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Starting an Orphanage - Sharing Ideas RE: how to do it

I (like several others on this site) share a passion for starting an orphanage. My wife and I (along with our church) are beginning the exploration process of starting an orphanage in El Salvador, and we would really welcome sharing creative ideas on the how to’s.

I have read 3 books written by Christians who were inspired to start orphanages and did it! I’d really recommending reading all three – A Leap of Faith by Alcyon Ruth Fleck, Hands & Feet by Audio Adrenaline, and When Invisible Children Sing by Dr. Chi Huang. A Leap of Faith shares the inspiring story of how Alcyon Ruth Fleck started International Children’s Care (which began in Guatemala before expanding to other countries). Hands & Feet shares the story of how Audio Adreneline (a Christian rock band) felt God’s call to start an orphanage in Haiti. When Invisible Children Sing is a VERY personal account of Dr. Chi Huang’s experiences with street children in La Paz, Bolivia, that became his inspiration for starting Bolivian Street Children Project – a non profit organzation.

Being someone who hasn’t started an orphanage yet, I haven’t experienced (yet) all of the bumps along the way. Nonetheless, I have given some significant thought to the idea, and here are some things that I’ve thought to be very important:

Prayer – Spending time in prayer with God to understand what He has placed on your heart and what He is calling you (individually) to do.

Form a Core Group for Discernment – Spending time with other Christians who share the same interest, as a group, faithfully discern God’s will as a group. Consider, too, including people that bring specific expertise – For example, the core group that we are looking to form includes our pastor, a pediatrician (my wife), a pschologist (a big plus due to the huge psychological challenges children in orphanages have faced), and me (a business mind (as an accountant), who also brings a desire to faithfully follow God’s will).

Strategy and Plan (incl Finances) – Development of a strategic vision, with specific goals, and with tactics to achieve the specific goals – This is the business part of me talking, but I think it, too, is a critical step. This puts to words what the vision is and lays our a plan to achieving it. What type of model will it be (today’s newer models involve a smaller home type setting with a mother and father in each home, vs. a large building that has less of a feeling of home – 2 of the books I mentioned above (Hands & Feet and A Leap of Faith) talk a good amount about these types of models. Starting an orphanage outside the US carries many challenges (assessment RE: which country to do it, how to connect with trusted in country resources (for example, we are looking at a church group in El Salvador), how to finance the initial cost, how to finance the ongoing costs, etc…). Regarding the ongoing costs, one thing to consider is a model that will result in as low of costs as possible since the idea must be sustainable. For example, I have seen orphanages that use agricultural techniques (growing crops, animal husbandry, Tilapia fish ponds, etc) as a source of food and income to help reduce costs. Consider also green energy options (solar power, etc), to keep ongoing costs low.

Just some ideas to share – If others would like to get more specific with idea sharing, that would be great!

God’s Peace,

Sean



Comments:

Orphans, Orphanage and the poor....

Hello Sean,

I ran across your piece about an Orphanage today and I wonder about the status of such.

Please contact me and give me an update at
sendusboth@aol.com

My wife and I traveled to Honduras this year working with orphans and the poor. There is a tremendous tremendous need for this. I believe that we all, that is all of that have a servants heart to help the orphans and the poor, instead of “starting our own” and spending all the monies that it will take, should find a ministry that is already up and running and serve there…
That is what we are doing, we will be spending the rest of our lives helping the lessed blessed in Honduras…

I welcome all others to join in….

Blessings and love,
sendusboth


 

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