An estimated 100 million children live in the streets in the world today. That number is close to the entire population of Mexico. What if these children were suddenly given a loving home, an opportunity for a decent education, and medical care?
Would this change the world?
I believe it would.
Miguel is a perfect example:
Miguel enjoyed a regular childhood like any child in any small town in Mexico. But when he was 8-years-old, tragedy hit, and his mother died. His oldest sister Olivia stepped into the role of mom and cared for him and his two siblings. Five years later, though, the pressure became too much for her and she committed suicide -- a tragedy that devastated the whole family. Miguel's father couldn't handle so much loss and drowned in alcoholism, which blinded him and left the children neglected. They had no food to eat and no permanent place to stay. The government intervened, which meant that the children were sent from one orphanage to another.
Miguel was 15-years-old when his grandmother learned about our home for disadvantaged children in Mexico. She asked that the children be admitted, and this is when Miguel's life, as well as the lives of his brother, Luis, and sister, Laura, changed forever.
Miguel finally was able to eat three meals a day, go to school each weekday, and live a childhood full of fun. He played soccer with family and friends, and also found a supportive and loving friend in his Godmother Liz in the United States.
Today, Miguel has a degree from the University of Miami and serves as the executive director at our partner organization Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH). He is responsible for driving program development and global vision at all of our nine homes for orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.
If Miguel's grandmother had not found out about our home in Mexico, who knows what would have happened to him and his siblings. Now, he is responsible for more than 3,400 children ("pequeños") living in our homes, and these children come from desperate circumstances similar to his own. Each of them has the potential to give back to the community, and to drive change -- just as Miguel did. At our homes, six directors out of nine are former pequeños. In Haiti, more than 50 percent of our medical staff at the St. Damien Hospital are former pequeños. Every year, children who once were without hope and a future grow into responsible and well-educated adults with the power and empathy to give back to their communities.
Helping children is simply a humane thing to do. And, giving children a permanent home, food, and education ultimately helps build a more humane world. There is a lot of power within children, just waiting to be unleashed.
At Friends of the Orphans, we work toward unleashing that power one child at a time. We offer children a permanent and loving home, in addition to support and education for a lifetime. We raise our children not only to become self-sufficient, but also to grow up to care for our family and to give back to their own communities.
You are invited to take part, just like Miguel's godmother Liz did: With only $1 per day, you can help change the world -- by being the world to a child. To find out more about how to sponsor a child, or about other ways to help, please visit the Friends of the Orphans website.