International Project: Orphanage in Juárez, México

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Centro Victoria Hogar de Niños (Centro Victoria Home for Children), Ciudad Juárez, México

Monadnock Rotary Club has teamed up with a Rotary Club in Juarez, Mexico to provide funds for much needed bedding and school equipment for the Juarez orphanage Centro Victoria. Through this partnership, the two Rotary clubs have been able to increase contributed funds via a matching grant program operated by Rotary International.

MRC first became aware of the orphanage when local high school youth in the Monadnock region approached us for contributions toward their annual service trip to work at the orphanage.

Centro Victoria is a home for children who have been abandoned as a result of the extreme poverty into which they were born. This poverty has been exacerbated by drug wars, negative media, and the recession in the United States, and were it not for a courageous man named Pastor Joel Cortes Ramirez, these children would be living on the streets and falling prey to gangs and prostitution. Pastor Joel and his wife, Carmen, have vowed to do as much as they possibly can to save these children, give them a caring home, an education, and a chance to overcome the abuse and poverty into which they were born.

Pastor Joel was himself abandoned as a child on the streets of Mexico City where his limited choices for survival led to gangs and drugs. In his life with drugs, he moved to Juárez and eventually became destitute and near death until a rehabilitation mission found him and brought him under their care. Pastor Joel courageously rebuilt his life, married, and had four children of his own. He promised to do whatever he could to save children from the life that he experienced as a child.

The orphanage provides a home of love and security and he fills a crucial gap in these children's lives with food, clothing, shelter, schooling, and medical attention. He helps heal their emotional wounds and tend to their special medical needs, such as a club foot.

There are currently 43 children in the home and their basic annual needs cost $3,000 per child. His dream is to house 100 children. 

The mission of this brave man is little known beyond the small groups from churches who hear of the dire needs of the area, send volunteers and offer limited financial support. Negative media reports about the area, coupled with the financial crisis, further limit financial support. Yet through all of the bad news, Pastor Joel continues his work. He is tireless in his goal to help abandoned children and he has a Faith that does not end.

Please consider these children in your charitable giving. Tax deductible checks may be made payable to Amigos en Cristo, with "Centro Victoria" in the memo line, and mailed to Amigos en Cristo, PO Box 1225, Springfield, IL 62705.