This past March 2012, President of Open Doorways – Sharon Dugard, Board member – Lilianne Gauthier and volunteers – Corie Koch (Whitemouth, MB) and Ute Rehill (Winnipeg, MB) flew from Winnipeg to Montreal then unto Port-au-Prince for a one-week visit at the orphanage in the community of Deschapelles (a 2-hour drive north of Port-au-Prince).

After faithfully working since 2003 on the project, it was an emotional moment arriving at the front entrance gate with the big and beautiful Open Doorways sign. Truly we have worked together with love… us at our end raising funds while they at their end worked so hard manually to build the home and security wall.

Walking on the property and up the front steps into the home was equally emotional with anticipation of meeting the children and the staff.

The home opened its doors to our first three children on November 15, 2011. The family has since grown to 10 children (6 girls and 4 boys). This includes our housemother’s little 2-year old son. We were greeted by some of the staff and sung a welcome song by some of the children. It did not take long for the kisses and hugs to flow.

Throughout the week we got to know the children individually as well as experience their day-to-day activities. Up at 5:30 a.m. during the week, they are bathed and dressed in preparation for their morning school session. After a light 7:00 a.m. breakfast, the housemother escorts them to the school next door to the orphanage for 7:30 a.m. At recess time, 10:00 a.m., they come back for a hearty breakfast and return to school for 10:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. when school ends for the day. The rest of the day includes play time and naps. The main meal of the day is served at 2:30 p.m. while suppertime is flexible. The children also belong to a faith community with the church next door to the school.

The children’s eyes opened wide with curiosity and excitement as we started opening containers and suitcases filled with almost 400 lbs. of neatly packed items for them as well as gifts for the staff. Before leaving for our trip, a variety of donations were made for the children. These included hand-sewn “rabbit stuffies” by the First Beausejour Guide Unit, dresses and boys shorts sewn with pillowcase and sugar sack material by the Pine Ridge Quilters, new and used Legos as well as hygienic bags donated by Corie’s community of Whitemouth.

Other items included a large variety of craft and school supplies, reading, coloring and activity books, both indoor and outdoor games, some medical supplies, a world map with a line of hearts connecting our community of Beausejour and area to their community of Deschapelles.

The children were so quick to learn and showed their beautiful quality of sharing amongst each other. Spending a week with them was so much fun and as we got to know them better we could possibly see in the future a doctor, pilot, teacher, banker, designer, artist, lawyer, nurse and an architect.

Thank you from Sharon, Lilianne, Corie and Ute

We are so thankful to our Project Coordinator, Gerald Augustin for the excellent arrangements and preparations made prior to our arrival in meeting us at the airport with our extra containers and suitcases, our comfort while at the orphanage as well as a driver who took us to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, the market in St. Marc and back to the airport for our departure.

It was a joy getting to know the staff locally hired for their positions of manager, housemother, assistant housemothers, cooks, laundry, security and maintenance. We have a great respect for them and look forward to introducing them to you in our next news up-date.

Sponsorship and Donations

We currently have an estimated annual cost of $24,000 for 10 children. The funds are in place for this year and we are now focusing on having these funds in place for 2013. The annual cost will increase as more children become part of the Open Doorways family.

The care of the children will be on-going as well as staff wages and maintenance of the home/grounds. We still need to purchase a generator with a cost of approximately $5,000 and we may need to look at purchasing a vehicle.

Would you consider sponsorship support with either a one-time donation or a monthly donation of $25, $40 or other amount of your choice for a one-year commitment?

Donations can also be made “in Memory” of a loved one (or) “in lieu of a gift” where the recipient receives the official tax receipt. Please contact us if any of these options touch your heart or if you’d like more information.

We accept cheques payable to Open Doorways Orphanage Inc. as well as post-dated cheques for monthly sponsorship. Donations can also be made on-line through Paypal. Canadian donations over $10.00 are issued official tax receipts.

Message from the Board of Directors

Just a few months ago, our current family of 10 children were struggling with no hope for a brighter future and now they are being loved, fed, clothed, receive medical care, empowered with education and spiritually nurtured within a faith community. This would not have been possible without your kind and caring support. From the bottom of our hearts, we extend our sincere thanks to each and every one of you for journeying with us in bringing to fruition our vision of faith, hope and love to some of Haiti’s children.

Sharon Dugard (President), Breanne Dugard (Vice-President), Lilianne Gauthier (Secretary), Breanna Zurba (Treasurer), Christine Collings, Mel Darroch, Dorothy Dugray, Heather Lindsay, Joan Litke, Benjamin & Diane Plett and welcome to our new Board Member – Ute Rehill

Jan Hnatiuk (Teaching Assistant)

Open Doorways is opening the hearts of many people. It's a wonderful example of how people really can and do make a difference.

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