In 1953 Louise Dana helped establish La Piccola Casa di San Antonio in Rome, Italy, to provide care and education for girls orphaned by World War II. Fifty years later, Italy is a wealthy country, and there is no longer a need for the orphanage. Rather than abandon this important mission, our focus was redirected to Africa and our name was changed to the African Orphans Foundation.
The African Orphans Foundation became officially incorporated into Africa in 2003 and is recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Since 2004 we have provided education, food, clothing, and shelter for orphaned girls in Africa. Over the years we have continued to grow and expand and are currently operating in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.
The need for support in Africa continues to be great, but corruption is also quite prevalent. AOF has taken extensive steps toward securing the funds that we allocate to our orphans. In most cases our program begins with a local 'sponsor' who already lives in Africa and personally knows of honest and devoted guardians within the community who are already caring for orphaned girls, but who are in need of financial assistance. We can offer such support. We have defined a guardian as an organization, such as an established orphanage, or an individual, such as a relative, but not the child’s biological parents. Through our sponsors, we are able to verify that the orphan is receiving adequate care and that the guardian will use the money for the child's direct welfare.
Additionally, because the sponsors are local, we are able to fund opportunities that might not ordinarily receive charity because of their small size, geographic location, or grassroots origins. AOF does not promote political or religious activities of any kind and therefore abstains from funding religiously affiliated institutions or organizations, regardless of their level of care. Additionally, we have also taken precautions to ensure that our sponsors do not have any financial ties to the guardian or the orphan.