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Not sure when it began in me–this passion to help orphans. But I remember my response–it was immediate and with my whole being.

Orphans. I thought it unbelievable that someone would have to go through that experience, but I knew early in my life I wanted to do something about it. It’s heart-rending to me.

Orphans. An earthquake, a tsunami, devastation brought on by economic distress or war–disease, all are life up-ending events. Some areas are hit by two or even more of these unfortunate occurrences… and what is the collateral damage?

Orphans. The kids…and they are just kids. It’s the kids who are left on their own, some will die, some will be exploited, and yet some, in fact, will find caring people who’ll take them in.

We can’t do it all, but as a growing group of caring people at 200 Orphanages World Wide, we are doing something about it, every chance the opportunity to help presents itself.

Next time you see something–something devastating–think about the kids left behind, then act! Rather than turn your head or heart from the TV or your laptop, think about the $25 you can spare, knowing there’s group of people, just like you, who are dedicated to doing something to help.

Orphans: Respond to the needs when you hear of them.  Give generously or with your time. There are MANY ways you can take action. Think about approaching a service group like Rotary, Lions, or Kiwanis, any number of groups like churches, or even schools–I even know of one 4th grade elementary class that raised $1280.00 for an orphanage in Mexico. There’s a service group that sent 25 members to help run a medical and dental clinic for 250 orphans in Haiti that needed the care. Have a yard sale at your church, synagogue or mosque, or do one together, making it a cross-faith experience! See your community, not by who’s a member here or there, but as a group of people that can rally together in response to devastation when it hits. When we come together, in response to the collateral damage impacting kids, we emerge, in a collateral beauty and goodness, seen all too rarely. The goodness of people comes out when we are working together, with a force far stronger than anything nature can conjure, far more reaching than any war raged by man.

Next time you see a need, look, observe, feel, sense and see, THEN respond. Move toward the solution, and away from denial or being overwhelmed. Working together, people helping people, because its the right thing to do, because then a collateral beauty will emerge.

Guest Blogger C. Fred Cornforth,
Co-Founder 200 Orphanages Worldwide
Chief Executive Officer, CDI Group of Companies|
Garden City, ID

windowinstall16What an amazing year we had in 2016 thanks to you. Best of all, our partners around the world and the children they serve have been blessed beyond measure because or YOU. I am touched so deeply because I feared the project requests in 2016 were almost insurmountable. But today I am overjoyed as many family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, even acquaintances were moved to help the children have safety, shelter and sustainability. In 2016 we exceeded the amount we set out to raise and got a start on other projects for 2017. I realize that we are all in this together-this desire to help orphans in need. That inspires me so much! I am filled with gratitude and motivated for 2017.

Last year donors contributed enough to send more than $80,000 to projects that serve orphans. More than $91,000 came in for projects and will be used as each donor designated. Thank you so much for your love for the orphans.

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How did this happen? YOU DID IT! So many longtime supporters continue to donate and gave more than ever to the needs of our partners as they provide safety, shelter and sustainability for orphans. I am so touched that so many continue to share the vision to help our partners care for the day to day needs of orphans in their care.

You rallied around our partners and helped replace a roof on a dining hall in Cambodia, buy not just one school bus, but two, one for Ashirvad in India and one for MyLifeSpeaks in Haiti. Both these bus projects mean the world to the kids. In Ashirvad, Raja and Sudha drive the bus with 100+ kids around as a family. They go to the beach, to school and on field trips as one very large family! In Haiti, volunteers, the life-blood of MylifeSpeaks, will use the bus to visit homes, take special needs orphans to medical appointments, training and more. The Ashirvad Children Home’s library is being finished off with tile on the floor and tables and chairs so kids can study and read in a comfortable quiet place. Soon we’ll be hearing about water in Burundi being accessible to the students, staff and surrounding community… and one day the orphans in the dormitory will be filled with laughing children. We have watched the windows and doors get installed on the dormitory and now we’re watching as the concrete is being poured for interior floors and walls. Step by step that dormitory will be completed. Just watch!

So, what’s next?

This year, the first quarter of 2017, we’re creating three small campaigns. One campaign will finish the dormitory in Burundi. We’ll need about $11,500. The next two projects are the tractor for $8,000 and a green house for $4,000 in Tanzania. images-duckduckgo-comThe campaigns, the Ty Tractor Campaign and Dylan Green House Project, will serve the JBFC Girls home in Tanzania. Agriculture is so important for sustainability in developing countries, and JBFC benefits greatly with their agricultural projects. Late last year, Ty and Dylan Irish, sons of Jeffrey Irish in Idaho, donated funds to the tractor and the Green House projects on our site.I feel compelled to get that tractor (8,000) and greenhouse ($4,000)  funded as soon as possible! You can help!

We’ll be reaching out to the rest of our partners shortly to learn of their needs in the coming year. We know one or more of their projects will tug on your heartstrings and we look forward to working with you to make life better for orphans all around the world.

Look out 2017… here we come!

 

2016—I like to call the elation that comes from helping orphans “Pure Joy”. I’ve said it time and again. I’ve felt Pure Joy while holding the small hand of an orphan boy in Peru; I’ve seen Pure Joy in the eyes of the volunteer holding a baby in Cameroon; I’ve heard Pure Joy in the voices of supporters sharing through tears their passion to provide clean water to as many people as possible. This erupts in simple, PURE JOY!

The past year I have again been surprised by joy as supporters have responded to the call to fund buses, and wells, and library shelves and dormitory walls so orphan children can be loved and cared for. These items might seem mundane, but they are not mundane to the children, nor to us.

With the changes over the past few years of my moving to Washington state, I worried about where the support would come from for the needs that were being brought to us. We were made aware of our partners’ needs and set out to raise more than we’d ever raised before. I didn’t know how we’d do it.

Well, silly me! Your support over the years shows how much you care for the orphans. I knew when I started this work on behalf of the orphans that I wasn’t alone. I knew there would be more people who wanted to help orphans have safety and shelter. So, as I made the needs known to you, you responded. Because of you this year the kids at two orphan homes have a bus, others get to eat in their dining hall with a non-leaking roof; still others ave clean water and even a library. Can you feel that welling up deep inside of you? That my friend is Pure Joy!

Well done my friends! Look out 2017! Here we come!

2017happynewyear from Jan Marie on Vimeo.

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I’ve been celebrating Thanksgiving for a while now. A few weeks ago, Kim and Dan Anderson hosted Raja and Sudha Sekhar at their home and invited friends and family to enjoy an early Thanksgiving feast. Then I got to see my daughter and family in Missouri before returning back to Washington.

Thanksgiving Day is here and the day’s preparations are underway. At this moment, coffee in hand, my German Shepherd Winston is sitting next to me and I am live streaming the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade on one device, listening to Garth Brooks sing his Thanksgiving Song on another, while I write this blog on yet another. I’d say I’m immersed in the holiday.

In a few hours, I will be preparing a feast of my own. My menu includes all the excesses, including my Holiday Bread, rice stuffed duck, turkey, lamb, Jason’s Green Beans, Emi’s mashed potatoes, carrot cake and home made pumpkin pie. My daughter, her husband and their four lovely children will be here, and she’s invited friends to join us. There will be lots of football, chit chat, games and movies for kids interrupted by a feast of mammoth proportions.

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The children’s home in Cambodia has a new roof on the dining hall because of generous donors! Look at the smiles you are bringing!

You’ve also generously donated to complete the dining hall roof in Cambodia, donated toward the dormitory in Burundi and we’ve been able to put in windows and doors and are half way there to funding a bored well for clean drinking water. You’ve donated to put screens on windows in Uganda for the Gulu Girls home so the chance of them getting malaria has been reduced. Just look at the smiles you are bringing!

In all of our excess and traditions, I am well aware that many of the children we serve, barely have enough to eat in a day, let alone a family to surround them with love. This is why I started 200 Orphanages and began to reach out to friends and family to try to do something so abandoned and vulnerable children would have a safe place to call home. This is why you have come along side and are helping in so many ways.

Today I am thankful for our loving partners who care daily for the vulnerable child. And, I am so grateful that you have joined in this quest to provide safety, shelter and sustainability for the orphan child. We can’t do it all, but we can all do something.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and  yours! Here’s my personal message to you and yours.

Thanks Giving 2016 from Jan Marie on Vimeo.

Jan Hanson

nicoleandjordannimaSometimes it just takes one person to make a difference. We always say, “We Can’t Do It All, But We Can All Do Something.”

In the case of raising awareness and funds for Ashirvad Children’s Home in India, one person who started the ball rolling is Nicole Hanson, my niece in law. Nicole’s simple act of sharing a Facebook post started the ball rolling that would ultimately touch more than 100 orphans and vulnerable children in Ashirvad Children’s Home in India.

Nicole loves our cause and how we help orphans in need. When she learned that her husband Jordan was participating in our Golf 4 Orphan event a few years ago, she shared the event on her Facebook page. She was especially excited about the event when she learned we were raising funds for an orphan home in India. It touched her deeply.

Nicole’s passion for India’s vulnerable children is personal. She was born in India and as a small child, she was taken into an orphanage and then adopted by her family in Minnesota. She grew up in the U.S. and had the benefits of a strong loving family and  friends. When she met my nephew in high school, they fell in love and were married.

Because Nicole shared our event, her aunt, Kim Anderson, who also loves helping orphans became aware of 200 Orphanages. When Kim read Nicole’s post, she asked about us and the rest is history. Over the past two years, Kim and her husband Dan have built amazing teams and accomplished successful fund raising events with proceeds going to complete a dining hall,  a library, a steam kitchen and this year funds were raised to buy a school bus.

This past week, Kim and Dan hosted Ashirvad Directors and Founders Raja and Sudha Sekhar in their home. It was their first time in the U.S., made possible by a generous donor. The couple was able to meet some of the people in Minnesota who participated in helping them help their children.

 

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Nicole, Jordan and their lovely newborn baby Nima Rae were at the gathering. They were able to hear stories from Raja of how great an impact the fundraisers have made by perfect strangers far away. I was reminded as we shared a meal over stories that night at Kim and Dan’s how something seemingly small and inconsequential to us can make the world of difference to someone in need. By individuals like Nicole, Kim and countless others, doing what they can, we are able to help partners around the world provide orphans with safety, shelter and sustainability.

I can’t help but wonder, as Nicole sees the photos of the kids at Ashirvad flash across the screen, if she doesn’t somehow see herself and say a prayer of thanksgiving. I can see in their faces that she and Jordan are filled with gratitude, even Pure Joy as they enjoy their daughter surrounding her with a loving family and friends as well as loving souls from abroad.

Thank you Nicole for your heart to help the orphans. Thanks you everyone.

Some think the meaning of life is seeking happiness. Not sure I go along with that, only because the happiest people I know seek to serve others. It’s a mystery to some that selfless people radiate happiness all around them.  And who doesn’t love being around happy people!

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Selfless, happy CDI board of directors and wives.

In this journey, building an organization to make the lives of orphans brighter, I’m touched by the people I meet who selflessly work to make the lives of a child better. These are the happiest people I’ve ever met. And they’re all around me these days. Our partners, their staff, our donors, volunteers and supporters all radiate happiness out of full hearts that selflessly give to others.

From the beginning of this journey, one such person is Fred Cornforth, CEO of CDI in Boise Idaho has provided support, funds and guidance to our work. In our initial meeting Fred told me his dream to one day build 200 Orphanages. Thus, he coined our name! Not long after, Fred helped us make our very first funds disbursement to Haiti after the earthquake, he’s funded projects and administration expenses ever since.

Last weekend, my husband and I were invited to share the orphan work with the CDI board of directors. Each board member shared their own selfless work helping orphans and other organizations with time and talent over the years. Their stories of selflessness and unbridled love for the orphan might just explain their smiles!

I’m filled with gratitude to all those who selflessly give encouragement and support. I love being around happy people.

 

I wept over my keyboard yesterday, while sitting in my little office in Redmond. It was a good day. But, I cried (I seldom cry, by the way).  I actually wept and even today I’m tearing up. Mine were tears of joy mixed with gratitude to a God who cares so much for the abandoned children we serve. He loves them so much that He sends people through us to bless these children.

Lacy Gordon at Halo Foundation, one of our long-term partners, sent photos of the screens one of our donor funded. This donor, like so many, wanted to make an impact with his funds, so he asked about the Gulu Girls Orphanage in Uganda. Lacy shared the need for screens on the dorm windows to keep the mosquitoes out, you see Malaria is a problem there. So, 100% of his funds went directly to pay for the screens for these beautiful girls. I put a collage together of the photos she sent.

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I went to the Halo website to see more about these girls, and I cried like a baby. I love this work. Look at those faces. More tears.

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The Gulu Girls home is based in northern Uganda and currently supports 18 girls.  The Gulu area saw over twenty years of brutal violence from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and is now recovering from the many atrocities it faced.  The war left many children orphaned and traumatized as they saw their families killed or forced by rebels to be soldiers or sex slaves.  The Gulu home hopes to contribute to the rehabilitation of northern Uganda by providing a group of girls in need with a family-like environment, an education for a promising future, and mentoring to become women of character and leaders in their community as it rebuilds.

 

There’s More: A donor friend of mine reached out yesterday to ask if we received he and his wife’s $1,000 check for the JRMD dormitory in Burundi. They’re Dream Makers! And others have reached out letting us know their funds are on the way. (Tears) The Dream Maker Campaign has raised $10600 so far and people are still working toward their goals. Everyone is making such a huge impact so 80 kids will have a place to call home. Tears.

And then, another friend and compassionate soul emailed me. He cries every time he talks about children dying just because they don’t have clean water.  He wants to help by offering matching funds for boring the well that JRMD needs in Burundi.

Then, another crier, one of our board members, said she’s sending money (lots of) for the Cambodia project. She just can’t help herself.

Also, we have a group forming in Washington to help the special needs orphans in Haiti. Tears.

My heart is filled with pure joy because so many of you feel the same way I do about caring for abandoned children. And we know the needs are great. We can’t do it all, but we can all do something.

You bless my heart beyond measure. You inspire me that our work together is touching lives. Tears. I’m a mess.

 

generic2016logoWe’ve been working for the past 8 years inviting you to invest in the life of the abandoned, vulnerable child.This is all we can offer you. It is our value statement. We provide you with an opportunity to help a child grow in safe shelter and lifelong sustainability.

We can’t begin to feel their loneliness and fear, but we’re committed to helping in some way. We can’t be there to wipe the tears, but our partners can. So, with that we’re thrilled that donors have come alongside our vision to help them help them. Please read our June 2016 Update. Newsletter2016JuneJuly

Investments of all size make a difference. You select a project and your funds will go directly to the project of your choice–even your monthly donations. Here’s what you’ve been up to over the years. This doesn’t include our funding this year of about $38,000. So, you’ve been busy helping orphans have safety shelter and sustainability.

graphicJoin Our Next Campaign to complete the dormitory in Burundi!

Be A Dream Maker! 

 

 

This is what makes the world go round for me: Liberty Missouri to Guatemala

The concessions store in Guatemala.

The concessions store in Guatemala.

20150223_112415A few weeks ago, Chris Hoyt, national director, with NPH-Guatemala sent photos of the block building our supporters funded that is almost complete. It isn’t just any block building. This will serve as a small on-site store in the center of the NPH complex that will serve as training for the mentally disabled orphans. The children will learn to sell concessions to visitors and others store under the supervision of staff with the purpose that they will learn a trade to support themselves if needed someday.

This brings me great joy and I couldn’t wait to share. Especially since one or our board members inspired so many others around the country to help raise funds. Cory Scheer ran a marathon a month to call attention to safe shelter for orphans, then he organized a virtual 5k. Word spread, and soon the local grade schools in Liberty Missouri were organizing a 5k.

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Built with proceeds from Safe Haven Holiday Boutique.

The Gulu Girl Fence.

The Gulu Girl Fence.

I am so excited to share with Cory, the basic needs participants and the staff at Lewis and Clark Elementary. We can’t do it all, but we can all do something!

From St. Cloud MN to Gulu Girls Garden Fence in Uganda

Lacy Voight with Halo Foundation sent photos of the Gulu Girls Garden fence in Uganda funded by our Art Haven Holiday Boutique. The idea was to use our lovely second floor office in downtown St. Cloud Minnesota as an Art Gallery called Safe Haven Boutique. Ann Opatz would local ask artists to donate an art piece to help raise funds for a small project. This was the results of our first Safe Haven Holiday Boutique. It’s a small start, but a big beginning for the girls in Uganda.

300 Pounds of Love!

300 Pounds of Love!

And then there is the 300 pounds of beauty products worth $50,000 that arrived today. A skin care company, http://www.deluviausa.com , has donated the product and it was delivered today to our program consultant’s garage!

This came about because I use the product and reordered. While doing that, I inquired if they ever donated product to be used at silent auctions or fund raisers. I explained that the Angel of Mercy organization works with women and children affected with HIV/AIDS in Cameroon. I explained they have a beauty boutique from which the products are sold and proceeds used to pay for ongoing operations and staff salaries.

My idea was that we could use the product in silent auctions or Angel of Mercy could take it to Cameroon to sell out of their beauty store to sell the product and use the proceeds to pay for operations of the orphan home.

I was overwhelmed when I heard they were sending 18 boxes of product worth $50,000. Angel of Mercy is more than thrilled. President and director Relindis Moffor is beginning to fill a container with supplies for the orphan home and so, the beauty products will go to Cameroon this fall!

Supporters and participants helped with the Spring Fever 5K and we raised enough to send funds with Relindis on her trip to Cameroon so she can buy the transformer for running electricity to the site. She’s working on raising the remainder of the funds so the kids will be able to move in before Christmas.

eating placeFrom Fridley MN to Ashirvad in India.

The completion of the modern Dining Hall in India is getting underway. We’ve sent the first phase of funds to India that will continue the construction. The anticipated completion date is July. A small group, including Kim and Dan Anderson from the Twin Cities will travel to India to see the project first hand.

I’m excited to see what’s next!

When I set out to follow my heart and do something to help an orphan, I hoped my passion would have a ripple effect and it has. One of our missions is to facilitate ways for others to help orphans. We know many people want to do something to help, but don’t know where to start. So, as we help raise awareness of our partner’s needs our hope is that someone somewhere might embrace the vision, adopt a project and help complete it with donations or fund raising.

Kim Anderson learned about our work through her niece Nicole who is married to my nephew Jordan Hanson. Sounds complicated, but really it’s just how these things go. Nicole and her brother were adopted from India, so orphans held a special place in Kim’s heart. Kim had always wanted  to do something to help orphans, but didn’t know what she could do.  When Kim heard about our work, she knew it was a match made in heaven. Since, she’s mobilized friends and family to raise funds for dining hall for the Ashirvad Orphanage in India. Her friends and family donated time and money and organized the Dancing Hand in Hand Benefit held March 22 in Fridley MN. There was a henna artist, a live band, great food and traditional dancers. Here’s a sample of the talent we enjoyed.


The event was great fun and a success. The supporters, participants and volunteers helped raised more than $19,000 dollars that will more than complete the dining hall the kids at Ashirvad. We can’t wait to see the finished product. We’re beginning to distribute funds for the Dining Hall this week.

The success of this event brings a sense of satisfaction, but the joy on the faces of the volunteers, supporters and participants is what makes me happy. It is PURE JOY. These selfless volunteers know down deep in their hearts that the work they do, often tedious, sometimes outside their expertise, and at times stressful, is going to make the lives of orphans so much better. Now, instead of taking meals on the floor under a thatched roof, the kids will have a modern dining hall to enjoy. For the volunteers, knowing what all the effort, stress and work has created brings a bright smile from a full heart. That is the PURE JOY I see on the faces of our volunteers. God Bless the Children and those who are helping make their lives better.

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