Arche Noah home — an orphanage in in Opol, Mindanao
In 2013, Amina Mambuay told me about some boys who were looking for food in garbage bins. She talked to them and they explained they live in the streets and have no families.
So Amina shared her dream with me to have an orphanage.
To check the necessities and financial conditions, Amina started with these three boys in her own home until she found out all about school fees, insurance, food and accommodation costs. Then, in June 2015, we bought a house which was supposed to be big enough for about 20 children. The aim was a long term possibility of owning a home, and being independent of rental raise.
Amina’s daughter Sarah was involved in the project from the beginning.
Amina and Sarah were asked by people in their surroundings if they can take in this or that child. As it was not possible to accomodate all children being recommended, it was necessary to find criteria. We decided to take orphans with none or just one grandparent. Sarah who was always interested in teaching children in the streets did the background check.
The children were of different age, from 8 to 12 years old. The last participant was 12 when she came in.
So, since about ten years now, in the Arche Noah home are living 18 orphans together with Amina’s daughter Sarah and her own daughter. Today the orphans are between 15 and 23 years old.
Sarah manages, organises, listens, accompanies and supports the youth in school topics, growing up to young adults, learning how to garden, paint, lay a carpet, living together even under Covid conditions and creating a big NVC family.
The home is situated in Opol, Misamis Oriental in Mindanao.
In their elementary days, the children went to school nearby and now, since they are already in high school and some are in College, they go to the schools in the nearby city.
There was a time in the beginning of the project when Amina and I were discussing to ask the children to leave when they are about 18 or 19 years old and ready with their school education.
Now we are very clear that it cannot work this way.
The house became a home for the orphans. Each of them may stay until he/she himself/herself decides to leave, got a satisfying job and create an own family.
With a lot of thoughts, we said goodbye to the idea of opening the Arche Noah home to the next generation of children. We prefer to support those who are there, in deeper education and personal development. Until they have a real chance to live in self-reliance.
The latest development turned the situation towards using the Arche Noah home to its full capacity. Starting in summer 2023, Amina provides a day care for ten children.
They will come to the house on a daily basis to take a bath, eat meals, wash clothes, use the existing facilities for their school requirements. They will have a regular daily routine anchored on NVC.
This project is one of my absolutely favourite projects, giving me great satisfaction. These children came to Amina’s house and asked for support because they want to learn, want to change their situation in full self-responsibility!
When Amina and her husband Nathan are not travelling to give workshops on NVC and peace, they visit the children during Saturdays and Sundays. Another daughter, Farrah, visits the children three times a week to assist in their school assignments and another daughter, Lara, visits them also when she is around because she works in Manila and usually teaches the children in their Math subject.
Together with Amina and Sarah, two of the young people were invited to Ruhpolding, First Call for Children workshop in 2022: Ansarola who learns to become a chef, and Isnihaya who will become accountant.
Both were excited to be in an airplane and then in a foreign country for the first time. They were happy and grateful of their experience in the Ruhpolding workshop meeting other participants and given the chance to express themselves.
The project is financially supported by Arche Noah foundation and various donors. Some of them are taken care of by Hans Martin Gündner and the DACH organizing.
In 2015, Amina’s Family received the Jollibee Family Values Award in recognition of their effort in working for the children and promoting peace and nonviolence in the Philippines.
I am happy and proud and grateful to the whole Mambuay family for all their live energy they bring into this great Arche Noah family.