Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage Update

On June 10, 2009 the Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage in Benin City, Nigeria had an official ribbon cutting for the new building project that, when finished, will be able to house 50 children/orphans. Additional funds are still needed to complete the construction project, and a few months ago Jake and I were asked to help plan for a fundraiser that will raise money to complete the construction and provide funds for the children to be fed and schooled in the orphanage. The team that we are working with for the fundraiser sent a few members to Nigeria for the ribbon cutting, and they took tons of awesome pictures (500 to be exact) of their time in Nigeria. I am posting some of them below. One thing I am sure you will notice are the bright smiles, faces, and demeanor of the 6 orphans currently living in the orphanage. These children are given the utmost care, loved, clothed, educated, and living in a safe environment. Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage is such a blessing to these children, and will hopefully soon be able to open it's doors to the many more orphans waiting. Every time I sift through these pictures I just get goosebumps......they are really doing things right. I am so excited to have been able to work with this project, and see such an awesome work unfold right before my eyes.

Here is some more information about the orphanage:

The Reason
Nigeria, like other countries of the world, is affected by HIV and AIDS. An estimated three million people now suffer from the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Out of the estimated seventy thousand orphaned children in Nigeria, about eighteen thousand children are orphaned due to HIV and AIDS alone. Many of these orphaned children are living in unspeakable conditions, attempting to fend for themselves. They live in extreme poverty and lack basic necessities such as housing, food, clothing, education, and love. Because of their situation many suffer abuse as well as neglect. The social welfare system is unable to provide for the needs of all of these children and the few orphanages that exist lack the adequate care necessary to make these children whole again.

The Beginning
Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage, located in Benin City, Nigeria was the idea of Eric Idehen of Des Moines, and was founded in 2005. A few years earlier during a time when he and his wife were struggling to have children, Eric made a promise to God that if He blessed them with children that he would do his best to care for God’s other children. Soon after he made this vow, he and his wife were blessed with three sons. Out of that promise came the idea to open up his childhood home to abandoned children.

The Orphanage
A safe home, loving staff, food, clothing and education have forever changed the lives of the children who live here. All of them are succeeding in school because with love and attention the children can focus and dream for their future. Despair has been replaced by hope. It became clear early on that more space would be needed in order to accommodate additional children. The construction project is well underway to expand the orphanage to serve 50 children but additional funds are needed to complete the project.

The Children
Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage exists for one reason only – to help invisible and forgotten children. Each child has a unique story for how they came to live at the orphanage. Despite their desperate beginnings, all of the children are now healthy and thriving. You can learn more about The Hope Orphans by visiting the website: http://www.thehopeorphans.org/

Goal: Adoption
Every effort is being made to find adoptive families for these children. However, there is no restriction for how long a child may live at the orphanage should a family not be available. At this time, two of the orphans are being adopted in-country and two are currently being adopted by a U.S. family! Cornerstone of Hope has partnered with About A Child international adoption agency to create Action Africa, a hosting program dedicated to providing life-changing experiences and forever families for underprivileged children of Nigeria and Ghana. Please see http://www.aboutachild.org/ for program details.

Here are pictures from the team's recent trip to the orphanage for the ribbon cutting ceremony:

Here are 3 of the children being interviewed. Patrick is in the center. He is the brother to Anthonia & Favour. They lost their parents to death and were being cared for by the State Welfare Home before coming to the orphanage.

Here is Samuel holding Victoria - who is the youngest of the 6 orphans in the home. Samuel had been living at the ministry of social welfare before coming to the orphanage. Victoria was found in a bush at 2 weeks old with severe infections.

From the left it's Anthony, Favour, and Anthonia pictured with 2 of the caretakers. Anthony was found in the market place when he was a small child and has no recorded past or history.

Here are Favour and Anthony pictured with the founder of the orphanage, Eric (in the center).

Favour, Samuel, Patrick (tallest), Anthony.


1 comment:

Kathy said...

I am working with www.MealsFromTheHeartland.org and Erik's orphanage is one that we will be sending thousands of meals to after our event this September.

I'm looking for a few original photographs (not ones reduced in size for the web). Perhaps of a few of the children, one with Erik in it, one of the building, etc.

Would you be willing to share a couple of your photographs through e-mail?