Sixteen months ago, December 2016, Morada de Nino Jesus Orphanage (Dwelling of Little Jesus) was facing the reality that due to the lack of funding and resources they may be forced to close or greatly downsize the number of children. None of the staff had been paid in years, supplies were low, medical costs were mounting, and we had just been informed that our long-time residence had been sold and we had 30 days to vacate. We just enrolled 2 of our children in University and had no idea how we could cover the tuition. We had little ability to store food past what we would use that day. Many of our children were behind in school due to circumstances prior to coming to us. We very much needed our own teachers and tutors and perhaps even our own home school. All we had in dependable funding was a gift of 200 per month from a woman in eastern Idaho and an annual grant from a San Diego group of $6000.00 annually for transportation. The balance of our funding we scraped for every month.
Our challenges were not unique. We are in a very poor area of Tijuana, on a dirt road near the border. Due to the special needs of some at the home, our medical costs are above average. We struggled to come up with the money to properly feed and care for the children we had. The cost of relocation kept us on the verge of closing. We needed to complete several expensive health and safety requirements from Mexico Family Services. We were out of money but not inspiration and hope.
Sixteen months, later in large part to your generosity of time, supplies, repairs and funding, there no longer is an immediate danger of the home closing. In fact, we are now adding children.
Today we are home to 34 children from age 4 to 20, half with disabilities some severe. While we face real challenges, we are blessed with an extraordinary Director, Laura Palafox, who is never daunted and ever-willing to make children’s lives better; a staff that are simply inspiring; and, of course, YOU.
We are unique in that we will take almost any child that other orphanages cannot or will not accept. Among our children are those with mental and substantial physical challenges. We have children with Schizophrenia, blindness, spina bifida, MS, birth defects and abuse prior to coming to us. But, as many of you know, these are some of the happiest, well-adjusted and focused-on-their-future children of any orphanage, or private home, in Tijuana.
Then: December 2016 a couple agreed to pay the rent every month, pay the relocation cost, provide food and educational support and guarantee the home would be funded to at least to 2020. The next week The La Mision Children’s Fund agreed to pay for all repairs and requirements to become a fully licensed DIF (Mexican Family Services) home and assisted with moving expenses. A woman from El Cajon, CA, a couple from Los Angeles and a couple from San Diego bought new bunk beds and bedding for the 6 children that had to double up at night. Marla Poggi’s Three Kings for Kids fundraiser bought a new freezer, stove, food processor and almost $3,000 of food. Leslie Smith started a campaign to begin to pay the staff and on March 15th for the 1st time in 5 years the staff received monthly compensation from her and a half dozen of her friends. Mary Ellis started a GoFundMe site that has raised over $7,000 for our new Home School. Corazon de Vida Foundation now provides medical, dental and vision care for all the children and financially supports our 2 students in University. Dan and Gina Streit pay for half the cost of our 1st full time teacher and Corazon de Vida now pays the other half. Capstone Missions now supports the other full-time teacher on a year commitment. The University of California San Diego installed a pure drinking water system and is currently installing a solar hot water system and is looking at daytime solar power.
There is still a long way to go to become what we inspire to be, but we have the best director, the best children, the best staff and we now are fortunate enough to have YOU.