You might know Danai Gurira from "The Walking Dead."

She plays the fierce, zombie-slaying Michonne on TV, but this Zimbabwean-American actress is fighting to rid the world of an epidemic in real life.

Image via Gene Page/AMC.


Gurira grew up in southern Africa in the 1980s and '90s and witnessed the horrors brought about by the rise of HIV/AIDS in local communities.

She's since decided to use her platform to help.

Image via iStock.

Gurira is an advocate for Nyumbani Village in Kenya — the first village in Africa founded for children and elders living with HIV/AIDS.

When the pandemic began to rise in Africa, a startling number of children born with HIV were abandoned. Many more who lost their parents to AIDS were turned away from orphanages. Families were fractured as middled-aged people died, leaving behind the very young and elderly.

The founder of Nyumbani, Father Angelo D'Agostino, first opened an orphanage on a shoestring budget that only supported two children. After he died, his organization realized his greatest dream: a holistic, beautiful village for orphans and grandparents living with HIV/AIDS.

Located on more than 1,000 acres of land, Nyumbani Village is a vibrant, sustainable community complete with free schooling, health care, and psychosocial support.

It's a thriving hub for innovative green technology and building methods where residents grow and harvest their own food. Instead of housing children in traditional orphanages, Nyumbani prefers to create loving families by pairing kids with grandparents who also have AIDS.  

Photo via Ben Curtis/CBS News/AP.

Nyumbani — which means "home" in Swahili — has since given thousands of children and elders affected by AIDS a place to live and thrive. It’s also become a model for other African villages who are affected.

Currently 69% of the 34 million AIDS-affected people worldwide live in sub-Saharan Africa. That's why we need to support organizations like Nyumbani.

Gurira believes that looking out for others is central to the spirit of African culture.

"I love what Nyumbani's doing because it brings back the integrity of that really essential component of African life, which is, we take care of each other," Gurira said.

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