It’s inspiring to see so many stories about individual efforts to help orphans. The stories are a constant reminder how each and every one of us can make a difference. It just takes that first step. We at the World Orphan Fund are developing a website that will allow caring people to see opportunities to help orphans — and then take things in their own hands. But until then, below are three stories about people who have already done just that.
Cycling for a Liberian Orphanage
In Oregon, Clackamas Sheriff Craig Roberts and his son Ryan are cycling for an Orphanage in Liberia. When John Van Huizen, a retired Clackamas County deputy told the police benevolent association he needed a conduit for a fundraiser to help orphans in Liberia, they enthusiastically took on the project.
“When John came back from a trip to Liberia, he was emotionally distraught by the plight of orphans in Liberia, where 300 children a day die,” from causes related to AIDS and physical abuse, Roberts said.
With the benevolent foundation’s help, an orphanage for 50 children was built and local volunteers visit frequently to help carry out its mission.
“Our goal now is to raise $22,000 to buy bunks, desks and furniture,” Roberts said, adding that the plight of the orphans “makes us feel fortunate for what we have.”
Starting an Orphanage in Uganda
Holly Pheni saw the African Children’s Choir perform in Casper, Wyoming in 2005, and answered their call for volunteers. Pheni toured with the choir for a year and chaperoned some of the singers back to Uganda. Instead of coming home, she worked for an orphanage.
There she found orphans, many with AIDS, often left to the streets or go to caregivers who’re too afraid to touch them. While there she met her husband and together they founded “Our Own Home” for orphans with AIDS.
In the four years the home has existed, only three children have died — two babies for whom help came too late and an older child who got leukemia.
Most of the residents are healthy and energetic. The only way you’d know they have a disease is that they take medication twice a day, Pheni said. They go to school, run around, play soccer and have fun in the tree-house William built. Proud of growing their own maize, they help make a cornmeal called posha.
“What happens is when kids come in, they usually have health problems,” Pheni said. “Then as they get on their medication and have a better living environment — especially love — they change. They get strong.”
I’m Not to Cool To Beg
Carrien Blue says she used to try and be cool. She says it changed after meeting forty orphaned kids from Burma, holed up in a little house in the Thai jungle with their protector, a guy named Chala, who was feeding them as well as he could with what little he could make, working as hard as he could in a 3rd world country. You can’t un-know that, says Blue.
In the years following Blue and her husband founded a non-profit called TheCharis Project, came up with a plan for a self sustaining orphan care model, and started figuring out how to implement it. Now they’re trying to raise enough money to build them.
Blue homeschools four kids and runs the charity from the kitchen counter. Now that’s cool. Check out her story.