The orphanage Yedidja, meaning Friend of God, is a large part of the investments of Tree of Life USA. The center of Yedidja is the home base of the organization in Benin. Currently, 24 children live at the center and are cared for by our staff. They receive three meals a day, school supplies and financial support to pay for school as well as quality medical care should the need arise. Most importantly, we seek to share the love of Christ with them daily. We attend church, study the Bible and pray together.
Most of the children who live at the center have lost one or both parents and were unable to be cared for properly in their biological families. Others were being forced into marriage or child labor and were taken into the center to be given hope of a better future. The goal with the children living at our center is to accompany them through their educational endeavors, and for them to become responsible, respectful citizens who can give back to others one day. We want to help them graduate high school and then aid them in their post-secondary endeavors, whether that is going to university or doing an apprenticeship to learn a trade.
In 2013, a new building was constructed through the generosity of our donors to better house all of the children and provide for the needs of the organization. Each child now has his or her own bed and armoire and a more appropriate living space. The family is able to share in daily meals together in a large meeting room. There is a clinic space to provide for medical needs, and running water and electricity help allow for a better life and more time to focus on school studies.
We try our best to operate like a large family by investing in the lives of all the children. We do limit the amount of children we take into the orphanage because we want to provide quality and appropriate living conditions as this is their home. Like in a typical family, the kids who live at the Yedidja center are expected to contribute to household chores. They help prepare meals, work in the garden, are responsible for washing their own clothes, doing the dishes, cleaning their rooms and the house. The kids love to enjoy activities such as volleyball, soccer, and handball. In addition to the 5 American volunteers, we also have local staff employed to cook and help with daily activities.
The center also provides a home base for many of the other operations of the organization.
If you would be interested in supporting a child from Yedidja or aiding in one of the projects for the center, please contact us or visit the donation page.