Q and A with Ahaji Schreffler
“Without Love O, the chances of abuse, starvation, or forced servitude were very high – with little hope for a better future in such horrible circumstances."- Ahaji
What is Love Orphanage?
Love Orphanage is located in Croix Des Bouquets, a suburb of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Love Orphanage was founded to improve and uplift the lives of the most impoverished children in Haiti by providing a stable and loving home that supports all of their needs - mental, physical, and emotional. Our goal is to raise healthy, happy, and self-sustaining young people who will become contributing members of their community.
How did you get involved?
During my first visit to Haiti in 2011, I met the man who had just opened Love O with nothing more than a few blankets and a borrowed room, to support children orphaned by the catastrophic 2010 earthquake. I was struck to the core by his act of courage and selflessness. I had never fundraised, knew nothing about nonprofits, and had no idea how to get involved, but I felt an urgency to do something. A few months later, with one suitcase of supplies and some modest fundraising, I returned to Love O and witnessed firsthand the immediate impact this effort made in the children’s lives.
What is your role?
I’m the Founder and President of We The Village (WTV), a volunteer-based nonprofit organization dedicated to uplifting the lives of children at Love Orphanage. I serve as the primary U.S. liaison for Love O and manage all of WTV’s operations. WTV's impact at Love O includes funding seven years of education, delivering hundreds of suitcases of clothing and supplies, providing a monthly food stipend, purchasing their first and only passenger van, constructing the Love O Dream Home, and running our annual Haiti Culture Camp.
How many children are there?
We have 17 children: 7 boys and 10 girls. What is their life like now and what might it be without the orphanage?
Our children faced neglect and dire living conditions prior to joining the Love O family… severe malnutrition, no adult to care for them, and physical / emotional abuse. Their lives have been completely transformed at Love O! They attend school for the first time in their lives, supported by a loving and stable home, provided food and other living essentials, and most importantly, receive the love and attention all children deserve. Despite significant educational delays, our children thrive in school, and are healthy and happy! Without Love O, the chances of abuse, starvation, or forced servitude were very high – with little hope for a better future in such horrible circumstances.
“This fundraiser is dedicated to installing solar power and a water well system for the new Love O Dream Home to significantly improve our children’s health and quality of life.” - Ahaji
What are we fundraising for and how will it benefit the children?
This fundraiser is dedicated to installing solar power and a water well system for the new Love O Dream Home to significantly improve our children’s health and quality of life. After 6 years, we just completed construction on the new facility so our children will have ample space to play, learn, and grow. Yet without a centralized water system, daily cooking, bathing, and cleaning will still be difficult for our large family. A ground well system would provide consistent running water and greatly improve sanitation. Haiti’s public electrical grid is also unreliable with frequent power outages. Solar power would provide renewable electricity for refrigeration so we can purchase perishable foods in bulk and reduce costs. With solar power, our children will be able to study after sunset, and use laptops for enhanced learning.
“When someone chooses to support Love O, they join our village and are an important part of helping Love O continue to thrive!“ -Ahaji
What's your most precious memory of helping the kids?
Some of my favorite memories with the children have been during Haiti Culture Camp field trips, which educate them about Haiti’s history and expose them to the beauty of their homeland that they have never before experienced, such as the National History Museum, one of the National Parks, and the beach! Imagine living on a beautiful island and never seeing the ocean! Our first visit was the most magical, wonderous day – and witnessing the pure joy and exhilaration at their first plunge in the ocean was truly priceless! Anything else you'd like to share?
We The Village nonprofit is entirely volunteer based so that all proceeds raised can be used to improve the lives of the Love O family. When someone chooses to support Love O, they join our village and are an important part of helping Love O continue to thrive!