The Heartwood Orphan Home in ZuannaTown, Royesville, Liberia, was established in 2008 at Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana to meet the basic needs of about 50 young Liberian refugees. In May-June 2012 all children and staff began the process of voluntary repatriation through the UN to Liberia, after which the Home at Buduburam will be closed down. We currently have 19 children and youth at the Home, each having been identified as abandoned or orphaned children, in legitimate need of institutional assistance for provision of food, shelter, medical care, education, loving guardianship, and hope for a better tomorrow. Full time administrators and staff were chosen from among Liberian refugees at the Buduburam, who operate with transparency and are fully accountable to AHP Directors. Funding is provided entirely by private individual donors, with no government support. Our Home does not do adoptions at this time, though in time as we receive accreditation it may be an option for selected children, after the Liberian government establishes revised legislation for such. (For a more detailed account of the history, needs assessment, and establishment of the Home, scroll further down this page.)
ZuannaTown property for the Heartwood Orphan Home -May 2012
HISTORY OF THE
HEARTWOOD REFUGEE ORPHAN HOME
ESTABLISHING THE HOME: The Refugee Orphan Home at the Buduburam Refegee Camp in Ghana was established in 2008 to meet the basic needs of about 50 young Liberian refugees. These resiliant children were identified as abandoned or orphaned children, in legitimate need of oustide assistance for provision of food, shelter, medical care, education, loving guardianship, and hope for a better tomorrow. Full time administrators and staff were chosen from among Liberian refugees at the camp, who operate with transparency and are fully accountable to AHP Directors. Funding is provided entirely by private individual donors, with no government support. Our Home is not a government recognized "orphanage" in Ghana, and we do not engage in adoptions. In fact, we strive to help the children maintain healthy relationships within the community.
THE VISION: The vision for the Home has expanded as the needs of the children have evolved, and as political and social environments at the camp have worsened. Initially the mission was to prevent hunger and malnutrition, disease, exposure, illiteracy, and social neglect of our orphans. Mission accomplished. Then we began to move toward a larger vision of the full development of the child and self-sustainability of the Home, adding more educational opportunities with the Culture Troup (est. June 2009) and Vocational Training Center (est. March 2010), including sustainable income-generating projects for the youth, and comprehensive medical evaluations and treatment (est. Feb 2010). Despite the difficult operating conditions at the camp, we have found success in all of these efforts. But now our sights are set even higher: Liberia!
MOTHER LIBERIA: In March 2010 Andy Jones, AHP Exec. Director, and the Director of the Home, visited Liberia to determine the feasibility and appropriateness of permanently relocating the Home and the children from Buduburam to Liberia. They officially established the NGO in Liberia, traveled the country, met with key stakeholders in all ministries and levels of Liberian government, networked with like-minded NGOs with extensive experience with orphanages and repatriation of minors, and observed the general security, culture, and opportunities found in post-war Liberia. The clear conclusion, relative to remaining at Buduburam: Liberia offers the best likelihood for a successful, happy, productive future for our orphan children. With the well being of the children as our first priority (those at Buduburam and more in Liberia), and with the development of Liberia in scope, we set in motion a plan to make it happen.
In May 2011 October 2011 additional trips were taken to Liberia to make arrangements for the move. In May 2012 a 5 year lease was signed to secure the temporary location for the Home in Zuanna Town, Royesville, Liberia. In June 2012 the repatriation of all children and staff will take place, and by July 2012 the new Heartwood Orphan Home will be fully operation in its beautiful new location.
CURRENT NEEDS : The greatest need at the Refugee Orphan Home at this time is for financial contributions to finance the permanent establishment of the Home to a 10 acre parcel of land near the current location in Zuanna Town, Liberia. Please consider making a donation of to help us to develop the land and build the structures for all of Africa Heartwood Project's work in Liberia, at the heart of which is the Heartwood Orphan Home.
Images from the Budubram Orphanage (Oct 2008 and June 2009):
HISTORY: The first experience Andy and Kayla Jones, the founders of Africa Heartwood Project, had in Africa, was with Liberian orphans living at the Buduburam Refugee Camp outside of Accra, Ghana in 1999. An effort was made to identify orphan and unaccompanied children, get them enrolled in school for one year, and provide food, clothes, and hygiene kits. Thanks to the help of Liberians living at the Camp, kind-hearted family and friends who gave money, and LDS Charities in Ghana, initial efforts were successful. Unfortunately, time and money contraints didn't allow the Jones' to stay involved at the camp, until AHP was registered and a small amount of donated funds were available (thanks to Up With Kids and DjembeDirect.com customers).
NEEDS ASSESSMENT 2008:
In October 2008, Andy returned to the Camp and spent extensive time working with a small but dedicated group of Liberian refugees, self-organized as Children Humanitarian Assistance Program (CHAP), and a U.S. NGO, GRAACE. A needs assessment of orphan children and youth was completed, and a plan to provide for their immediate needs of shelter, water, food, and education was established. It was discovered that most of the young orphan children whom the Jones' had known on their first visit (1999) had passed away due to malnutrition and the lack of medical care. However, a few were still at the camp now in their teens, alive but still in great need. These orphans had been joined by many more children and youth orphans who had arrived to the camp after 1999. Despite worthy and helpful efforts of the UNHCR and other intervening agencies targeting mainly the repatriation, relocation, and integration of adult refugees, there continues to be a crisis for orphaned boys and girls.
Many of these resilient children and youth are sleeping under tables and in corners. Some have been shown kindness by strangers or friends of deceased family, who may offer shelter or some food. But all have one primary objective: find enough food to eat today. During the visit several of the orphans described how they "hustle" to get any money they can, by carrying items for people from the market, or begging, or working for others by vending items at the market. They are not enrolled in school; they have no immediate family at the camp who is able to care for them; many don't know if their families are still alive in Liberia as a result of the war. All are hungry, and all struggle to have any hope.
ESTABLISHING THE ORPHANAGE (update from 2008-2010): One older boy voiced his skepticism at yet another group of white people, come to the Camp to take their names on a list and snap photos, who would always disappear without providing any help. Andy explained, "I assured Eugene, and the other orphan boys and girls, that our intention was to help any way we could, and that we would start immediately. That day arrangements were made to lease a building large enough to house 40 orphans, and mattresses, cooking supplies, and a huge water tank were purchased for dedicated use at the Home. Eugene and others felt that at last God was hearing their prayers, and that there was hope for their future." The phased assistance program has begun, by establishing a Home and providing adequate shelter and bedding, clean water for drinking, bathing, and cooking, basic cooking supplies, and lock boxes for the children to store their personal belongings. Fifty boys and girls have been identified as orphans, and registered with CHAP, for residence at the Home. The orphans have elected their own Youth Leadership Council who are responsible for the day-to-day organization of the Home, have established their own rules of conduct, and are involved in the planning and execution of assistance provided to them.
SUSTAINING THE ORPHANAGE (update from 2010-2011): For many months financial support of the Refugee Orphan Home was unpredictable, but thanks to the gerosity of WorldNativity.com, DjembeDirect.com, Jan Jones, and other sustaining contributors, services to the children were able to continue and improve. Introduced in 2009, our Orphan Sponsorship Program extended the opportunity for individuals and families to be linked to specific orphans for ongoing social and financial support. As of Novemer 2011 all of the children have a sponsor, which provides basic financial security at the Home and a much needed connection between donor and beneficiary.
Refugee Orphan Home Sponsorship Program - Created Oct 2009
Video Slide Show of Photos from Oct 2008 to June 2009 - Created October 2009