Orfanato Niños de Cristo was founded in 1993 by Sonia Hane, a Dominican woman, born in Higuey, who was living in Bethlehem, PA with her husband and family. Sonia felt a calling to return to the Dominican Republic to open a home devoted to needy, homeless, unwanted or abandoned children.
The children come from all over the Dominican Republic: from villages to the west near the Haitian border and to the East including La Romana.
They come from a variety of background situations ranging from abandonment, loss of one or both parents, mothers who cannot care for them, absent fathers.
Many of the children have been physically, emotionally and sexually abused. Some have been placed in Orfanato Niños de Cristo by Dominican courts, the police, hospitals (where they are sometimes abandoned) or CONANI, the governmental childcare agency.
Those who have been able to visit Niños de Cristo and meet the children all have the same reaction: they are amazed by the happiness, and friendliness of these children, the result of the love, care, nurturing and protection of Sonia and her team and supporters.
And of course they notice the childrens’ hunger for affection, clasping visitors hands when they enter, or younger ones wanting to be held. It is a powerful experience for vistors (and the children).
The CHARLES DECKER FOUNDATION’s primary mission is supporting the orphanage Niños de Cristo where we provide food, daily necessities for 190 children, salaries for nurses at the infirmary on the premises, and salaries for teachers at the on-premises school. We also collect clothing from the U.S. and products and services from companies like Colgate, Jet Blue. We also contribute and help raise capital funds for projects like the school, and new dormitory. With more of the teenagers in their mid-teens, we are increasing our funding for scholarships for colleges and universities (in the Dominican Republic) and job training. We expect to increase our support in these areas.
In addition to our efforts to help feed, clothe, house, and educate the children of Niños de Cristo, we also endeavor to bring love and care to each child by encouraging on-going, one-to-one contact between the children, and volunteers, supporters, and visitors, demonstrating to the children they have not been forgotten.
As Mother Teresa has said, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”