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As part of it’s Social & Corporate responsibility, The MSLA has decided to offer support to The Friends of the Orphanage of Hearts, Burundi. This support was originally agreed at the MSLA 2014 AGM and again at the MSLA 2015 AGM. The support is financial; currently a one-time single financial donation in any given year. The friends of the orphanage of hearts Burundi june newsletter can be found Here.

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The Friends of the Orphanage of Hearts, Burundi (Charity Registration: 1154061) is the charity chosen for MSLA support as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility commitment.

The Trustees of the Friends of the Orphanage of Hearts really appreciate the generous donation of £2000, received in July 2014 just before the most recent visit to the orphanage.
 
As well as using the funds raised to support them in accessing materials and learning skills to build their own business and become self-supporting as planned, they were also able to help them in other ways with support from some member companies.
This included taking out laptops that had passed their shelf life for pharmaceutical company purposes, but are very much cutting edge technology in Burundi. If the children are able to learn basic coding and search engine optimisation techniques it will generate another form of income for them, as Burundi is poised to get broadband connectivity soon.

Christine Mackay, Chair of the Trustees, reports that funds were also used to purchase and donate mosquito nets, mattresses and new bedding to cater for an immediate critical need, and the ‘before and after’ photographs are on our website (www.orphanageofhearts.org).

“The children’s appetite for learning is fantastic and we spent much time teaching English conversation. When we arrived they all knew words like Arsenal and Manchester United, and by the end of our visit they were rushing to greet us in enthusiastic English. We took a dozen English French dictionaries with us, and they were very prized gifts.

Perhaps the most memorable event for the children was that we met an FA Coach while we were there and invited him to the orphanage for a training session. As he had previously played for Liverpool he was considered a superstar, and they all had a fantastic time”.

The children that we support are all in great need, being orphaned by the genocide, HIV/AIDs and extreme poverty. One child was even orphaned because of his diabetes and the cost of trying to ensure he had the correct diet. Although he still spends time in the hospital when the orphanage can’t feed him properly, his life chances are improved by the support he gets from living there.

Some photos and a brief outline of our trip are attached, but please browse the website for more pictures and information.

All trustees self-fund their visits, personally oversee spending of money received, and we pay or receive no salaries, so the orphanage really do benefit directly from all donations.

 

Getting to know the children

In July 2014, Christine and the other Trustees made a number of visits to the Orphanage of Hearts, Burundi. While some of the visits were official charity visits, the Trustees all wanted to get to know the children more. 
On the Sunday, we were privileged to share a meal with the children that we provided. For the first time in ages, the children were able to have meat as part of their meal.

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The children eat all meals sitting on the ground, eating the food by hand from a large plate positioned in the middle of groups of children. The meals are cooked outside as you can see.

 

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Here’s 2 year old Michael, having pinched one of the footballs that FA Coach Andy Harris provided. When we visited the Orphanage in 2013, Michael was still a baby, having been found abandoned at the bottom of a ditch. Despite being unwell for a while, Michael is now a picture of health and very lively.


Marino was found having been thrown over a fence and is now 5yrs old. Diella is 3 years old.

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Jean is 6 years old, Regis is 8yrs old and Donatien is 6 years old.

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Ange-Nicole is aged 8yrs, as is Lazare, and Presley is 12 years old.


A lot of the boys were big football fans, supporting teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and one boy, perhaps surprisingly said he supported Stoke City, as Adrian discovered as he talked with them.

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Christine meanwhile, was followed by a lot of the children all wanting to blow bubbles

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It was an amazing visit and inspiring to see how the simplest of things made them happy. We hope to continue to support the children to make choices for their own futures, in the way that we take for granted in the UK.

About the Friends of the Orphanage of Hearts, Burundi
Chair of Trustees – Christine Mackay Charity Registration 1154061


Mission


Our mission is to support the Orphanage of Hearts in becoming a self-sustaining community.  In the short term we aim to raise as much money as possible to help meet their costs and debts.

In the medium term we aim to support their plans for starting small businesses to generate income for themselves, whilst continuing to help with their immediate needs and those of the local street children

Our long term goal is for them to become completely self-sustaining, so that our continued help can meet extraordinary expenses such as their medical bills as well as non-urgent needs, such as school uniforms or Christmas gifts. We also support a wider population of street children in Bujumbura when funds allow.

Formation of the Charity

We had signed up for a project to teach business skills to students in Burundi, but we were also aware that as it was the fourth poorest country on the planet we might be able to help in other ways.  One of our trustees discovered the Better Life Cycle charity blog about the Orphanage of Hearts, and, having packed a bag of toys and clothing, decided to visit them during the trip in July 2013.

It was very obvious that this home for 76 children was urgently in need of support.  Albert, the founder, came close to tears as he described how the children arrived at the orphanage, from hospitals when their mothers died, some who were abandoned in the wood by the lake, and even babies who were left in holes in the ground. The youngest child was abandoned as he has diabetes, and the cost of providing medicines and an appropriate diet was beyond the ability of his mother.

The children are surviving on one meal of rice a day, with occasional sugar if they are lucky, all cooked in a cut down oil drum in the garden. Any leftovers are given to the street children that they have no space for, and who knock on the gates at noon every day in the hope of some food.  There are just three bedrooms, one for girls, one for boys, and one for the toddlers.  Mattresses cover the floors from wall to wall, so it is impossible to hang adequate mosquito nets.  They do not have equipment for the children; in fact they don’t have anything, and despite education being free they struggle to provide school uniforms and stationery for the orphans to attend school.

Despite the hardship and the stress they gave us a warm welcome with fantastic singing, and they told us about their hopes for the future; going to school, going to college, staying healthy and looking out for each other – the usual ambitions for children and young teenagers.

We knew we could not help all the people in Burundi who live in extreme poverty, but thought that maybe we could help this community of children, cared for by six committed volunteers led by the extraordinary Albert, who has dedicated his life and all of his resources to giving a start in life to as many children as possible, many of whom would have died without the Orphanage of Hearts.

History of the Orphanage


The Orphanage of Hearts (Orphelinat de Cœurs Unis de Jésus et de Marie) is a home for street and orphaned children in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi.


The Orphanage was founded in January 2000 by Albert Ntakimazi, a man with great compassion for the many children left on street with very little, if any, fundamental rights.


Since opening, its main role is to welcome, supervise and mentor homeless orphans. Today the home has over 70 children, roughly mixed between boys & girls aged 0 to 17.


The orphanage’s peak for admissions came during the socio-political crisis experienced by Burundi in recent years; violence, epidemics and collapse of living standards led to the emergence of children left with no one but themselves. The magnitude of HIV/AIDS has also contributed to a major deterioration of family life in Burundi. It undermines economic development and affects society on all levels.


It was because of this situation that the Orphanage was opened to provide accommodation, food and essential mentoring to future generations.

How to Donate


If you would like to donate, one off donations can be made through our PayPal account which can be accessed via our website www.orphanageofhearts.org, or via justtextgiving by texting FOHB14 £* to 70070 (where * is the amount you wish to donate, e.g. £5, £10).


Regular monthly payments can be set up via the Charity Aid Foundation, where debit and credit card donations are also accepted. You can find us at www.cafonline.org and search for Friends of the Orphanage of Hearts (1154061), or via a direct link from our website. Please tick the gift aid box if you’re a tax payer and the charity will receive an extra 25%.


Finally, if you buy online there is a website called givingabit.com which has links to many major retailers, from Marriott to Asos. Each time you buy something a % is donated to the charity you have nominated.

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