The name of the project is the Love Your Neighbor Orphanage (Ama de Tu Projima Hogar for Niños) located in the northwest part of Santo Domingo. It is a small orphanage that houses 19 children, most of them very young. The director’s name is Evelin. After the first visit, I went back about a week later with the idea that I wanted to ask questions about the project and how they receive funds. My first question was to ask Evelin about the history of the orphanage. I wasn’t prepared to hear this story:
Evelin was born in a hospital (this is a condensed story). When it was time to leave the hospital her mother told the staff of the hospital that she didn’t want Evelin and she left her there at the hospital. Several days later one of the women that worked in the hospital decided to take Evelin home and raise her. It was a good plan for the next four years. It had its difficulties but when Evelin was four this lady died. There was no one who wanted Evelin. She ended up out on the street is one street children. She found herself living in a park with a number of other homeless children. They did their best to try to take care of each other by stealing food and clothing. Occasionally they would do things like shine shoes to make the money that they would use to buy some of the other things they needed. As Evelin got older she became one of the shoeshine boys. She had to dress like a boy just to protect herself from predators. The children in the park were seriously abused by the police. Many times they came in and beat the kids.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Several other things happened to Evelin. By coincidence, she did meet her mother who took her into her home. That lasted a short time because of the abuse she received there. At some point in time she did find Christ and accepted him but that did not stop some of the bizarre things that happened in her life. One of those times was that she ended up in a house full of prostitutes. It was amazing how God protected her and use it for a learning experience. The prostitutes told her that their lifestyle was bad and that she should never ever follow in their footsteps. Another time she found herself living in a house full of homosexuals. Again God was protecting her as the homosexuals told her the same thing; please don’t fall into the lifestyle that we’re in. We know it’s wrong. After that Evelin ended up in the park again. She dressed like a man and was able to find a job tending and laying cement blocks. She would then take the money and purchase flip-flops for the children in the park. She began caring for them.
When Evelin was 15 she decided that getting her education was important, so she started to school. Evelin took two different grades each year until she finally received her high school diploma. She was then able to go on to the University where she studied to become a teacher. She succeeded in doing that and then began work on a degree in psychology.
Through all that, she knew she needed to work with the children in the street. She has been taking in as many of them as she could in her home to provide them with the loving care they needed. Along the way, some people in the government found out about her work with children, especially babies. They started coming to her with some children and ask her to take care of them.
After working with the government people for several years and developing a good relationship with them, they told her she needed more space so she could take care of more children. That turned out to be a blessing. These government workers were able to have a house given to her that had been confiscated from the drug dealer. That is now home for her orphanage.
Quite a story but after that interview, I understand her commitment to helping unwanted children. But her commitment goes deeper. There is no support structure to provide funding for this special ministry. God has provided help as needed. He has also brought us together for reason.
Helping Hands Unlimited firmly believes God is leading us to more and more work with ministries that impact poor children. We have been doing that by working with Christian schools that serve the poor. About five years ago, God opened the door for us to work with the Bethesda Home for Girls (we continue to work with them). He has opened the door for us to help other small programs. And now comes the Love Your Neighbor Orphanage. We believe God has called us to partner with them and provide them the help they need to take care of these children.
Helping Hands Unlimited has established a fund to help the orphanage. Needs include food, clothing, education, utilities and a little for the paid help to make this ministry go. In the future, we will be presenting some other opportunities to give but for now, we are accepting contributions to go towards their monthly operating expenses.
Please contact Helping Hands Unlimited if you have questions or need more information.
Please look over these opportunities to help these young women and help them reach their potential. And please pray for the children and the staff at the Love Your Neighbor Home for Children.
Before you ask, it is nearly impossible to adopt a child from the Dominican Republic, however, it can be done by going through the right channels. The Love Your Neighbor Home for Children and Helping Hands Unlimited are not equipped or licensed to handle adoptions from the Dominican Republic. If you are interested, please contact us and we will forward you some contact information for someone who may be able to help you.