Before the earthquake, the children of the Hands Together to Defend the Children (HTDC) Orphanage lived comfortably in a large house. The earthquake destroyed their home, killed the pastor who had supported the kids, and robbed the orphanage's supporters of their livelihoods.
We first met HTDC (SMDT in French) in the summer of 2010 when they were living in one small room and a tent which flooded almost daily. They were constantly short of food, and had no ability to educate the children.
Our first priority was to find appropriate housing. In the summer of 2010, with the help of a group of US students, we raised $6,000 to rent a house for the orphanage for two years. The project grew from there with the help of more than 100 volunteers and over 2,200 donors to date.
Since those early days, we've continued to provide the children of the orphanage with nutritious food, health care, education, and enriching activities like art and English classes. You can meet a few of the children here.
Today, more than six years after the earthquake, our focus is on helping HTDC become self-sufficient. It costs £1,239 ($1,538) a month to meet the children's day-to-day needs, and an additional £5,640 ($7,000) per year to pay the orphanage's rent. We know we can't rely on our donors generosity forever, so it’s essential that we invest in the orphanage’s ability to earn its own money.
So, in February 2017 we also helped to buy the orphanage a bus it can rent out to earn an income. Some ongoing support will still be needed to meet the children’s needs, but we're delighted to have now taken this important step.
Huge thanks to ALM photography for the use of their photos of the orphanage!