Amani Children's Foundation
What is the Amani Children's Foundation?
The Amani Children's Foundation is a 501c3 organization serving children who have been orphaned by AIDS in Africa. With a generation of parents dying from poverty and AIDS, the traditional extended family tribal structures can no longer care for the unprecedented number of orphans. In Africa, there are 40 million children who have lost one or both parents and are vulnerable to neglect, abuse, radical politics and to eventually getting AIDS themselves. Amani is the Swahili word for peace.
How did it start?
Amani was founded in 2004 by Drs. Chad and Jane Stephens in Winston-Salem, NC. The Stephens, who have worked in Kenya for several years, have six children; their two youngest, Joseph and Wambui, were adopted from Kenya. Chad is a physician and Jane is an English professor at High Point University.
Why the infants? Because they are the most vulnerable, but also potentially the most hopeful, part of the story. Due to the financial resources and specialized care required to properly take care of an infant, very little attention is given to them from national and international resources.
Who takes care of the babies?
Amani partners with New Life Homes in Kenya. Since 1993, New Life Homes has rescued over 1000 infants; most of them have been adopted by Kenyan families. There are now six New Life Homes for babies across the country in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Nyeri and Mombasa. There are also family homes in Nairobi and Kisimu and feeding centers for vulnerable children in Lamu and Ruiru. The homes have strict financial accountability and are highly respected in Kenya for their high standards of care and loving environment.
Are there other "downstream" impacts from this work?
Yes. The families who adopt these babies are taking a radical stand for the value of children and against the traditional taboo of adoption and the tyranny of tribalism. Many civic, academic and church leaders have found their way to New Life Homes and with their new families are the beginning of a new generation of progressive leadership. At the same time, New Life Homes across the country employs 300 individuals, mostly women who are breadwinners for their families in a country of massive unemployment.
Where do the Amani funds come from?
Donations come from a wonderfully diverse group of families and organizations. From lemonade sales in our local pre-schools to bead parties in urban high schools in Pennsylvania to family parties in Indiana and university concerts in North Carolina, the good will and creativity that people across America are putting into the work of raising funds for the Kenyan babies is almost as beautiful and unique as the babies themselves.
How can you help? Because Amani is a volunteer-run organization, our overhead is very low. Gifts from the Amani Board cover most of our administrative costs, so that nearly all of the money donated to Amani goes to care for the babies in Kenya. We are committed to connecting people in the US to the hope that is stirring in Africa and to letting them know that a real difference can be made in this crisis---and we are always looking for new ways to do so. If you have a great idea for an event in your area or if you would like to sponsor an individual child for a year, please contact us.