The Philippines: Lifelink International Adoption began its humanitarian ministry under the leadership of an earlier Lifelink President and Chief Executive Officer, Rex Pippin. Under Mr. Pippins leadership, Lifelink participated in the reconstruction and painting of a Filipino home for unwed mothers following hurricane storms in 1994. Lifelink continues to work with the Heart of Mary Villa convent and teen mothers program as adoption partners through this current day.
Haiti: In 2007, the Lifelink community began its work in Haiti through an Internet Baby Shower led by our adoptive families in the Florida Region. Rivers of Hope in Haiti now operates a fully functional orphanage, housing approximately 12 children, as well as a second facility that houses yet an additional dozen children. Lifelink visitors witnessed a touching scene at Rivers of Hope, as small children lined up at mealtime to have their tiny hands washed with Lava soap over a bucket and later as caregiver Monica spoon-fed the slowest-eating child after the others had finished. We were moved when we heard that the childrens waking hours were dictated by the sunrise and set, since no electricity was available to power the donated washing machine and refrigerator that was instead being used merely for its shelving.
Lifelink answered the call to provide a generator for electricity so that caregivers could in fact give more care rather than spend their days hand washing sheets and clothing. Through funds donated by our adoption community, Lifelink was able to purchase a generator that was installed by Haitian electricians and then inspected by Albin Richard Anderson, a Lifelink supporter and retired owner of a construction equipment services corporation.
Lifelink most recently partnered with owner Bill Dilworth of Windsor Nursery Furniture in Nokomis, Florida to build and provide stackable, custom built cribs for the Rivers of Hope orphanage. The cost of these stackable cribs was underwritten in part by Mr. Dilworth and, much like those used in many church nurseries, the cribs will allow for greater floor space and more generous accommodations for the children.
South Korea: One of Lifelinks longest standing partners in serving children is the Eastern Social Welfare Society. Since 1984, Lifelink has partnered with Eastern to offer adoption and other services to children who cannot be raised by their birth parents. Over the years, much of our partnership support has targeted Eastern Welfare Town in Pyeongtaek City, South Korea. Eastern Welfare Town is now a large, well developed campus providing comprehensive services to young adults and children with disabilities and providing residential services to unmarried mothers. The Eastern Social Welfare Town is a community that maintains a school for children with disabilities, a residential facility for orphans, a vocational training center, and church for community as well as Welfare Town residents.
The Lifelink community has provided Eastern Social Welfare Society with annual support of approximately $60,000 for the past several years. This financial partnership has helped both Eastern and Lifelink provide the high quality of care that we all value for Korean infants in foster care as well as for those in longer-term residential care.
Eastern Social Welfare Society has recently asked Lifelink to assist them in the expansion of their residential program for unmarried mothers. The need for this program is acute, as unmarried mothers are shunned in the Korean society. We extend our thanks to families who have adopted from and are adopting from South Korea for the support of birth mothers and children in South Korea.
Vietnam: Lifelink is particularly proud in Vietnam to join the admirable and noteworthy work of our partner Faith International Adoptions of Tacoma, Washington. For many years, Faith International Adoptions (FIA) has been supplying orphanages in Vietnam with water filtration systems to provide clean drinking and bathing water for more than one thousand orphans. We are pleased to take part in a project that is economical and yet provides such tangible, widespread benefit in reducing the incidence of life-threatening disease.
Lifelink has committed a total of $10,000 to efforts in Vietnam that include not only water purification but also the renovation of a new orphanage in the city of Nam Dinh. Lifelink joins Faith International Adoptions as well as agencies from three other countries to convert a former factory into the new orphanage. The orphanage will operate three distinct sections. The first section will be for healthy infants, the second for babies who have illnesses and the third will house a sweater-weaving facility to help fund and sustain the orphanage. We will keep Lifelink families posted on the progress of this renovation.
Nepal: Lifelink CEO and President Tim Rhodes visited an orphanage in Nepal during May 2008 in anticipation of additional cooperative work with Faith International Adoptions. On behalf of the Lifelink family, Reverend Rhodes delivered $5,000 in direct aid which will be used for needed operating support.