Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why do we need to build an orphanage? *updated*

Do you know what happens to a child in South East Asia when her parents separate?

Do you know what happens to a boy when his mother marries a new husband?

Have you read Grimms Fairy tales?

Take the worst step parent story in a fairy tale and multiply it by at least 100 and you will get an idea of what happens to kids in these situations.

Stepparents don’t care for stepchildren at all. Children are treated like servants, sent out to beg, or sell flowers, or cigarettes, or their bodies to earn the family money. They are beaten, abused and abandoned.

There is a boy in our care who came to us after his stepmother passed away. He has scars from the day she took a break from beating him and poured hot cooking oil on his head instead. His vision is impaired because of it. His name is Suchart and he has the sweetest smile, plays the longest and laughs the loudest. He wants to be a doctor some day.

 The worse the poverty the worse these children are treated and it’s an entrenched cultural norm that will take time to change, time and generations.

So what can be done? What can you do?

For starters, we care for the children. We give them a home. We give them a chance. We get them medical attention and school and proper food. We find people who genuinely care about them to care for them.

But we don’t stop there because that doesn’t change anything for any other kids. It doesn’t address the source of the problem. So we use that orphanage to change the community. We help it to establish businesses that provide an income to take care of the children and also provide jobs and resources to the surrounding community. We hire villagers to work in the businesses, things like farming, producing traditional handcrafts, microfinance, clean water and energy, and entrepreneurial education. See Building a Self Sustaining Orphanage

We figure out how taking care of the kids no one wants can be the means to bring change in the community as well, and then we go ahead and do it.

Phase 1 is to finish building a home for them and get the farm up and running to raise food for them to eat and to sell. For details on the next 4 stages you can download our executive summary here.

We're halfway to owning the land outright, to use as we need. If we don't get the rest in time for Aaron to pay it off on his next trip to Thailand in October we will default on our contract and lose everything we invested in last year. The kids will continue to be without a permanent home and their existence will continue to be on a subsistence level, dependent on the whims of the western donor.

It's crunch time. We need you.

Please donate now to help us get there. Every little bit counts.

 Update: It is midnight September 30, 2011 and The Orphanage is Funded! It's amazing. Thank-you all. Please go vote for us at Giving of Life so we're eligible to win a $50,000 grant. It literally takes a second. Go ahead and keep donating too, we're going to need it for phase 2 of our plan.

We have so many cool prizes that some great businesses and people have donated to help make this fun. I want to feature each individually so check out the links below so see more and how to enter to win a prize. Every donation, retweet using the hashtag #thecharisproject, and facebook share of our page, or our cause, is eligible to win a prize.

Winners will be chosen at random from all entries after the contest closes shortly before midnight on Saturday, September 10, 2011. (Update-All of the prizes below are given away. But there is another giveawayuntil September 30th. Go here to see the great prizes.)

Heartstamped copper necklace, Abundant Love by Christy Klein Originals
Secret Agent Josephine's ABC's a children's book by Brenda Ponney
6 copies of Mr. Ray's new album Hello World and an exclusive in home concert experience open to Calgary residents. (Valued at $200)

Free Childbirth Preparation Class from Birthing Paths Childbirth Classes - Valued at $375

iPod nano 8G - Courtesy of Blue Fern Cottage

11x14 Custom Canvas Print by Easy Canvas

Good News to the Poor Package and Gemstone Giveaway

To find out that we're legit check our Guidestar Profile, or, come with us to Thailand. If you don't like paypal you can donate through our causes page.

Building a Self Sustaining Orphanage

In 2007 we discovered a group of refugee kids in crisis in Thailand and asked for donations to help to take care of them. People responded and it was heartwarming and overwhelming to see how many of you gave so a lot of really wonderful little kids in Thailand could have a safe place to live, be able to go to school and be taken care of by warm and loving people who really care about them.

But once the crisis had passed we had all these kids to take care of, and we still needed to ask for money every month to care for them and we weren't doing much to help any one else or any other kids.

We thought, there has to be a better way.

So we started the exciting work of figuring out how we can maximize our impact in that region and make it so that our care for children is also something we can use to bring development and change to the communities and villages where these kids are from.

This is where the idea of a self sustaining orphanage was born.

What if an orphanage didn't need to rely on donations to survive? What if it could not only care for children in need but also revitalize the community through socially conscious business practices.

Our goal is to bring this Charis Home to the point where they don't need us at all and are thriving and self supporting. It's our further goal to replicate this model so that other struggling orphanages can become self sustaining and a source of life to the community they are in as well. It's our further, further goal to dispense with the orphanage altogether and move to a more broad spectrum community solution in time based upon this model. Essentially, we're trying to put ourselves out of business.

Well, that's the vision, the short version. (For a copy of our executive summary go here.)

Last year you helped us to raise $7000 to buy a truck for the Charis Home so the kids could have a safe way to get to school and back, and to a doctor when they are sick.

Do you know what those smart, smart people are doing with the truck you helped purchase? They are running a transport business. When the truck isn't in use to drive children places they use it to transport crops to market for local farmers, they use it as a taxi to give other people rides. They charge for their services and as a result they need less money from us than they did a year ago.

Once they have a building of their own and an operating farm they will be almost completely independent. They will be in a position to start investing in ore business opportunities to help start the hostel in the nearby village. Imagine, orphanages that can afford to fund other start up orphanages.

Here's what we need to get there.

We need $10,000 by September 30.

We owe $6000 still on the land we purchased last December. We received a very generous donation for the first half, which we thought would be the full amount but that land was so remote it would have cost $12,000 more to develop it. The land we decided to purchase was initially more expensive, but ultimately much cheaper, for starters, we don't have to build a road to it, or set up utilities. Also it's in a very good community.

They have already graded and prepared the land for buildings.

We estimate the cost of building an orphanage to be $2000.

We estimate the cost of starting a biointensive farm that will provide food for the children and to sell at local markets to be about $500.

We owe a remaining $700 on a smaller piece of land nearby with a fish pond on it that we are going to teach the business manager at the home to use for aquaponics, which is essentially using fish pond water for fertilizer and plants for filtration and growing two crops in one really quickly, and really efficiently.

It will take another $1300 estimated to actually set up the aquaponics system.

If we can't pay off the land at least by the time Aaron goes to Thailand again in October we forfeit it and the money already put into it. We can't afford a loss like that. The kids can't afford a loss like that. They are living in a rented storage facility waiting for their permanent home to be built.

Will you help us?

Like I said, there are prizes. I will be telling you about them over the next 2 weeks. (Teaser... Ipod anyone?) To win you have to make a donation and leave a message on our facebook wall saying you donated, which is where paypal will send you when you are finished. Some prizes will have a way to enter a 2nd time which I will tell you about. Some prizes are regional. We will draw winners at random from all of the entries after the fundraiser ends just before midnight September 10, 2011.

We can not do this alone. Please tweet, share on facebook, and tell your friends about the chance to help any way you can. You never know who will be interested unless you ask them. I always go into these things feeling like it's impossible, it's too much, and it won't happen. So far, you have always proved me wrong. So I'm counting on you guys to do your magic yet another time for the sake of these kids.

Thank-you so, so much.

To find out if we're legit check our Guidestar Profile. If you don't like paypal you can donate through our causes page.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Building a Self Sustaining Orphanage - Christy Klein Originals Giveaway

We are so excited about the things that have been donated this year for our build an orphanage fundraiser.

See for yourself.

Hand-Stamped Copper Heart Necklace - Abundant Love

Christy, the woman behind Christy Klein Originals, has been a great supporter of The Charis Project. Look at this fabulous creation of hers that she donated.

Look at the gorgeousness. I love the blurb she wrote about it in her shop too. I want to be the woman she made this for.

I know, you are asking yourself how you can enter to win this lovely necklace. As you know, we need to raise $10,000 to finish building an orphanage by September 30. Why we need to build an orphanage. We need your help. To enter to win this lovely prize you can make a donation to our cause, it doesn't matter how much.

You can also tweet using the hash tag #thecharisproject with a link to one of these posts, or share our facebook page, or cause. Winners will be chosen at random from all entries after the contest closes shortly before midnight on Saturday, September 10, 2011.

To find out that we're legit check our Guidestar Profile, or, come with us to Thailand. If you don't like paypal you can donate through our causes page.