New York-Based Effort Aids Disaster - Ten Homes for Tsunami Orphans in Aceh, Indonesia

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New York based non-profit organization has become key player in reconstruction efforts following the devastating tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia last December 26.

We now have 12 children in our care, with another 27 ready to move in – and we need sponsors for each of them

Orphans International (OI) Worldwide, a New York based non-profit organization building interfaith orphanages around the globe, has become a key player in reconstruction efforts following the devastating tsunami that washed Aceh, Indonesia's shores one year ago.

With the help of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the Roosevelt Island community, Rotary Chapters in Huntington and Northport, the Red Cross of Monaco, Northport High School on Long Island, Spring Hill Elementary School outside Washington, and the Grodzins and Luce families, OI has opened a campus for tsunami orphans in Sumatra with ten homes completed, being built, or soon under construction.

Each child in OI’s care needs four sponsors, three to cover immediate costs and one to endow the child’s future with post-high school education or training. A child sponsor contributes $600 per year towards the child's care and is encouraged to visit the campus. A small home for four children costs $18,000 to build.

In addition to the Princess Grace Home for Tsunami Orphans, the OI Sumatera campus also has a functioning health clinic open to the community and a multi-function classroom. A satellite-linked computer clinic is being opened, with contributions from corporations such as CNN in Jakarta. Air France, Singapore Airlines, and China Airlines have provided transportation to OI staff and volunteers.

"It is amazing to me that we have had the impact we have had from the other side of the world," states OI America president Rosa Suárez. "We now have 12 children in our care, with another 27 ready to move in – and we need sponsors for each of them," Suárez adds. By the end of 2006 OI expects to house 72 tsunami orphans outside Banda Ache, the capital city of the Aceh Province on the island of Sumatera in Indonesia.

Orphans International America has received bi-partisan support from leaders such as former president Bill Clinton, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, Gov. George Pataki, as well as many New York City-based public officials. State Rep. Pete Grannis spoke at last month’s annual benefit held at the Harvard Club in Manhattan. Orphans International is a non-partisan organization incorporated in New York in 2002.

Last month in Indonesia, the Acehenese Ministry of Social Affairs recognized Orphans International's work with tsunami orphans along with UNICEF and Save the Children. The Chair of OI Worldwide’s Global Advisory Board is H.S.H. Prince Albert II. OI America was founded by Jim Luce and is designated as a 501(c)3 organization by the IRS.

OI's mission is "Raising Global Citizens" and OI's children remain in their native countries to become educated to their fullest potential and then help move their countries forward; OI does not place children for adoption in America. Projects are also running in both Sulawesi, Indonesia, and Gonaives, Haiti.

Projects in formation include Romania, Togo, El Salvador, the Philippines, Peru, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, and Guyana. Future plans include working with AIDS orphans in both China and India. Each OI campus is working towards full programming for the orphaned children and the village community with classes for English, computer science, and a strong emphasis on the arts.

For more information, write info@oiww.org. More information is also available on OI's website, http://www.oiww.org; the organization's free monthly e-newsletter is available by e-mail. A photo-essay by Brooklyn-based photographer Michael Bierman is available by pdf.

Tax-deductible contributions for the tsunami orphanage may be earmarked "tsunami" and sent to "Orphans International" at 540 Main Street, Ste. 418, New York, N.Y. 10044. Last year less than 3% of OI America’s income was spent on management.

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