Heroes of Hope

Photos Courtesy | Friends of Orphans

Heroes of Hope is a riveting video that uses powerful images, stories of struggle, and the tales of the people who rise up against struggle to make change. The video that has been televised on stations such as CNBC, and can be seen at here, takes the viewer on a journey of transformation from abandoned child, to family member, to future leader. The video was produced by Friends of the Orphans which is an organization that supports orphanages and outreach programs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

I got a chance to speak with the CEO of Friends of the Orphans, Sharon Saxelby about the Heroes of Hope project and why they chose Haiti. “To us Haiti is the most difficult situation, economically in the western hemisphere. If you can find hope there (Haiti) you can find hope anywhere,” Sharon explains. The contrast is sharp as the video introduces the viewer to the problems of Haiti using haunting images, and staggering statistics such as the countries nearly ½ million orphans. This is quickly met with the stories of children who have found stability at the orphanage.

Stability is a key aspect to the success of Friends of the Orphans and the programs it partners with. “It is amazing what can happen when kids are loved. And given the opportunity to be a part of a safe stable environment,” she explains. In Haiti the children are not waiting to be adopted, but rather being raised in a family style group home until they reach adulthood. This forms a community of children who were once disinherited and are now forming bonds that can last a lifetime.

Sharon speaks often of the concept of “Shared responsibility,” that is at the bases for the success of the children. Each child is responsible for chores such as cooking, cleaning or farming. The older children look after the younger ones, and upon reaching adulthood each child is expected to give one year of service before going onto further education that is provided by Friends of the Orphans. Many adults return to the home they were brought to as orphans to act as “House Parents.” They play an important part in the mentorship to the children and are great role models as they are able to relate to the problems of the children. This solidarity builds a community where children are given an opportunity to flourish. Where health care, safety and love are freely given in hopes of building a community of children who will grow into the next generation of leaders.

Upon ending my interview with Sharon she shares a story that one of her colleagues told her years ago. The story surrounds her colleague watching a little boy pick up bottle, throw some nails in it, and tie a piece of string around the neck. Sharon explains, “That this image of a little boy making a toy out of nothing surrounded by impoverished conditions, gives me hope in the face of adversity.” Just as this image resonates in Sharon’s mind the images and stories in Heroes of Hope are sure to inspire others to get involved in such a momentous organization.

Friends of Orphans

No comments:

Post a Comment