"Look after orphans and widows in their distress"
Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to care for the orphan (eg. James 1:27) – to defend those who have no-one else to stand up for them.
Orphaids came into existence around 1997 when Latin Link Missionaries, John & Brenda Hart, caught the vision. It followed a conversation with an Ecuadorian lady, who was in end stage AIDS. She had shared her distress about the future of her children when she died – who would take care of them?
Due to the spread of HIV/AIDS in South America in the 90’s, more and more children were being orphaned with their extended families casting them out onto the streets. John & Brenda became acutely aware of the need to help.
They returned to the UK for home leave, they talked to friends, churches, organisations and charities about the vision to build an orphanage in Santo Domingo in Ecuador. Six months later, they returned to Ecuador with £150,000 to begin building a facility that would enable orphans to be rescued and placed in new family units.
The charity was formalised in the UK in March 2000 (Charity number: 1081104).
Over the years, the work has expanded into additional areas, such as HIV prevention and the protection of vulnerable women. Though the model has adapted to respond to changes in local legislation, the care of orphans remains at the core of what the charity does.
Around 2006, Orphaids Colombia came about through the vision of one of the UK trustees. This coincided with an approach from the Director of Orphaids Ecuador, Dr Luz Celly Piambo, who is herself Colombian. Their shared vision was to take some of the concepts behind what Orphaids Ecuador was doing within the HIV/AIDS community and provide some of the same for the growing HIV problem in Colombia.
Some of the Ecuador team spent time in Colombia to provide training and the Colombian team visited Ecuador to meet, share experiences and learn from one another.
It is great to see this work going forward in Ecuador and Colombia, headed up by Dr Luz Celly as Director of Orphaids in South America, carried out by an amazing team of key local professionals.
Vulnerable and marginalised people in South America benefit from better life chances as a result of our work. Will you join with us and offer your support?
How you can help…