for her invalid father in their home for 12 years until his death. She has always worked in missions endeavors and development, taught adults, and is gifted in hospitality. She has been married to her high school sweetheart Andy since 1966. Her enthusiasm for HIHIA is in fundraising and raising awareness. She lost her heart in Africa on her first trip in 1995.
Regina Duncan received her RN degree in 1969 and has been working in the field of nursing ever since. After working her way up to nursing supervisor, she accepted a call to spend three years as a missionary in Africa. There she trained and worked with Home Based Care Workers to provide care and support to HIV/AIDS clients and their families. Two of these years were spent working directly with the Mmamethlake Family Care Centre, providing on-sight training as well as daily supervision of the Home Based Care Workers. Regina returned to live in the US in 2007 and is active in her church and community. She still travels to SA regularly to do mission work and to provide continuing education to health care workers.
Clif Ingram moved to SA in 1999 as a missionary with the International Mission Board, SBC. His assignment was to plant churches in and around Pretoria. In praying about a strategy to reach an area with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Clif began to understand the need for churches to provide care for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. In early 2001, through a series of events that only God could orchestrate, he identified a way to help the people in one small area of Southern Africa by starting an all-inclusive care facility, the Mmametlhake Family Care Centre.
Having grown up all over the world, and having served as a missionary in both Western Europe and Southern Africa, Clif felt God leading him back to the United States in 2006 where he now pastors a local church. Being acquainted with multiple cultures, and understanding how God loves and wants to bless people at their point of need, Clif continues to be passionate about his work in ministry.
Marion Williams is a certified public accountant who has worked 43 years for both publicly and privately held companies. He worked 26 years for a large international oil and gas company in various capacities. He spent three-and-a-half years living in London, England as Vice President and Controller of the company's European and African operations. He resided in Norway four-and-a-half years as Vice President and Finance Manager of the Norwegian operations.
During his time in London, his work responsibilities required him to travel to various countries in West Africa. During those trips he saw first hand the difficult living conditions of many residents of developing countries.
Marion has been a board member of HIHIA since the inception of the foundation. After learning of HIHIA's goals for HIV/AIDS education and awareness, he felt led by God to participate.
Cecil Ingram spent a career working his way up from roustabout to supervising a regional office for a large international oil and gas company. He spent a number of years in Libya, working with Libyans in a production field. Later, he worked as part of a team that pioneered oil production in the Norwegian North Sea. There, he supervised people from several different nations.
After retirement, Cecil recruited and led a mission team to work alongside his son, Clif, for a short-term mission project in SA. While there, he observed the work of the Mmametlhake Family Care Centre firsthand. He was a major encourager during the development of the vision for an HIV/AIDS centre and has served on the Board since its inception.
John L. Moore is a graduate of A&M in Building Construction Engineering, and has been a successful home builder, developer and real estate broker in the Dallas/Ft Worth area for over 30 years. Along with Ann, his wife for more than 40 years, he has two children and three grandchildren. John's son, a lawyer, acts as HIHIA's attorney. John brings entrepreneurial skills, business acumen and a strategic, forward thinking perspective to the Board.
John is actively involved in his local church, having served as a deacon for more than 30 years.
Debra J. (Deb) Lowery started her career in the real estate business eventually becoming VP of property management for a real estate firm. In 1993, she and her husband, Dan, started their own company, DJL Property Services, Inc., which specialized in real estate services and small business consulting.
Deb was looking for deeper involvement in God's work when she met Andy and Gay Wilkinson. She and Dan became involved with HIHIA soon thereafter and she joined the Board in 2007.
Deb has made several trips to SA to oversee the work of the Mmametlhake Family Care Centre and to volunteer her skill sets in training and consulting. Her ultimate mission is the discipleship of all nations, bringing the gospel to bear on every aspect of life and thought until the Lord returns.