Amitofo Care Center, Malawi
Malawi is a very poor, but very beautiful, inland country. The main commercial and industrial centre is the city of Blantyre, situated in the southern part of the country. Their biggest source of income is from their exports of tea, coffee and tobacco.
With a population of around 11 million people, it is a shocking fact that 40% of the population is HIV Positive, this equating to 4.4 million people. The result of this are 1.1million orphaned children, whose whole families, (in some cases) have died as a result of AIDS.
When Venerable Hui Li visited Malawi in 1998 for a donation of wheelchairs, he became aware of this problem and he decided that something had to be done for these children. He realized that there would be a whole generation of orphaned children, who, if they reached adulthood, would have no proper upbringing and very little education. The result of this could only be disastrous. It was from this motivation that the concept of the Amitofo Care Centers was born.
Ven. Hui Li lost no time in activating his plan. Following successful negotiations with Malawi’s First Lady, a parcel of land was donated for this project and the Ground Breaking Ceremony took place on 28 November 2002. Building began on the first Amitofo Care Center in the following year of 2003. All materials had to be imported and generous donors,
mainly from Taiwan provided the financial support in this regard.
Building materials were obtained from Mainland China, equipment from Taiwan, vehicles from Japan, Buddha statues from Thailand and general equipment and supplies from South Africa. Building has been ongoing now for 3 years and the first phase is nearly complete.
Each Amitofo Care Centre will be made up of small communities, with houses that will be home for 20 children and 2 foster parents. The children will attend local schools and in the afternoons, they will receive additional tuition in Chinese and Buddhism.
When the center is complete it should be able to look after 2000 children! Venerable Hui Li sees this just as the beginning. Eventually he intends having Amitofo Care Centers all over Africa. Although Malawi is the country with the biggest HIV infected population, many of the other countries have the same problem of orphaned children to cope with.
It is essential that at least a fair proportion of children who reach adulthood are educated and certainly literate and most important is that they have a strong moral foundation. If good values are not instilled into them, together with a sense of moral responsibility for each other, their future will be bleak indeed. Who will then be able to shoulder the social responsibilities of these countries in the future?
But with the word “Amitofo” springing from their lips, Africa may still become peaceful and productive in the years to come.
Should you wish to learn more about this project, then please contact Ms Y. L Ko at Nan Hua Temple. Tel. No: (013) 931-0009 Ext 316.