The dream for Angelic Ark was daunting but miraculously it is happening
Linet began visiting the HIV+ children after their discharge from the hospital, trying to find help for them, help that would include adequate food and follow up care. It became clear that for many of the children their homes were not safe and their basic needs were not being met. Some were kept home from school and made to do housework all day. Some of the children were being beaten. Often there was inadequate food. Linet felt she needed to create a home for these children – thus was born the idea for Angelic Ark. Linet and Francis, her husband, began in 2015 by renting an apartment next door to their own – with their own funds and the help of well wishers. They moved some of the highest risk children, into that space and hired a caretaker for the children.
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Angelic Ark Centre provides much more than a place to live!
Angelic Ark and FIOH-USA connect!
It was about this time that FIOH-USA and Angelic Ark connected. Linda Glaeser, SSJ, President of FIOH-USA, met Linet’s cousin Rachel, who grew up in Kenya but is now living in Buffalo NY and is on the board of FIOH-USA. Rachel told Linda about Linet and the work she was doing, and arranged for them to meet. That was a happy meeting, the beginning of a long and fruitful partnering between FIOH-USA and Angelic Ark.
With her own funds and funds from well wishers Linet bought land on which she planned to build an orphanage in the future. That future time turned to be much closer than Linet had planned. Here, the stigma attached to HIV+ status plays a role. The landlord for the house where the children were staying, in an attempt to force out the HIV+children, raised the rent to an amount, far beyond what the budget of Angelic Ark could afford. Linet decided to build a temporary structure on the land Angelic Ark had acquired. FIOH-USA contributed $500 toward the building of the temporary house, and Linet supplemented that donation with $500 of her own. The simple house was quickly built and the 11 children moved in. FIOH-USA also provided funding to build a fence around the compound, for the safety of the children.
FIOH-USA provided the $4000 to dig the well on the Angelic Ark property. Linet and the children named the well LindEll in honor of Linda and Ellen.
Linet’s dreams were much larger, hoping to build a permanent structure that would provide for 20 children. Linda learned of a grant available through Sisters of St. Joseph in Orange California. FIOH-USA was awarded the grant for $14, 887. The funds were received in January 2019. It was supplemented by $5000 from Clarence United Methodist Church. These funds were used to build the eight room structure. It is completed and the first 10 children moved in May 2019.
Of course, a vital need for the Centre is to provide adequate nutrition for the HIV+ children. Adequate nutrition is even more necessary for these children than for any healthy child. Again, FIOH-USA board members and Linet discussed needs and possible solutions, and it was suggested that Linet write a proposal. This led to FIOH-USA providing funds for Angelic Ark to rent two acres of land to grow maize (corn) and groundnuts (peanuts) to feed the children. They are usually able to grow enough maize to feed the children at Angelic Ark, and have enough extra so that are able to give away, 90 kilos bags to families in the community who Linet knows through her work, families with HIV positive children. There is also generally enough of a harvest to sell produce. The children help with the planting and harvesting, learning essential life skills.
The Centre is not intended to be a permanent home for the children. It is hoped that the average stay will be about 6 months. During that time the children will be given good nutrition and if old enough, instructed in properly taking their ARV medication. Linet and the staff also teach family members or caregivers how to assist the children. With proper instruction they are no longer afraid to have them in their homes. Angelic Ark provides continuous follow-up care. If the child is not properly cared for they are able to return to the Centre.
Angelic Ark has dreams for future growth
With your donations, Future in Our Hands-USA will be able to assist Angelic Ark in realizing their dream of having a resource centre that will provide for many local children. This plan includes a library.
Slowly the new Centre is filling up with 20 children. Furnishings have been provided thanks to many generous donors. The children are safe and very happy.