Upendo Village: Kenyans Helping Kenyans Living with HIV/AIDS
Life and hope for Kenyans living with HIV and AIDS

About Us

Upendo Village is a project designed by Kenyans to respond at the local level to the needs of Kenyans living with HIV / AIDS.  Clients are surrounded with loving care, and are given resources and access to programs that improve health, restore self-respect, and give hope.

Upendo means "love" in the Kiswahili language, and adding the word "village” signifies the importance of a global response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Africa.


To exhibit love through action in our community by providing compassionate care and quality services of counseling, education and housing for women, men and children living with HIV and AIDS.


To portray and provide loving care to women, men and children, who have HIV and AIDS so that they can live with dignity, self-esteem, self sufficiency and respect.  We are committed to networking with other agencies in providing healthcare so that our clients can enjoy a free and full life.

Our History

Sister Florence Muia: "It took about 15 years of silence on HIV & AIDS epidemic in the country before the then President of Kenya, Mr. Daniel Arap Moi, acknowledged HIV and AIDS as a ‘national disaster’ in 1999.  The many years of silence allowed the disease take root in the country.  Watching all the suffering, I did not want to sit on the other side of the fence; I strongly felt I wanted to get involved with the fight against HIV and AIDS. I realized that I needed to establish a Kenyan project by and for the Kenyan people. My vision was for a safe haven for women, men, and children affected by the disease. I wanted to call this sanctuary ‘Upendo Village.’”  (Click here to read the whole story.) 

Read through our timeline.

*Important Note: While Upendo Village began as a dream that came to fruition through a partnership between the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi, and the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, Upendo Village does not discriminate against any faith, creed, skin color, age, gender or sexual orientation.  The loving care and resources provided by Upendo Village are extended to all that seek assistance.

Upendo Village Staff Members


Guy J. Vaccaro, Ph.D.

Executive Director/President

Florence Muia, A.S.N., PhD.

Chief Ministry Officer

Emily España

Marketing Coordinator


Upendo Village Board of Directors


Guy J. Vaccaro, Ph.D. - Executive Director/President

Upendo Village, Nfp


Beatrice M. Hernandez, O.S.F., M.D. – Chairperson

Wheaton Franciscan Sisters former Provincial Directress

Physician - Hematology / Oncology


Kathleen McGowan – Vice Chairperson

Retired Executive Director, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet

Cheryl J. Blum, M.S. - Secretary

Retired Vice President, Technology and Standards

Telecommunications Industry Association


Stephen A. Monaco, B.B.A. – Treasurer

Retired Corporate Vice President, Finance & Accounting

Motorola, Inc.

Wheaton Franciscan Covenant Member


Brother Bede Baldry, F.S.C., M.A.

De LaSalle Christian Brothers


Brenda J. Bowers, Ph.D., RN

Senior Vice President, System Chief Nursing Officer

Wheaton Franciscan Services, Inc.


Sarah S. Herzog

Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Wheaton Franciscan Services, Inc.


Patricia Merryweather

Executive Director at Telligen, Medicare Quality Improvement

Organization for Illinois, Iowa, and Colorado


Charles F. Millington, CPA, MBA, CFP®

President, Millington Financial Advisors, LLC.


John Plackett

Retired, The Plackett Group