Amecets main focus are 3 groups of children
Children who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS are often sick themselves. A lot of those children have not received proper care and are malnourished. In some cases those children are HIV+ themselves. Amecet takes them in for a period of two months. In some situations we keep them longer. They will get medical attention and food to grow stronger and become healthier. If they are HIV+ we will put them on ARV’s (Anti-RetroViral Treatment). Lots of children are emotional damaged and need a place where they are loved and taken care fore. After a couple of months we want to bring the child back to its familie. Our social workers will trace the family and look if there is a safe place for the child. They will keep visiting the families to encourage them.
The second group of children we have are newborn baby's of whom the mother has died during or after childbirth. They are very vulnerable without their mother in the villages. So those babies come to Amecet when they are a couple of days or sometimes a couple of hours old. We feed them and give them medication. Another vital part is nurturing and caring. These babies are missing out on the bonding time with their mother. The newborns usually stay between 2 or 3 months. The family has time to mourn the loss of the mother and make arrangements for the return of the baby.
The third group are children brought by the police or child protection. Those children need a place to stay because they are abused, abandoned or lost. We give them shelter and take good care of them. Our social workers will try to trace the family of the child. If they cannot find them or the family is in no condition to care for a child, we will look for an adoption family who provides a safe home.
It is always a celebration when children can go back to their family. We will bring them home and give them some clothes, sugar, soap and a mosquito net. The parents can also choose to pick their child up themselves.
Unfortunately not every child is going home. We get a lot of sick children or babies who are born to early. We are in touch with doctors who give the children the best care possible. At Amecet we have an incubator and an oxygen machine, but it is not alway enough to save a child’s life. For those children we are the gateway to heaven. It has cost us many tears. We have a coffin made and we will bring the child back home so the family can bury it.
In the living room we have our Wall of Fame. We put a picture on the wall of every child that lived with us in Amecet. The children who have died get a star.
Els van Teijlingen
In 1999 Els founded Amecet. At one of the projects people from the Soroti district were being counseled and tested for AIDS. There was this little girl all alone in the African sun. Els asked around about the girl and if she had any family. Her parents had died, so they found her uncle. He couldn’t care less about the girl and answered: “That dead thing.. I am not going to waste time and food on her.” Els was shocked. This is a little child, a piece of God’s creation. How could anybody talk like that?
Sarah got examined and it turned out she had AIDS and heart problems. Because of this encounter Els started praying, dreaming, and working to build a place where children like Sarah could get a home. This should be a shelter for neglected children, so they could be child again. In 2001 the shelter was ready and Sarah was the first child in Amecet. Later Sarah was adopted by Els. Together with Mary, Helen and Cathy they are a family now. Els keeps working on the shelter and taking care of neglected children in Soroti.
left to right: Sarah, Cathy, Els, Helen, Mary
We cannot do this alone. We have abeautiful team that works day and night to take care of the baby's and children. Our team contains 30 man and woman. Every day they take care of the children and help them with their daily routines. We have social workers, nurses, care takers and supportive staff for the kitchen, the garden, household chores and laundry.
The Leadership team
Youth with a Mission (YWAM)
Amecet is a project of Youth With a Mission. YWAM is an christian, interdenominal, and non governmental organization. They run a lot of projects all over the world. In Soroti YWAM has a couple of projects: There is preschool and an elementary school. Furthermore there is a Discipleship Training School (DTS) and the YWAM staff will visit the man and womens prison every week. Another team will visit the Soroti hospital to support and encourage the sick.