If you’ve spent much time reading Becoming Minimalist, you know generosity is a recurring theme.
My life improved dramatically when I stopped accumulating possessions. As a result of that important decision, I discovered greater opportunity to practice generosity—with my money, my time, and my energy. When the pursuit of material possessions is removed, it’s easier to focus on others.
This is a story I’ve heard countless times from people around the world. When people discover minimalism, they also find contentment and generosity. There is a powerful rhythm between the two.
And over the last few years, I’ve seen that generosity from the Becoming Minimalist community. This month marks the three-year anniversary of The Hope Effect—the nonprofit organization we launched in November 2015. This community has supported us from the beginning, and I’m so grateful. The advance from my book contract for The More of Less and The Minimalist Home funded the administrative costs and this community has provided most of the finances needed for the work we are accomplishing.
The Hope Effect’s mission is to change how the world cares for orphans. In developing countries, orphans are frequently placed in institutional care, which can have damaging effects on children. Children raised in institutions often have stunted development and delayed learning abilities.
We know there’s a better way. We know that every child deserves a family.
That’s why we are working to implement family-based orphan care solutions that provide opportunities for children to flourish and thrive. Our model of care is based on smaller homes made up of two parents and 6-8 children. This allows children to receive more individual attention and care while growing up in a stable, family environment.
In 2018, much of our work has been in San Luis Río Colorado, Mexico, a small town located on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Hope Effect is the first to seek government approval to provide family-based care in the State of Sonora, Mexico. Because we are pioneering this new model of orphan care, it’s been a lengthy process. But once we have approval from the Mexican government, the benefits will extend far beyond SLRC. We are beginning our work in that city, but we look forward to bringing family-style solutions to additional locations in Sonora. And by breaking new ground, we’ll pave the way for other organizations to provide family-based care in Mexico as well.
As we go through the process of obtaining government approval, we’ve been building relationships and forming connections in San Luis. One of our first actions was to partner with the city’s DIF (Mexico’s version of Child Protective Services), which has allowed us to work with the children currently in government care.
It’s clear these children are desperately in need of families. Over the last several months, we’ve learned their stories and we can see the impact that institutional care is having on them.
One of the little girls in the orphanage, Rosa*, has a story that illustrates this urgency and the importance of the work we are bringing. Rosa came to the DIF facility shortly after she was born, and she’s now almost four years old. At first, Rosa’s aunt would visit her a few times a year, but for whatever reason, her aunt wasn’t able to adopt her. Over the last several months, her aunt has stopped coming. Now, we are Rosa’s only visitors.
This young girl has never known life outside the orphanage. She’s never had parental interaction. She’s never known the love of a family. The orphanage staff does the best it can, but the institution cannot possibly replace a family.
Rosa belongs in a family. She deserves a family. And she needs to get out of the orphanage. The sad truth is that as she gets older, she is statistically less and less likely to be adopted. But because of legal issues and paperwork delays, Rosa is currently not even eligible to be adopted.
Children like Rosa need us to change how the world cares for orphans. Rosa needs us to stand up for her, communicate her story, and work to find better solutions for her… and the countless other orphaned children around the world.
If you want to make a difference in the lives of children like Rosa, we invite you to join us in this important work of providing families for orphans. Today is Giving Tuesday, an international day celebrating generosity. If you partner with us today, your donation will go toward our work in San Luis Río Colorado.
Even better—one of The Hope Effect’s generous supporters has offered to match every donation made today…up to $20,000! Your gift will be doubled. As always, because our US-based administrative costs are covered by private donors, we commit to you that 100% of your donation will be used directly for orphan care work—every single penny. And if we reach the entire match amount, our project in San Luis Río Colorado will be fully funded!
The Hope Effect is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation is tax-deductible within the U.S. If you have additional questions about The Hope Effect, send us an email. We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you might have. We are passionate about the work we are doing and love interacting with others who want to hear more.
I am so grateful that the Becoming Minimalist community has embraced this mission over the last few years. Every gift has such an impact in the lives of children around the world.
Together, we are changing how the world cares for orphans.
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the child.