Project: Health reporting in Cape Town, South Africa.
People: Staff at Cape Times newspaper; interviewees; religious leaders; newspaper readers.
As a reporter covering efforts to control HIV and AIDS in South African townships, I regularly saw individual religious groups provide generous services for their communities. When I told my editor that I was surprised not to find interfaith organizations that were pooling their resources, he said: “But that’s just not how things are done here.”
Not quick to take him at his word, I spent the next month of weekends at Masses, mosques, and health conferences. I found a group of progressive religious leaders who had combined their health services and were willing to talk about their efforts for the Cape Times’ Saturday magazine.
The feature that followed invited much more controversy than my other stories, but it excited a group of area imams and rabbis so much that they collaboratively appealed for and won grant funding to offer clinical care and counseling.