Category Archives: past

Report No. 3: The admission process to join Amitofo Care Centre

In October I had the chance to accompany Martha Gaingos, the social worker at ACC Namibia, during the admission process for Amitofo Care Centre. Parents or the persons responsible for a child can contact Martha and inform her that they want to have their child educated in the Care Centre. In a first step, all interested persons are collected in a list and clustered according to region. The applications are collected till the end of October.

In the following weeks, Martha and the director (or another observer) drive to the applicants to see the environment in which the child is educated. This measure shall help to identify the real vulnerable children with focus on orphans or half-orphans. Before the visit starts, it has to be clarified which language is spoken in the family as not everybody is able to speak Afrikaans or English. Martha speaks Damara. But apart from that, there are several additional languages and in case of need somebody has to join the trip in order to translate. Usually, one of the caregivers can serve as
translator as they are coming from different tribes.

The next challenge is to find the applicants. Some of them live in slums, which are sometimes illegal and not registered. Consequently, it is difficult and time consuming to find the respective shack. Before you find somebody you need to ask a lot of people, then finally we are sitting in front of a shack. The living environment of the children is sometimes really devastating, as well for non-orphans. It is absolutely normal that mothers are left behind by the father already during pregnancy, without financial support. The mothers do not have work, so that some of them are really struggling.
During the visit, ACC Namibia presented with all specialities and possibilities (e.g. the Chinese language lessons). The parents or guardians shall know who is taking care of the children. Of course questions from their side are welcome. Afterwards, Martha interviews the parents using a questionnaire, which refers among other things to the psychic and physical health of the children, their environment or as well how the guardians earn their living. In a last step, the children and their direct environment are photographed.

When all the home visits are done, a committee consisting of director, Martha and the other observers/translators decides which children will finally join ACC Namibia. 40 children will have the chance to join the school in 2018, but Martha already faces 100 applications. In December, all applicants will be informed of the decision of the committee.
It is a time consuming and intense process, requiring a lot of energy of all participants. But nobody complains, quite the contrary the necessity of the process it is emphasized.

Today my interview partner is Martha Gaingos, the social worker. She is 58 years old and Damara speaking Namibian.

Q: Martha, since when do you work for ACC Namibia?


A: I work for ACC Namibia since June 2016

Q: Which criteria do you apply during the home visits?
A: Our first focus is on orphans and half-orphans. So in case that a respective application is made, it is almost 100% sure that this application is accepted. But a lot of parents and guardians apply while the children are neither orphans nor half-orphans. In these cases the home visits help us to identify vulnerable children suffering from extreme poverty, where parents sometimes cannot afford the living of the child and do not have enough money for food or even water! Other children live in a surroundings which puts them in danger, e.g. when we have the impression of abuse. In these cases, we also accept the applications as far as possible.

Q: What are your tasks apart from the home visits and the selection process?
A: The well being of the children is my main task. I have to make sure for example that the children are safe in the Centre, and for example the nannies treat them well and that teachers do not beat them. I talk to all of them, asking for their observations. If they inform me of any child making an unhappy impression I will try to find out the reason and, consequently, as well a solution. I also talk to the children, they know that they can come to me with their complaints.

Q: What is the Namibian government doing to improve the situation of the children?
A: Not so much. We appreciate that Amitofo Care Centre received the approval and was able to become active. But apart from that, the situation for the children would be worse without the help of ACC Namibia and similar organization.

Continue reading Report No. 3: The admission process to join Amitofo Care Centre

Report No. 2: The school — GERMAN VISITOR BEATRIX AT AMITOFO CARE CENTRE NAMIBIA

My second week at Amitofo in Namibia starts with an award ceremony. The second trimester just finished, so it is a good moment. In each class 3 prizes will be distributed: for the best performance, for the best development and for the best behaviour. There are 3 classes, which means 9 prizes will be given. The pupils are not aware of anything this Monday morning. But it is clearly extraordinary that the director, Min Chen, is in the courtyard, talking there with Paul Frederik Damaseb, the school principal. The children are asked to come together in front of the stage which is located in the middle of the courtyard. Paul enters the stage and asks the children at the beginning to sing some songs. They are absolutely enthusiastic in following his request. Afterwards, Paul increases the tension of the children by starting to give little hints that a secret is waiting for them this morning. At the end he lets the cat out of the bag and all children start to beam. Some literally start jumping from one foot to the other, hoping that their name as well will be mentioned. The prizes are distributed. Not every hope is satisfied. But after a short moment of disappointment you can see the change in the children`s faces and that they start to share the delight of the happy ones. The director holds a little speech. The celebratory moment is over.
The Namibian school system disposes of the grades 1 – 12. For some years now the visit of school is free of charge. But because of the difficult financial situation it is currently considered to reinstall school fees. Visiting school is compulsory.
The Yuan Jue Private School, which is financed by Amitofo Care Centre, offers currently three classes: one pre-primary grade 0 with 23 children and two grade 1 classes with totally 31 children. The next school year will start in January 2018 and by then the first grade 2 class shall be offered. It is the explicit target of Min Chen to offer the complete Namibian curriculum in the school. All grades (0 – 12) shall be offered within the next years, thus offering the children the possibility of a continuous education in a safe environment with stable structures and known friends. An education which even exceeds the curriculum of public schools as the children benefit from an almost daily martial-arts- and Chinese-training as well as from an ethics- and meditation classes given by a Shifu (= respectful way to address a teacher). These lessons are not about religion but about the sharing of values and the learning of meditation as an art to achieve a balanced and focussed mind.
To offer all grades means a large extension of the school. It is planned to offer 500 places for pupils at the Yuan Jue Private School. Teachers as well as all the other staff – e.g. kitchen assistants or cleaning staff – needs to be increased accordingly. In consequence Amitofo Care Centre and Yuan Jue Private School will become increasing importance as employers of the region.
But for the time being these are still plans. Currently, there are fifty four 6-8 years old children, who have to be provided. So caregivers take care of them when they are not in school. Caregivers are young women originating from the different Namibian tribes. Each caregiver is looking after 8 children, doing homework with them, comforting them and sleeping directly next door to them. This measure shall make sure that it remains normal for the children to talk in their native language and to sing their own songs. It is not the target of Amitofo to disconnect the children, it is the target to teach them diversity. And their native culture is of course part of it.
Today`s interview is with school principal Paul Frederik Damaseb. He is 63 years old and is Namibian talking Damara.
Q: Paul, since when do you work for Yuan Jue Private School?
A: I have started to work here around June 2016.

Q: What is your educational background?
A: I was teacher for 37 years, also in the function of a principal. And for some years I was the mayor of Okahandja.

Q: The children are coming from difficult environments: What are the consequences?
A: First of all it is sad to see that not all children have similar chances. Some children are coming from a really poor environment and it is good to see that Amitofo brings at least some of them back into the system. Sometimes they show deficits in cooperation or in adjusting to the new environment. In these cases, it is of course helpful to have a long experience. It will support you in finding ways of solution. Sometimes we do extra classes in the afternoon to help the children to adjust, sometimes we ask other schools for help. Here, in Okahandja, there is a good exchange within the schools. Teachers from other schools are willing to come and support us in case of emergency.

Q: The curriculum is extended compared to the curriculum of Namibian public schools and offers for example classes in meditation: Do you see any effect on the children?
A: Yes, indeed. You can notice that the children become more focussed and that they calm down. The Kung-Fu-lessons provide them with a good physical fitness.

Q: Does it make a difference for you to work for a Buddhist organization?
A: No, not at all. For me it is a question of values and of the target. We all are working for the best of children and to reach this goal it does not make a difference if you work for a Buddhist or a Christian or whatever organization. Continue reading Report No. 2: The school — GERMAN VISITOR BEATRIX AT AMITOFO CARE CENTRE NAMIBIA

Report Part 1 – German visitor Beatrix at Amitofo Care Centre Namibia

Finally, in the early morning of 22 September 2017, I arrive in Windhoek, Namibia. 6.30 a.m. Dawn offers a variety of colours between grey and rose, the coming heat of the day can already be felt in the cool morning hours. Swallows change direction in the very last moment before crashing in me. These are my first impressions of Namibia after leaving the plane. Min Chen, the Taiwanese deputy director of Amitofo Care Centre, picks me up and drives me to the Care Centre. It is located close to Okahandja, at street C 31. It is a very undulating road and on top of one of its „waves“. I can see all of a sudden the red and blue roofs of the centre. Driving down the wave let them disappear immediately.

We arrive at noon, resting time for employees and children: There is nothing around but savannah. The first thing you will note after stepping out of the car is this incredible silence. Now and than a bird, now and than an insect, very rarely a car passing by. Nothing else. You get used to this silence quickly: In the second night the flap of a moth will make me wake up – and I live in 50 m distance to a highway in Germany ….

Min is leading me around, showing me the centre: The centre contains of various building complexes. There are for big halls: the multifunction hall, the gym hall, the warehouse and the restaurant/administration hall. All of them huge. The rooms for employees and guests are behind. The centre is giving work to 11 employees from various Asian countries and 23 local employees. Currently, some positions are still vacant and the director is looking for more local staff to be employed.

The dormitories and class rooms of the kids are located in separated buildings, which are grouped around a inner courtyard. All rooms are airy and of sufficient size. 54 children aged between 6 -8 years are currently living in the centre, visiting pre-school and school (grade 0 + 1), learning amongst other things English, Mathematics, Chinese, Kung Fu. Their education at the school is cost free and is made possible by donations.

Then I have got the chance to meet employees and children. The warm welcome helps to feel comfortable. The food is tasty and the rooms are nice. So the big adventure which I would like to share with you can begin.

I will pick up certain topics and present them to you. Each report will also introduce one of the employees at care centre and of course this time we will start with the director, Min Chen.
Min Chen is 42 years old and comes from Taiwan. She is working for Amitofo Care Centre since 2009. At the beginning she was in the administration area. As a next step she decided to take over the position of a director of Amitofo Care Centre Namibia when it was offered to her.

Q: Min, when and how did you first came in touch with Amitofo Care Centre?
A: My first contact was indeed a professional one: I was looking for a job as a designer and a friend of mine knew somebody at Amitofo. She put us in touch and that is how the cooperation started.

Q: You are living and working now in Namibia for 2 years: What was your biggest challenge until now?
A: One of the biggest topics that occurs when working in a different country are the intercultural differences. It takes a while to understand the different values and mindsets – on both sides. It is our ambition to offer a good working atmosphere for local employees and for those employees coming from different countries. So understanding and respect are needed. It is not always easy but we are on a good way. Bureaucracy is another challenging topic: To get acquainted with new legislations and regulations is a hard and difficult job. We are happy that the Namibian people are so friendly and patient and always willing to answer our questions.

Q: How does the integration of the care centre into the Namibian surrounding work out?
A: We have local volunteers who are our board members. We are supporting three soup kitchens, we receive donated wheelchairs, which we distribute. To find the receivers, people in need can send in an application. We will visit them to check the situation in order to make sure that all donations really go to the people in need. And we organise international events, where donors and people from Namibia come together.

Q: What are the ambitions of Amitofo as a Buddhist organisation?
A: At the beginning there were fears that Amitofo’s target might be to do missionary work. This is definitely not the case. Our interest is to provide the children with the possibilities offered by a good education and a safe environment. We want to create an open mindset in them which is open to other cultures and helps them get an international vision of the world.

Q: Which steps are planned next?
A: We will apply to implement the grades 2 – 7 step by step in order to provide the complete Namibian school curriculum. Further constructions are ongoing, as it is our goal to offer domicile for more children. And of course we continue our current program. That means we currently look for children to join our school for grade 0 + 1. Applications were made and we are going to visit their homes together with a social worker to make sure that we choose those children with the highest need.

Q: What do you demand of yourself and of your employees?
A: I am happy when I see that people are passionate in what they are doing. It is great to see an international community growing together and learning from each other.

Q: What did you expect for yourself when you accepted to work in Namibia?
A: I had a certain vision in mind when I accepted my position as a director. There was a certain clash with reality after my arrival but it is my ambition to solve all the problems and to create an open and respectful environment focussing on the benefit of the children.

Continue reading Report Part 1 – German visitor Beatrix at Amitofo Care Centre Namibia

Beatrix is going to support ACC Namibia for 2 1/2 Months

In May 2017 we met Beatrix at the Vesakhfest in Bochum. ACC Germany had followed an invitation to the ceremony in Bochum.
In a personal conversation she showed her interest as a volunteer in Africa.
To the joy of all she goes on 21.09. for 2 1/2 months to ACC Namibia and will support the director in many fields.
Before her departure, she paid a visit to ACC Germany e.V. in Düsseldorf. On this occasion, we were able to hand over the stationery we
prepared for children and staff in Namibia to her that she can passes over upon her arrival in Okahandja.
We sincerely wish her a good time !

Continue reading Beatrix is going to support ACC Namibia for 2 1/2 Months

Lecture: Reborn of used cables — Muxiang Kang

Lecture: Reborn of used cables

The cables were in use from the Taipei 101 and transported 13 million guests.
A total of 480 kilometers of cables lay in the camp and wait anew.
Artist Muxiang Kang has worked 1 1/2 years to clean the hard cables
and transformed them in different figures.

Speaker: Mr Muxiang Kang
Venue and time:
Sun. July 30, 2017
14: 30-16: 30
Amitofo Care Centre Germany e. V.
Sedanstr. 1, 40217 Düsseldorf

Organizer: Alumni Rhine-Taipei Chinese School
German-Chinese Businesswomen Association Middle

Participation fee: 10€

Please fill in the form in the link.
https://goo.gl/forms/bGny1WRNWL5ntsKE3
Contact person:
Lili Chen: chen@jj-computer.com

Dear ACC friends,

Christmas is coming and an eventful year 2016 comes to an end.
The end of the year is a moving moment:
Let the past revive and look with curiosity at the coming.
The ACC team is very grateful for the trustworthy and great support this year.

We wish you a harmonious and merry Christmas and your family and friends
For the new year success, satisfaction and health.

Here are two events in January 2017, we would like to invite you to join:
For participation we kindly ask for a call or a short mail, thank you very much.
1.
Sa, 14 January 2017, 14:00 – 16:00
Sedanstr. 1, 40217 Düsseldorf, Germany
Theme:
TCM treats the disease
Tai-Chi heals the character
Buddhist Dharma saves lives
Speaker: Prof. Cheng, Lijun
2.
Sa, 28 January 2017, 14:00 – 18:00
Sedanstr. 1, 40217 Düsseldorf, Germany
Theme: Celebration to the Chinese New Year 2017

What means Heart Sutra:

Date: Sun. June 5th 2016, 14:00-16:00
Subject: Spiritual Journey and Inspiration by Heart Sutra
Speaker: William Kuo
Participation is free, reservation requested. Thank you!
Tel: 0211-464170

What means Heart Sutra:
The Heart Sutra shows us how we can free ourselves from suffering. The cause of the suffering- because we divided the world into: „Self“ and „Not-Self“, and we deeply believe in „Self“.
Because of „ignorance“ , we are attracted by the appearances, mistaking illuson to be reality, then we fall into Samsara. Heart Sutra teaches us, how we can release from suffering and how we can escape from the Samsara.
At the end, we reach the path to enlightenment and we become like Buddha, where we help others to be enlightened.

Amitofo Care Centre informed recently

I would like to give you on overview…

 

October 25, 2015

Dear ACC friends

Friday a week ago I came back from an African tour. With a group of like-minded we visited care centers of the ACC in Malawi, Swaziland and Lesotho.
I want you like to give an overview of the daily lives of children. Furthermore, you will gain in-depth information of the ACC group and their previous work in Africa.

I would be very happy to welcome you in one of the following cities:
1. Hamburg 10/31/2015 at 15:00:
Sign in with Mrs. Chien: 0151-25404593 ichyufang@gmail.com, District: Großhansdorf
(Public transport: With U1 from Hamburg central station to Großhansdorf, then 3 minutes walk.)
2. Düsseldorf 11/7/2015 at 14:00:
AWO Düsseldorf, Siegstr. 2 40219 Düsseldorf
Sign in with Mr. Tai: 0173-9999368 brucetai@gmx.net
(Public transport:. With tram 708, 719 from Düsseldorf main station to Wupperstr, then walk 2 min.)
3. Frankfurt 11/13/2015 17:00:
Taipehvertretung in Germany, the Frankfurt office: Friedrichstr. 2-6
Sign in with Mr. Tai: 0173-9999368 brucetai@gmx.net
Frankfurt 11/14/2015 at 14:00:
Europe Guanyin Buddhist Association, Kruppstr. 122 60388 Frankfurt;
Sign in with Mr. Jiang: jiangbo1963@googlemail.com
(Public transport:. With U4 from Frankfurt main station to the stop Kruppstr, then walk 8 min.)
4. Berlin 11/21/2015 at 15:00:
Ming’s Jiaozi, hotpot n more; Otto-Suhr-11-13 10585 Berlin All
Sign in with Mr. Tai: 0173-9999368 brucetai@gmx.net
(Public transport. By bus 245 from S + U Berlin Hbf about 20 minutes to Marchstr, then Fugweg 6 min.)