Help Haitian Orphans ~ Fundraiser for an Orphanage in Haiti

My sister, Deborah Wunderli, of Salt Lake City Utah, and her sweet Hubby and kids are currently funding an orphanage in Haiti.  When the earthquake of 2010 hit Haiti, THOUSANDS of children were orphaned.  Orphanages generally don’t get funding from their government for their upkeep, and most are run by volunteers and are extremely short staffed and underfunded.  When she traveled to Haiti to visit the aftermath, she was introduced to a small orphanage housing under 20 children.  The orphanage was going to be closed, and the children farmed out to other orphanages if funding wasn’t provided.  She took it on, and is now the provider for 20 children and their living conditions in Haiti.  She has already adopted 3 of these children.  She is covering costs such as medical expenses, property rental, food, water (they have to buy water to drink), diapers/baby formula/supplies, paying the employees at the orphanage, clothing, etc.  There is a never-ending need for more help.  Funding for education for the children is being worked on by an organization called “Haitian Roots”, and they are working on getting all the children sponsored to pay for schooling.  {If you’d like to sponsor a child, go to the website “”.}  My desire is to lift the burden of these expenses from my sister  and her family for a full year, so that they can continue to provide, organize, and run the orphanage without feeling the weight of paying for it all by themselves.  She doesn’t know we are doing this… and I don’t know if we’ll raise enough for the goal, but if we work together I know we can make a dent!  If you could imagine, just for a moment,  having the weight of the lives of 20 orphans and their welfare on your shoulders… plus trying to provide for your own growing family of 9… The children there eat 2 meals a day at most.  Babies get a few bottles of formula a day.  The children are malnourished and skinny… you can tell their health status by their lack of hair growth…  yet they smile. They are happy.  They don’t know anything different.  My sister has visited the orphanage several times over the past couple of years, organizing building projects, coordinating mission trips for volunteers, painting, cleaning, teaching hygiene/etc, and mostly giving lots of hugs and cuddles to the emotionally deprived kids living there.  From what she’s said, it is EXACTLY like you see on TV… the poverty is extreme and the children are literally left to fend for themselves.  Many of the orphans in Haiti were found wandering on the streets of after the earthquake.  The 3 children my sister adopted were orphaned from the earthquake.  We don’t know how old they are… We had to guess.  These are all harsh realities- and a daunting load to bear.   If we band together and help lift up and support this burden we can make a huge difference in the lives of these little kids.  Join us today and donate to HELP  HATIAN ORPHANS.
Please SHARE SHARE SHARE this message!!! This is just a regular person asking for some real help.  I’ve never done anything this big before… I just hope to make a difference.  Please help raise funds to support this orphanage in Haiti.  Our goal is to raise enough to pay the expenses for the whole entire year!
Here’s an excerpt from my sister’s personal journal about her last visit to the orphanage:

“It’s my 8th trip to Haiti in the past 2 1/2 years.  After a 40 minute, hot, humid and dusty drive we arrive at the orphanage. I am excited but I am also anxious. I’m excited to see the faces of the children I have grown to love. The children who I worry about during the months I am away. I am anxious because I know that every time I see them it makes me love them more and the more I love them, the more it hurts to leave them.

As we pull into the driveway I see one girl and two boys venture out of the house. I don’t recognize them. Ten new children have been left at the orphanage since I last visited 6 months earlier. I smile at them. They approach me and shyly smile back.  She is beautiful, she smiles easily and warms to my greeting and hug.  She immediately practices her English, “My name is *Rosalina” she says with a soft smile.  I give her as much love as I can during our brief exchange and realize that two little boys are very near, watching closely. I hug them and say hello. I’m sure they don’t know why they are being hugged but I do it anyway and they melt into my arms. All three stay close as I get my belongings out of the car and start walking into the house.

The first child I recognize when I come into the house is 8 year old Gabrielle. She cried the last time I left.  On that day I kissed her tears, told her I loved her, told her I would be back soon and then cried myself as I drove away.  I have learned to wear sunglasses on departure day to hide the tears.

When I see Gabrielle there are children I don’t know around me and I can’t really move so I reach out towards her, beckoning her to come give me a hug. She is surprised to see me. She looks at me for a moment, offers what might be a smile but then walks away. My heart breaks a little. It takes her the entire first day before she comes searching for me and seems to want my attention. Is she deciding not to become attached because she knows I won’t be staying long?

I eventually search out all the children I have known for the past three years and meet all the new children.  Most of the youngest ones do not smile at first; even the ones who I think should remember me.  I worry about attachment disorders but I try not to. After all I am a stranger with a very odd colored face.  I’ve known Jasmine since she was a baby. She is now three years old and she was scared of every white person that walked into the orphanage for the first 2 years of her life. I try not to jump to conclusions but it’s strange to talk and coo to a baby or toddler who doesn’t respond, who doesn’t maintain eye contact for more than a second, who you can’t get to laugh or talk. On this trip it takes Jasmine four days before she voluntarily comes to sit with me while I am reading a story. To this day I have never seen her smile. I will leave her again at the end of this trip. Does the time I spend with her hurt or help?

The Jackson and Jefferson are brothers. They always act like aren’t interested in my visits but they smile in spite of themselves when I make them hug me. I make it impossible for them to resist me by bringing apples slices, no one is too cool for those. Nine year old Charlie is so lovable I want to squeeze him forever. He was brought to the orphanage as a baby and has no known siblings. At first he tries to be cool, like the other boys, and not get excited to see me. But within 10 minutes his little personality is overflowing as he continually calls my name asking me to “watch” as he throws some daring acrobatic move on the pavement. He can’t read but other than that he seems incredibly well adjusted for a kid who has lived in an orphanage his entire life. I have to force myself to not always give him the biggest apple slice.

Taliyah is 13 and she walks by with barely a glance in my direction. I call her to me and teasingly chastise her for not coming to say hi. I have known her for 3 years. I have carried notes between her and the family that has been trying to adopt her for 4 years. I have written my own notes to her and had them translated into her language. During my last trip she started to cry and she ended up leaning into me. I hugged her till she pulled away and then I sat with my arm around her while she cried and we ‘talked’ as best we could about the things that were worrying her. I have sung her to sleep at night. I tried to shower her with love and attention that trip. Her cold reaction stings.  I know I’m being ridiculous. I have to push through it. I’m convinced she needs to know that I am there for her even if she doesn’t need me. I can’t let her push me away. I can’t abandon her. She has had too much of that.

I am often discouraged by countless situations that exist in the orphanage.  My first-world brain goes into overdrive. Urine drenched mattresses smell up the boys room since half of them still wet the bed. There are still no toys or books because everything we have brought gets destroyed. The babies are left in wet diapers longer than I’d like and all of the children are without adult supervision or attention far longer than I feel is safe or healthy. After many attempts at fixing some of these problems I discover that first world logic does not translate well. Many of the issues that frustrate me are a direct result of living in poverty.

To ease frustration I remind myself of everything we have accomplished since taking this project on 2 years ago.   We have managed to pay rent and employ caretakers. The kids sleep in metal bunk beds instead of on the floor. Termite infested wood and rusted iron walls and roofs have been repaired and replaced. We have wired for electricity so 30% of the time, when city allows electricity to come to the orphanage, we have light and running water. When there is no running water there is a large tank under the house that catches rain water which can be used for washing but water needs to be purchased for cooking and drinking. The kids are also guaranteed a good meal or two daily. Usually a large frisbee full of rice with a few beans for one meal and corn mush for the other. We have also raised enough money so that at least for now, most of the kids can attend school. Ultimately, the future of these children is still extremely vulnerable, but they have a roof, they have food and they have opportunities for education. In many ways, these children are better off than over 50% of the people living in Haiti. I wish I could be more comforted by this than I usually am.

Before the big earthquake that crumbled Haiti’s capital city on January 2010 I wasn’t certain where Haiti was on a world map. Now I have three adopted Haitian children whom I love. I have new friendships with Haitians and Americans who are all trying to help alleviate the suffering in Haiti. I have become the primary sponsor of a small orphanage and I have fallen in love with kids I only see 2-3  times a year, who have no one to kiss away their tears and no one to tuck them in at night.

I am often overwhelmed with the heartache this new life brings. The flight home is always emotional.  I always give everything I have and I always know that it is not nearly enough.  In the weeks after returning home I struggle with feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. I focus on my family and try to be reasonable.

Yesterday I came across a picture of Charlie on my computer. My heart melted. I really love him. What an amazing smile! I can’t wait to see him again. I feel grateful for my life and for a moment I feel peace. In that moment I know that it is good that I can bring a little joy into the lives of children even if its only twice a year in the form of story books and apple slices.”

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 *Names have been changed to protect identities.*

IF YOU’D LIKE TO DONATE AND HELP SUPPORT THESE SWEET CHILDREN, IT’S SOOOOOOO EASY!!!!  Just click HERE to go to the “Hatian Roots” website and click on “Donate”.  BE SURE TO SPECIFY that you want your donation to go to “LA MAISON ORPHANAGE” (there’s a place to click and specify where you want your donation to go).   If you want 100% of your donation to go directly to the orphanage (and I mean 100%!!!) then add 3% to your donation to cover the paypal fees that are taken out by paypal.  You can also send me (Ela) a check directly made out to: “Hatian Roots” and put in the memo that it is for “La Maison Orphanage” and 100% of your donation will go directly to the kids.  EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS.   Whether you donate $10, or $1,000…. your donation WILL make a difference. If you’ve ever wanted to help for a good cause, and you’ve worried about donating to a TV show, or commercial because you are afraid that most of your money won’t make it to the children… THIS is the fundraiser for you!  There is no red-tape to go through.  Just your money straight to the kids.  These kids need our help.  The photos above you see are of the kids in some of the clothes that were donated by my family some friends.  They went straight from our own drawers to the backs of the Haitian children.  Please consider in your heart if you can spare a little bit for these children in need.  HERE is a Christmas Mini-Session Promotion I’m doing as a fundraiser for December!  Please check it out!


As Mother Teresa once said,

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

For any questions you might have, feel free to email me at:


Ela Wunderli


Itsy Photography


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