Reach­ing out across the globe

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living -

“These chil­dren are here to show grat­i­tude to their spon­sor par­ents and let them know about their well­be­ing,” said Kimmy Wong, ACC Malaysia’s vice-sec­re­tary.

The chil­dren – 19 from Malawi and two from Le­sotho in south­ern Africa – will be spon­sored un­til they com­plete their se­condary school ed­u­ca­tion; those able to fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion to the ter­tiary level will be as­sisted fi­nan­cially.

In Africa, the chil­dren live in ACC cen­tres that func­tion as “chil­dren’s vil­lages”. A group of 12 to 16 chil­dren are put to­gether like a fam­ily, with one nanny, one “mummy”, and one child­care teacher who all live un­der one roof. Twelve of these fam­i­lies form a “vil­lage”, al­low­ing the chil­dren to ex­pe­ri­ence so­cial­i­sa­tion and the warmth of fam­ily life.

In ad­di­tion to their own tra­di­tions, the chil­dren are also ex­posed to Chi­nese cul­ture and Bud­dhist phi­los­o­phy. ACC’s web­site, iac­chq. org, em­pha­sises that none of the or­phans are ex­pected to take up Bud­dhism, as the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­spects re­li­gious free­dom; the chil­dren are ex­pected to choose their own re­li­gion as they en­ter adult­hood.

The ACC was founded by the Ven­er­a­ble Hui Li of Tai­wan, who worked in Africa in the early 1990s when the HIV/AIDS pan­demic was at its height, dec­i­mat­ing en­tire vil­lages and leav­ing hun­dreds of chil­dren with­out adult care.

Af­ter 10 years, the char­ity has es­tab­lished cen­tres in Le­sotho, Malawi, Mozam­bique, Namibia, and Swazi­land, and has helped, to date, some 8,000 chil­dren.

The Malaysian ACC head­quar­ters are in Klang, and there are of­fices in sev­eral states. The 21 chil­dren who were brought here will be vis­it­ing some of them to meet more spon­sors.

On July 11, the kids per­formed at the in­au­gu­ral char­ity din­ner of the VR Cul­tural and Creative As­so­ci­a­tion Malaysia at Wisma Hua Zong in Seri Kem­ban­gan, Se­lan­gor. The per­for­mance com­prised im­pres­sive Shaolin kung fu demon­stra­tions on stage.

Ac­cord­ing to ACC Malaysia vice-sec­re­tary Wong, “A Shaolin kung fu mas­ter was hired to teach them mar­tial arts in Africa. All the chil­dren take up mar­tial arts to toughen their im­mune sys­tem, as med­i­ca­tion is very ex­pen­sive over there.”

Jack Lim, ACC Malaysia ad­min­is­tra­tor, is cur­rently tak­ing the chil­dren on a tour of Jo­hor, Pe­nang, and Perak be­fore they fly off to In­done­sia, Sin­ga­pore, and Viet­nam.

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