The plight of the orphan has always weighed heavily on my heart. In 1984, I was involved in a mission trip with a small group affiliated with the La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church (LVHPC) that changed my life. We traveled to Mexico to a small town known as Colonia Vicente Guerrero where we served as volunteers at a newly formed orphanage known then as Casa Hogar Bien Venido, “Welcome Home Orphanage.” My life has never been the same since. For eight years after that I worked with a group of dedicated and selfless people to serve the orphans at this home. We started a ministry group at LVHPC known as the Mexico Orphanage Mission Team (MOM). During those years this ministry group made regular trips to Welcome Orphanage, performing construction projects, transporting food and supplies, coordinated and guided mission teams from all over the United States, and provided health care for the children there. During this time I served on the U.S. Board of Directors for six years in addition to serving on this local ministry team.
In 1995 my Pastor introduced me to Stephen Githumbi who was forming a new orphanage in Kenya, African known as Providence Children’s Home. Stephen stepped into the role to fulfill his brother Joram’s vision to start an orphanage in Africa after he suddenly passed away from cancer. Stephen knew of my involvement with Welcome Home and asked if I would become a part of a team to start Providence Children’s Home. I traveled to Houston, Texas where I met with a group of people who had just formed a Providence U.S. Board to get this ministry off the ground, and I was overwhelmed by this group’s heart and passion to serve orphans. I learned and experienced firsthand how HIV AIDS was destroying a nation and how the children were suffering as a result of losing parents to this horrible disease. It was not difficult for me to hear God’s calling in all of this and I have been a part of this ministry ever since. We formed another ministry group around this mission at LVHPC and I am involved on the U.S. Board, serving as the Treasurer at this time.
Providence Children’s Home is located in the Ngong Hills outside of Nairobi. We have a school (1st thru 12th grade) that serves over 500 children, a newly constructed health clinic that was funded through the efforts of Dr. Peter White, a Doctor whose practice is in Upland, and we have an orphanage on site that provides a home for twenty-six girls who are orphaned due to HIV AIDS. We are in the process of constructing a second orphan home and are close to completing that project. This new facility will provide a home for twenty more orphans.
There is a huge need in Kenya for the children who suffer. The death rate among children is unbelievable. Some have said to me that “we need to take care of our own here in the U.S. first.” If one could only experience the horrors of living in the Kibura Slum outside of Nairobi, we would never compare the two again. That is not to say that we don’t have a need to help children in our own communities. I work at a local school where I personally witness these needs, but in Africa, children die daily of starvation and disease with no one able to offer help. It is a heart-wrenching experience that will never leave you the same once you have witnessed it. Many of the girls whose lives have been saved at Providence Children’s Home are from the Kibura Slum.
A group of local people from our community will be traveling to Providence Children’s Home this June to build a basketball court, construct library shelving, provide educational experiences at the school, and to work with and take the orphanage girls on a field trip, to name just a few of the projects. I pray that if my story is selected, that the award money would go toward these projects.
William H. Corrette, Treasurer
Providence Children’s Home