The Amitofo Care Centre; ACC - which is comprised of an administration centre, children’s dormitories, youth dormitories, preparatory school, kindergarten, library, activity centre, medical centre, vocational training centre, religious centre, CBO, etc - is founded and directed by Buddhist clergy from the East with an aspiration and mission to directly rear and care for orphans of Africa within the humanitarian and educational umbrella. The main principles of ACC are based on local African culture, Chinese culture and Buddhist philosophy which are given to the orphans in need. This is considered a unique and remarkable characteristic of ACC.
After an arduous ten years ACC’s caring programme has spread from one location to a number of African countries benefitting thousands of children and adults alike. ACC’s compassionate and philanthropic foot-prints have been left not only in South Africa but also in Swaziland, Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, etc. as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and several South American countries as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The total orphans that ACC has adopted to date number around 3000.
The current ACC is in association with two charity institutes namely; the Yuan Tong Culture and Care Association (R.O.C.) and the ACC African Executive Association that continuously organise and manage ACC operations along with financial support.
Venerable Hui Li, born in Taiwan and tagged as the ‘African monk’, founded ACC specifically for African orphans in the early 90’s and is still the residing chairperson. With his enthusiasm and big heart to bring love and care to the orphans Ven. Hui Li has been awarded the “Loving of Life” medal by the Chou Ta-Kuan Foundation of Taiwan. He has also been invited by a number of First Ladies of certain African countries. Some of whom refer to him as the Buddhist Albert Sweitzer in praise of his significance and contributions thus far. Nowadays ACC, and Ven. Hui Li, is widely recognised as an international charity and educational institute and sponsored by numerous people in Asia.
ACC the Organisation
Ven. Hui Li, stepped foot in Africa from Taiwan in 1992 and witnessed the grief of AIDS on the helpless orphans left behind from its wake and the constant threat of disease and poverty on the majority of people. Stricken by the experience he vowed to give this life and after to heal and nurture the suffering in Africa using the Buddha Dharma. His first step was to build Nan Hua Temple; the first Mahayana Temple in South Africa. Then he founded the first Buddhist orphanage, Amitofo Care Centre, in Malawi and started to rear, educate and offer medical care to those in need as well as revive African culture. The well-rounded programmes and services ACC have are providing the orphans a safe and comfortable environment with sufficient opportunities to learn basic morality and insight through Buddhism and some life skills.
This is the goal of ACC; to bring up orphans with a healthy mental, physical and spiritual disposition.
The concept of ACC is based on a “Big Family” or “Children’s Village” idea. A group of 16-20 children are put together like a family with one nanny, one ‘mommy’, and one child-care teacher who all live under one roof. These adults are responsible for managing the home and taking care of the children. Twelve families will form a “Village” that provides a domestic atmosphere so that the orphans may experience the warmth of family. Consequently they may experience a social life, interacting with each other as well as learning the responsibility and obligations a resident ought to undertake.
Present and Future
At present the Head Quarters of ACC, the ACC African Executive Association, is located in South Africa. The ACC in Blantyre, Malawi, is in the process of building a staff dormitory and the Yuan Tong elementary school while in Lilongwe, Malawi, plans are being set up with regards to construction. The ACC in Harare, Zimbabwe, is undergoing phase one of its construction of 30 buildings expected to be completed by the end of the year. In Swaziland and Lesotho construction began in October 2008 with ambitions to start providing shelter for orphans in those regions after one year or so of construction.
In summary; ACC is an integration of mundane life with Dharma teachings as well as an exchange of bi-polar cultures with the focus being in Africa considering the present conditions of most of the 3rd world countries in Africa. ACC will continue to expand its mission and share its ideals and experiences to all 53 African countries. It is hoped that all the children will be capable of propagating their remarkable culture with the wisdom and essence of the Dharma along with upholding the vows of compassion and liberation for all beings. It is also hoped that the children will become the new African generation who posses the mind of gratitude and morality to enable the positive transition of a land of poverty and suffering to a land of abundance and fellowship; from a deserted land to a Land of Bliss in Africa.
With the support of committed sponsors, we have been able to nurture hope in Africa. With unconditional love and kindness, you have given some African orphans vitality in life!
Let us realise our intrinsic nature and continue on our path of cultivation in Africa with diligence and wisdom till the day dreams do come true.