Reaching out across the globe
“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.