Esther opens the pink cloth door to her tiny, concrete home in the mountains outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as if she’s opening the door to a castle. The 17 year-old does her best to brush her feet off before stepping inside and onto the home’s cool, concrete floors. Her pride in her home is unmistakable.
“This is where I live with my brothers and sisters,” she says as she sits on the small bed in the corner of the room. “We are family.”
Esther has become a role model to the seventeen younger orphans she now calls her brothers and sisters. She cooks for them, washes their clothes and mentors them. The January 2010 Haiti earthquake forced Esther to grow up well beyond her years. Just 15 at the time, she was at school when the ground began to rumble and buildings began to fall.
“I ran so fast,” she says, describing the first chaotic moments after the earthquake. “I wanted to get to my home to find my family.”
Esther arrived at her home to find it in ruins. Her mother and father were nowhere to be found and she hasn’t seen them since. Pastor Ellison, director of Haiti’s rural Turpin School, found Esther hopeless and living in the streets.
“When I saw how Esther was living, it brought tears to my eyes,” says Ellison. “I had to help her.”
Ellison took Esther in, providing a roof over her head, clothes on her back and food to eat. She began attending Turpin School and was fed daily through Convoy of Hope. With the help of individual donors to Convoy of Hope, Ellison was able to build the house for Esther and the other orphans he has since rescued off the street.
“My life has changed so now I want to help other kids have a good life,” says Esther with a wide, bright smile.
Esther is one of more than 100,000 children now enrolled in Convoy of Hope’s children’s feeding initiatives.