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US first lady donates $500,000 to Catholic AIDS program

.- The United States first lady, Laura Bush, pledged $500,000 to support a Catholic program in Tanzania that provides support to HIV/AIDS patients and their families. Tanzania was the second stop in the first lady’s three-nation goodwill tour of eastern and southern Africa, focused on education, HIV/AIDS and the advancement of women.

The program, called Pastoral Activities and for People with AIDS (PASADA), is run by the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam. Bush took a 30-minute tour of PASADA’s facilities with Tanzanian first lady, Anna Mkapa, and greeted some of its clients who were waiting for treatment.

Bush said she was impressed with the program. "With such an organization, hope triumphs over suffering," she remarked.

The Tanzanian first lady lauded the program, saying: "You give a lease to life to parents so that their children do not have to be orphans … and the nation the workers who, trained at great expense, who would have otherwise died prematurely.”

Yesterday, Bush visited educational centers on the predominantly Muslim and semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, before heading to Kigali to meet Rwandan first lady Jeanette Kagame and Britain’s first lady, Cherie Blair.

Just days earlier, hundreds of Muslims on Zanzibar protested the alleged desecration of the Koran by U.S. soldiers at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

Security for Bush’s tour of Tanzania was high as the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam was one of two U.S. diplomatic missions in Africa that was bombed by terrorists in 1998.

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