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“It takes a village to raise a child.” That old proverb holds more truth to me now than ever before.
I am the mother of a 6 year old boy named Landon. Two years ago, Landon and I attended a benefit concert in the small town of Almonte, Ontario. The concert was meant to raise funds for the work of a Haitian born woman by the name of Dieudonne Batraville. She lives in Almonte when she comes home to rest. Dieudonne has worked in St. Marc, Haiti for the past 16 years. She is a leader with strong convictions who has a heart for helping others. She has implemented schools, roads, hospitals and more within the St. Marc community.
When the earthquake struck in January 2010, people knew that Dieudonne was the person that they could bring orphaned and abandoned children to. They knew that she was the one who could provide care for the sick and dying. They knew that she was a leader who could evoke changes in a community. Never having worked with young children before and not realizing what the future would hold, Dieudonne took a leap of faith in founding the Centre Vie Orphanage, which is where Landon's friends now reside. Caring for the children is a voluntary job and, rather than getting paid for this work, Dieudonne has contributed her salary earned from other employment, to the orphanage to keep it afloat. Running an orphanage with 31 kids is a huge undertaking, however, she has handled her new endeavor with grace, and leaned on God to help her provide for the children's needs.
Three weeks after my son Landon attended the concert, he shocked me by saying that he had a plan to make money for the kids who had no parents. He didn't even know the word "orphans" yet (he was not quite four years old at the time). He was determined to bake cookies and cupcakes and sell them to raise money for the children. As his mother, I was both proud and shocked at this demand from my very young child.
Landon would come home from daycare each day, open the bakery cupboard and bake so that I could take his goodies around town to sell. He officially named himself "Landon's Bakery" after selling his first few batches of goodies, and his aunt Jenna made him business cards for his 4th birthday.
Two years later, he has raised $3000, and his dream of helping the kids has expanded into a donation program that raised $28,000 last year! Talk about a ripple effect … Through faith in God, the support of several church communities, and a strong partnership with Dieudonne, we have kept the kids at Centre Vie thus far.
The orphanage needs approximately $55,000 per year in order to survive and, by the grace of God, and Dieudonne's selfless contributions, this amount was achieved last year.
That being said, the future is very uncertain right now because sponsorship contributions cover only half of what is needed and additional donations are very sporadic. In addition, Dieudonne no longer has an outside source of income to contribute to the orphanage, which leaves a sizeable shortfall in the orphanage budget. We are eternally grateful to our existing sponsors and donors but it is going to "take a village" to raise these children.
I am hoping and praying that those who read this story will be able to help us in
some way. On my end, this journey began with a child wanting to help other children
in need. I feel that it is in alignment with God's will for my life to continue
to try and help these precious kids. They need constant, long-
We have worked so hard to keep these children at Centre Vie; and the children who reside there have been through so much in their young lives – an earthquake, a cholera outbreak, trauma due to loss, etc.– if they have survived all of this, we can't let them be separated now.
Landon calls them his brothers and sisters and knows most of them by name. They pray for us every night and we pray for them as well.
We now pray for you too… that you may be moved by these words.
God Bless You,
Centre Vie Program Coordinator
Lifecentre @ hotmail.ca