A newly built orphanage with ties to Eureka is now home to 24 boys and girls in Haiti, two years after a devastating earthquake there.
The home is part of a planned orphan village backed by the Haiti Orphan Project or HOPE, created by Eureka resident and Kirkwood business owner John Keane. Keane is president of the Keane Insurance Group, which specializes in medical liability insurance.
HOPE has been working through Global Orphan Project in Kansas City, MO, to help feed, house and educate some of the hundreds of thousands of orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti.
The goal is to raise money to build or rebuild orphanages and schools and partner with local churches to create self-sustaining villages.
Now HOPE’s first “village” is a reality. The Village de Vie, or Village of Life, in Gonaives, Haiti, was dedicated Jan. 14, almost exactly two years after a catastrophic earthquake struck that impoverished nation.
Back in Kirkwood, employees at the Keane Insurance Group were celebrating. Many of them have helped support HOPE since its inception. Some have even joined HOPE’s trips to Haiti to deliver supplies, meet and play with the children and help spread hope.
Keane employee Les Prouty, executive director of HOPE, said that so far, the village includes a duplex that can house 12 boys and 12 girls, as well as a kitchen building and shower house.
Still under construction is a well and water purification system powered by solar panels that will provide clean drinking water. Eventually, three more duplexes and a school building will be built, along with a sewing center and bakery where children can learn skills and help earn money.
Prouty said the orphanage, in partnership with The Philadelphia Evangelical Church in Gonaives, would eventually care for as many as 100 children.
“The schools we build serve the orphans and children from the surrounding community,” he wrote on a blog on HOPE’s website. “In addition, we help the local people establish micro-business enterprises such as sewing centers, agricultural projects, bakeries and clean water centers. These not only provide sustainable resources for the orphans, but jobs for Haitians and a means of income to support the villages.”