The Centre Today
At Welcome Home Children’s Centre, each child is provided with the necessities of life: nutritious food, secure shelter and medical care. They are also enrolled at the local schools to ensure their ongoing education.
The children engage in after-school activities such as Boys and Girls club at the local Baptist Church, computer class and English classes. Every four months they embark on an excursion that takes them to other parts of Haiti such as site seeing in Port-au-Prince or participating in outdoor events with Boys and Girls club groups belonging to other churches. These programs ensure that each child is given the best possible chance to have a better life than their parents had. It is through nurturing, supporting and loving one child at a time that this town (pop is 63,000) in Haiti will be transformed.
There is a clinic in Cabaret where the children are regularly taken if they require medical attention. Local doctors also visit the orphanage from time to time to conduct ‘wellness checks’ to ensure that all the children are in good health and care they need. Volunteer physicians from North America also conduct paediatric clinics during their visits.
In the Beginning...
Initially the plan was to provide a home for street children. Camille and the WHCC team quickly learned that the majority of these kids had lived on the streets their whole lives. Their needs went beyond simple food and shelter. WHCC would need to provide social services which the organization had not yet developed. A shift in thinking was needed in order to get the orphanage up and running.
It was learned that there were many orphaned children living with relatives in the area. Many people came with their nieces, nephews, grandchildren and friends’ kids to find a permanent home where they would get the nurturing they needed.
The WHCC team conducted numerous interviews to be sure that the children they received actually were orphans as in some cases parents saw an opportunity for their child to have a better life and were willing to let their child go, heartbreaking scenario that Camille, Audrey and Sam saw played out over and over. To turn them away was one of the hardest things they’ve had to do, but they needed to stick to their commitment to help the most needy orphans.
Today WHCC provides a permanent home for 10 children aged 3 to 15.