2013-03-10 The vision for ACC by Master Hui Li
The development of Amitofo Care Centre (ACC) has been one of the most unique experiences in my life. It started with a thought which became an idea, and as time went by this idea became a will, a vision and ultimately actions. Other thoughts, willingness and affinities began to emerge, resulting in the holistic vision we have today for ACC.
ACC is essentially made up of three components: the care centres, the schools and our support to the Community-Based Organisations. Focusing on poor rural areas in Africa where many parents have abandoned their children, each ACC caters for approximately 500 orphans who become part of a ‘bigger family’ where they have to take care of each other. In order to provide holistic care, ACC decided to build primary and secondary schools with the aim to provide the kids with quality education. These schools provide curriculum that is aligned to the national standard of the respective country, together with extra-curricular activities which promote a disciplined and purposeful life at ACC. One of the tools used is the practice of Buddhist teachings which the kids need to learn and embrace until the age of 18, after which they can choose the religion they would like to devote to.
ACC has about 40 hectares of land at each centre. Initially the developments focus on establishing care centres and schools but as the number of kids is expected to reduce in future, we will probably transform and focus on establishing medical schools, hospitals and other social services for the local communities. The infrastructures at ACC contain a mixture of Chinese traditional design blended with elements of the African heritage. We feel that it is very important to respect and preserve the African culture hence we emphasise on extracting the wisdom and essence from both cultures to nurture and cultivate our kids.
Infrastructure is like a ‘silent language’ that spreads a strong message and symbolises the essence of a culture. Despite the limited budget we have, we were able to demonstrate the essence of both the Chinese and African cultures by using materials such as bricks, wood and stones. The care centres have a blue roof, symbolising the kind of freedom and lightness in life which we would like our kids to have; the admin building has a red roof, representing the love and passion which our volunteers possess; and the schools have green roof which symbolises the importance of nature – the nature of oneself and the need to take care of mother nature.
The wisdom from Buddhist teachings is finally delivering value to the people in Africa, and ACC is a platform where the kids can cultivate their wisdom, love, compassion and willingness to help others. This would create a new generation of Africans who will continue to propagate Buddhist teaching and elongate the life of wisdom on this continent. Most important, we hope that they will make a significant contributions towards addressing issues such as poverty, war, lawlessness and epidemics on the continent.