History of the Orphanage
Prior to 2006, people in the area of Trou-Bois, Haiti, began bringing orphans and other children who were not being taken care of by families, to Ertha Papillon for her care. Ertha was always a sign of hope in the community, she was someone who could be trusted and who truly loved and cared for others. Soon, many more children were brought into Ertha’s care and because of this, she realized that God was calling her to begin an orphanage. When she visited St. Thomas the Apostle Parish located in Illinois in 2006, Ertha spoke briefly about her vision for the orphanage. After speaking about her vision, a family made a large donation that enabled the first orphanage building to be constructed, and the orphanage soon grew to 30 children. The most recent child was taken in a few years ago when a young woman on a bus asked Ertha to hold a baby while she went to purchase something. The woman never came back.
Over the years the family from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish continued to provide the majority of the funds to operate the orphanage and to initiate programs to help with the goal of self-sufficiency. Without these funds and additional donations from others, there is no doubt that some of these children may have died. Ertha and her family members in Haiti and Miami have also provided some funds.
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish sent medical teams to set up a clinic in Duchity, Haiti. They also visited the orphanage to provide care. There have been other medical missions from St. Edward & Christ Episcopal Church in Illinois whose primary goal was to provide health care to the children in the orphanage. There have also been youth missions who brought their love, care and fun! All have made a positive difference in the overall growth of the children in the orphanage.
One of the major needs in the past was to build a separate building for the cafeteria to feed the children. After making presentations to Immaculate Conception Church in Elmhurst, IL (to the parish community as well as to the elementary and high-school students), funds were received primarily from one family to begin building this new cafeteria for the children!
In 2014 Ms. World visited the orphanage! She not only demonstrated a newly designed water project for safer water for the orphanages in Haiti but the Ms. World Foundation also donated new beds for the children, which were very much needed.
What's Happening Now
At the end of 2014, the family from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in the U.S. was no longer able to continue their support. In addition, the contributions from Ertha’s family were significantly reduced when a family member was no longer employed due to health issues, and other family members could no longer contribute financially. Ertha, who has never received a salary for her work at the orphanage, began taking steps to reduce the operating costs of the orphanage:
The number of employees at the orphanage has been reduced.
Twelve of the oldest children in the orphanage are being placed with a family member(s) in early 2015. In Haiti, orphanages include not only true orphans but children whose parent(s) are extremely poor and cannot take care of their child. Last year the Ministry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti who oversees all the orphanages, requested that older children in the orphanages who have a family member(s) nearby, be placed back with the family member(s). There are six other children who will also be placed with a family member after the school year ends in June. This will leave twelve true orphans in the orphanage.
The mission of the orphanage is to continue to provide a loving, caring, family environment while taking care of the children’s very basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and medical, and to empower them with a good education, skills, and a faith background for them to have a sustainable future in their community. With your help the children will have the opportunity to have that future!