June - December 2006 New Hospital Opens in Haiti
December 5, 2006
An inauguration ceremony was held at the new Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos/Nos Petit Frères et Soeurs (NPH/NPFS), Spanish and French for Our Little Brothers and Sisters, Hospital, Hôpital Saint Damien – Chateaublond , in Haiti on December 4, 2006. The next day, a 20th Anniversary celebration of the founding of NPH’s/NPFS’s Ste Hélène Orphanage was held at the home in Kenscoff. These are both great milestone in the life of NPH/NPFS Haiti. Visitors from all over the world, including representatives of Friends of the Orphans, were on hand for the events.
The original hospital, St. Damien’s, was converted from a five-story hotel located in Pétionville, a suburb of the capital, Port-au Prince. It was the only free pediatric hospital in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Each morning, the line at the clinic door formed early and grew quickly. For years its facilities had been unable to meet the needs of all the people who sought help. However, thanks to the support of generous donors around the world, construction of the larger hospital began in 2002.
Located in Tabarre near the Port-au-Prince airport, the new site is more accessible to families traveling from the countryside. The first part of the project, a public health center, opened on August 2, 2005. It provides preventative and prenatal care, vaccinations and HIV treatment. In addition, there are therapy and training programs for disabled children and their parents.
While St. Damien's was able to provide care for more than 17,000 people a year, the new hospital will serve even more. The former hospital will be used as a clinic for the poor and even supply free medicine.
Robin Schwartz, Sponsorship Coordinator for Friends' Illinois Region went to Haiti for the celebrations. Click here to read her report.
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Expensive Medicine Needed for Three HIV+ Children
November 30, 2006
For our over 20 children living with HIV at the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), Spanish for Our Little Brothers and Sisters, home in Honduras, anti-retroviral drug therapy makes an amazing difference in their quality of life. Thankfully all of them are on the medications. However, three children have built up a resistance to their traditional drug therapy and are in desperate need of an expensive alternative drug called Kaletra.
Kaletra, made by Abbott Pharmaceuticals, is a second-line therapy, which means that it is prescribed when standard therapy is exhausted. According to the World Health Organization, at least 4% of the HIV population currently needs second-line therapy and that number is expected to grow. Here in Honduras, more than 30 children in the governmental free therapy program supported by the Global Fund are experiencing resistance and need to start second-line drugs.
Unfortunately those drugs are extremely expensive and not easy to obtain. For example, Doctors Without Borders in Kenya pays $200 dollars per patient per year for first-line drugs and $1,400 for second-line therapy. In Guatemala, a second-line regimen is 28 times more expensive than the first-line treatment at a price tag of $6,500 a year.
Abbott has dropped the price of Kaletra by $200 per bottle, but the cost is still out of reach for developing countries. A 180-capsule bottle, which is a one-month supply for one child, costs $230 in Honduras. To cover a year’s supply for the three drug-resistant children, $8,280 worth of Kaletra is needed.
If you are interested in helping the children who need this therapy, please contact your regional Friends of the Orphans office.
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New IRA Legislation Can Benefit the Children of NPH
November 3, 2006
If you are like most Americans, your IRA is perhaps the first or second largest asset in your estate plan. In August 2006, with this in mind, Congress passed the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA 2006). This new legislation permits IRA owners age 70½ or older to transfer up to $100,000, each year in 2006 and 2007, to a qualified 501(C)(3) public charity. Through PPA 2006 you can establish a legacy gift to benefit Friends of the Orphans, with no income tax penalty or complications to you. In fact, the transferred amount is completely excluded from your taxable income and can also count toward your minimum required distribution in 2006 and 2007.
The Charitable IRA Rollover gift is limited to gifts from traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs that meet the new law’s definition of a qualified charitable distribution. The requirements are as follows:
Please contact your tax advisor to see if this excellent way of leaving a legacy to the children of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, (NPH), Spanish for Our Little Brothers and Sisters, would benefit you or someone you know.
- The gift must be made directly from the IRA plan administrator to the charitable organization.
- The IRA plan owner must be 70 ½ and above on the date of the gift.
- The gift must be a current outright gift.
- The gift is limited to $100,000 per taxpayer per year (for 2006 and 2007 only).
- The gift must be made from IRA funds that would have constituted taxable distributions.
- The gift must be made to a public charity (501 (c)(3)).
- The gift cannot be made to a donor advised fund or to a supporting organization.
- The donor must not receive any quid pro quo benefits in exchange for the gift.
For more information or assistance in a charitable transfer benefiting Friends of the Orphans and NPH, please contact your Regional Director.
Learn about other Planned Giving Opportunities.
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President of Friends of the Orphans Speaks Out about Alternatives to Adoption
October 31, 2006
Following are two recent editorials by John C. Smith, Interim President and CEO of Friends of the Orphans.
Give Madonna a Break!
By JOHN C. SMITH
The Wall Street Journal
October 28, 2006; Page A6
For the last few weeks I have been deeply saddened every time I turn on the news, or open up a magazine or newspaper. The media's coverage of Madonna's adoption of a boy from Malawi leaves much to be desired even though the story has been covered from the moment she set foot on African soil. First it was speculation of why she was in Malawi. Then when she confirmed her interest in adopting the boy, David Banda, the media attacked her motives, tracking every step along the way with bright-light headlines: "Madonna's Orphan Leaves Malawi," "Father of Madonna Orphan has Second Thoughts" -- and even "Shameless Star Buys an African Souvenir."
The media seems to play every angle they can, citing examples of past behavior that make Madonna unfit to be a mother, despite the two healthy children she already is responsible for. There are spreads in the highest circulated magazines displaying street photos of a number of celebrities with their adopted babies; Angelina and Brad, Meg Ryan and Nicole Kidman were mentioned, to name a few. Every angle is covered except the most pressing one -- that of the orphans themselves. Not many articles mention Madonna's charity, Raising Malawi, the non-profit that helps children who were orphaned by AIDS. I read no statistics displaying the number of orphans in the world, or the number of Americans (not just celebrities) partaking in international adoptions. There is no discussion of any alternatives to international adoption.
The media has not researched the different methods of aiding orphans overseas, or the many American organizations that spend every day funding projects, drafting plans and raising money for children who are born into nothing. Instead of criticizing Madonna for her choice, members of the press should focus their energy on telling the stories of the abandoned and orphaned children throughout the world who haven't been adopted and are still living in orphanages. There are thousands of orphaned and uncared-for children all over the world: in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru, as well as Africa. The media should be talking about this tragedy instead of Madonna's adoption of one child.
International adoption by celebrities in recent years has called attention to this serious problem. Whole generations are growing up without parents, or face a home environment that is unable to sustain them in a healthy way, and are in desperate need of adult guidance. However, international adoption is not the only way, nor is it necessarily the best way of helping these children. Funding and supporting orphanages that will keep the children in their home countries, near their remaining family and surrounded by their culture is a great way to ensure the children grow and develop into healthy contributing members of society. By providing health care, education, clothing and food for these children we are giving them a foundation by which they can prosper and give back to their communities.
Members of the media ought not to be chastising celebrities and gossiping about personal choices, but discussing serious world disasters and strife such as the orphan epidemic. I hope that as Madonna completes her process of adopting this baby, she continues to support her Raising Malawi projects and orphanage facilities around the world, thereby giving a chance to the children she didn't take home as well. Instead of exploiting this problem one celebrity adoption at a time, I challenge the media to address it one country at a time, highlighting these orphanages where children work every day to change their position in life and becomes assets to their communities, while still remaining true to their cultures and cultivating diverse views and understandings. By spreading awareness of these domestic facilities, we can secure safe environments where children can flourish in their domestic culture. America can make a difference -- without the vulgarity or misuse of power displayed by the media these past few weeks.
Mr. Smith is interim CEO and president of Friends of the Orphans.
Alternatives to Adoption
The New York Times
October 29, 2006
To the Editor:
"Face the Nation: Demure Madonna and Anxious President" (The TV Watch, Oct. 26) quotes the singer as saying she is "disappointed because it discourages other people from doing the same thing." That may be the case, but that discouragement may not be bad.
The coverage of Madonna's adoption of a child in Malawi was horrendous and hurtful for all parties, and even to a system designed to help the children. But if the issue of adopting children from underdeveloped countries and the alternatives that offer a better chance at growth for these youths are raised, some good may yet come from the melee.
By financing orphanages that keep children in their home countries, near remaining family and surrounded by their culture, we can offer a better way to ensure that the children grow and develop into healthy, contributing adults.
By providing health care, education, clothing and food, we are giving them a foundation on which they can prosper and give back to their communities.
John C. Smith
Friends of the Orphans
Chicago, Oct. 26, 2006
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NPH Nicaragua Featured on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric
September 6, 2006
In July 2006, a CBS film crew traveled to NPH Nicaragua with Ben Schumaker, founder of The Memory Project. They filmed Ben distributing individual portraits to the pequeños for a piece that aired on September 5, 2006, which was Katie Couric's first night as the anchor.
Read the story | Watch the video
Visit The Memory Project Web site
Learn more about NPH Nicaragua
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Friends Mourns the Loss of Father William B. Wasson
August 16, 2006
Father William B. Wasson, founder and general director of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), Spanish for Our Little Brothers and Sisters, , died on August 16, 2006, in Cottonwood, Arizona, at age 82. Memorial services were held in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota and Washington. (Read funeral messages given in honor of Father Wasson.) Private interment will be in Yarnell, Arizona, at a later date. A memorial mass at the first home founded by Father Wasson — NPH Mexico in Miacatlan, Morelos — will be held at 12:00 noon on Saturday, September 16th, to mark the one-month anniversary of Father's passing.
Born on December 21, 1923, in Phoenix, AZ, Wasson studied for the priesthood with the Benedictines in Conception, MO, but failing health delayed ordination at that time. Later during a recuperation period in Mexico, he grew to love the Mexican people and the country. He decided to stay and became employed as a teacher in criminology at Mexico City College now the University of the Americas and as a counselor at the American High School. In May 1953, he was ordained by Bishop Sergio Mendez Arceo of Cuernavaca and was assigned to the small church of Tepetates in the market area of that city. He immediately instituted a day care center for poor children. A year later he established his first home for orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children when a young boy stole from his church poor box to buy food. Instead of allowing him to go to prison, Father Wasson gave him a home, food, clothing and an education. Soon more homeless boys were sent to live with Father Wasson, and NPH was born.
Today over 3,500 children receive care at Father Wasson's orphanages. Over the years more than 15,000 have found a home and hope for the future in his homes. As Father Wasson often said, "It's amazing what you can do in a lifetime, if you just do it a little at a time." After establishing an orphanage in Mexico, Father Wasson subsequently opened homes in Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Bolivia. Today, NPH outreach programs, including hospitals and clinics assistance to children living in a garbage dump, serve over 30,000 children and adults each year. He was also Vice President at the Shrine of St. Joseph's, Yarnell, AZ.
Father Wasson received international recognition for his work on behalf of children. Among his numerous awards are the Mexican National Prize (1977), the National Catholic Development Conference Good Samaritan Award (1979), the Franciscan International Award (1981), Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle (1990), the National Caring Award from The Caring Institute of Washington, D.C. (1997), the Kellogg¥s Hannah Neil World of Children Award (2000), the Jefferson Award for Public Service (2003), the Ivy Humanitarian Prize (2005), and a prize from The Opus Prize Foundation (2005).
With a passion for the study of scripture, Father Wasson wrote three books: Luke XV, Gospel in the Dust and The Sermon on the Mount.
Father Wasson is survived by a brother, Barnabas and his wife Maria Luisa, and their children, Bamaby, Alexis and Roy, and their families of Yarnell, AZ.
In the United States, Father Wasson's work is supported by Friends of the Orphans, a nonprofit dedicated to serving the children of NPH homes. Father Wasson's NPH family has requested that memorials be sent to Friends of the Orphans. Donations may be made through your regional office or securely online. If you have a story or remembrance of Father Wasson that you would like to share, please e-mail them to us at email@example.com.
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Friends of the Orphans Donors Visit NPH Mexico
July 17, 2006
June brings about a very special celebration at NPH Mexico each year. This year, many donors were lucky to be part of the annual graduation celebrations. They gathered in Cuernavaca and Miacatlan ... Having traveled from Seattle, Mesa, Chicago, Washington DC and many other places.
The importance of graduation day cannot be overstated, especially when you consider that many of the children who come to our homes have never stepped foot in a classroom before.
For one group of donors, the trip started with a visit to the NPH Social Work Office. Laura, the social worker, explained to the group why NPH is so important. She gave concrete examples of where the children come from and the dire poverty they had been born into. The difference NPH is making becomes very real after seeing a picture of a child huddled under a cardboard box for shelter. To watch that same child receive her high school diploma the next day was quite simply put, a miracle.
If you would like to join a future trip to an NPH home, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to introducing you to these precious children and showing you how your generous contributions are being used!
Learn about other Travel Opportunities.
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June 30, 2006 - Honduras
The children of Rancho Santa Fe are smiling a little brighter after a visit from Dr. Golnar Jahanmir, a dentist from Maryland. Golnar, who first came to Rancho Santa Fe in 2000 as part of a month rotation in her UNC Dental School program, tries to get to back Honduras at least once a year.
"I really miss the kids when I'm home," says Golnar. "It's wonderful to follow their progress as they grow and change."
Golnar brought some extra help this visit: Hajira Husain and Angela Austin - two dental residents at the Washington D.C. children's hospital where she teaches part-time. The crew performed cleanings, extractions and fillings on more than 80-patients and spent the afternoon giving educational talks to the various homes on the Ranch.
"Kids who have grown up on the Ranch generally have good oral hygiene and healthy teeth and gums," says Golnar. "The newer kids often have more problems because they had a lot of sugar in their diets before coming to the Ranch."
Rancho Santa Fe children generally receive a regular check-up and teeth cleaning every two years, unless they are experiencing pain or other problems. There is only one staff dentist to attend to close to 600 children.
"She does an amazing job on very limited resources," says Golnar. "Unfortunately, most of the equipment she works with is so outdated you can't even get replacement parts anymore and she's lacking some basic materials like cleaning supplies and masks."
Golnar, who is in the process of opening her own practice, says it's very difficult to get donations from dental companies. She and the residents brought a suitcase full of toothbrushes and toothpaste, but the Ranch is still in need of a new dental chair, an x-ray machine and a suction tool. Also, dental floss is very expensive and hard to come by in Honduras.
In August, the Ranch will welcome another group of residents from UNC, thanks to Dr. Golnar.
Text: Shannon Taggart Photo: Monica Gery, Special Projects, Home Correspondent.