“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” ~ James 1:27
Haiti has often been referred to as “The home of a million orphans.” While the exact number of orphanages in Haiti is not really known, it is a fact that many of the hundreds of Haitian orphanages are unauthorized or non-government accredited, and often have extremely poor living conditions. It is also a fact that hundreds of thousands of children in Haiti continue to face severe malnutrition, lack of healthcare, abandonment, neglect and are targets for human trafficking.
Having witnessed these sad statistics and seen the stark realization that through the eyes of destitution some Haitian parents or grandparents have even given up their children to an orphanage in hopes of a better life for their child, the Grandmas & Orphans Program, formerly the Grandma Program, was established. Over five years ago, this orphanage alternative was birthed in the Jolivert area, to offer a family environment to orphans and those on the verge of being turned over to an orphanage due to poverty.
Currently, the GO Program supports eight grandmothers who are raising and caring for their grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other youth in their family, as well as one pastor on the program who cares for orphans in his home and one family with toddler triplets as well as three other children.Some of the current 2016 Grandma and Orphan Program Participants
“This ministry truly stands out to me, because God has provided this opportunity to not only help orphans, but also prevent non-orphaned children from being placed into an orphanage. Rather, they are cared for mostly by family and in homes in a family setting,” says Meghann Phelps who attends Reflections Of Christ Church in Utica, KY, a church that help to found this ministry and supports it monthly.
Support of this ministry assures orphaned or near-orphaned children the opportunity to grow in a family environment.
For more information about the GO Program ministry or how to get involved, contact MOL Secretary, Meghann Phelps at 270-313-3543.
NOTES FROM DR. BOB, March 2016
From our first day on Haitian soil over 30 years ago, Betty and I were moved to tears in noting that everywhere we turned our heads we encountered dozens, even hundreds of incredibly poor, ragged, hungry and sad faced children of all ages. Upon more careful inspection in those early “bush clinics” we held, they were for the most part infested with multiple parasites and chronically ill with any combination of the typical diseases of poor sanitation, inadequate housing, or contaminated water— diseases such as malaria, dysentery, tuberculosis. And more and more of them proved to be homeless orphans.
Little wonder that ourselves, like all compassionate missions serving in Haiti, were led to seek out orphanages or even open our own in order to salvage the lives of as many of these mostly hopeless, unwanted, and unloved kids. And also like most, we learned early on that most so-called orphanages containing any number of children each, functioned in the main simply as business projects designed to milk dollars from the missionaries themselves as well as from the congregations back home wanting so badly to help out. We had observed over the years that most of the truly orphaned children in and around Jolivert were being cared for in their grandmother’s homes in the same local communities where their parents had died— and most of these from AIDS. As we became more familiar with the presence of these ladies struggling against enormous odds to house, clothe, and feed two, four, even eight or nine such children with little or no outside help, we decided to concentrate on seeking out and assisting as many of these local grandmas as was possible. So thus began our grandma project (now called our GO program—grandparents and orphans).
Please continue to pray about this wonderful way you can touch the lives of one or more of these precious children by supporting one of these intrepid and faithful grandmas, whether by blood kinship to their young charges or simply serving them through the love of Christ by being a good neighbor to them. God bless all! Dr. Bob