Monday, 14 October 2013

Stories from Live Below the Line:

Debbie's story:

Debbie Cavit, businesswoman and CEO of Cavit&Co, recently completed the Live Below the Line challenge for NPH. This meant spending only $2.25 per day on all food and drink, for five days – a tricky budgeting exercise that saw her travelling to a local fruit and vege market in Pukekohe to hunt out the cheapest deals.

She was surprised how much she could get there for a relatively small amount of money, and made up several meals in advance. Seven serves of pumpkin serve costs only $3.64 to make, she discovered, and roti cost next to nothing. Small apples were only 9 cents each, which allowed her to make a creative dessert with pan-tossed slices of apple and cinnamon on a hot roti.

Debbie was able to get through the initial part of the challenge without feeling particularly hungry, mowing her lawns, water-blasting her house and cooking after work. Three days in, it was a different story. She began to feel the effects of smaller portions and a lack of sugar, which was too expensive to use. “I’m just not firing on all cylinders” she realised, struggling to focus and contribute during business meetings.

She’s glad the challenge is over and has regained her energy and mental dexterity, but she would recommend the challenge to anyone who wants to gain an insight into the lives of those who have to live below the line every day.

You can donate to the NPH children through Debbie’s Live Below the Line campaign here:

Louie's story:

Fireman and rugby player Louis Maxwell found Live Below the Line an interesting and challenging experience. “I’m yet to meet anyone who eats as much as me” he laughed, so he was apprehensive in the days leading up to the challenge. “If I can do it, anyone can do it”, he said.

After starting, however, Louis realised it was possible to actually have quite a lot of food for $2.25 a day. It was crucial to look at recipes and plan meals to make sure he was still getting the protein he needed, substituting meat for eggs and lentils. Cheap vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli also helped him a lot. To make sure he was still getting the portion size he was used to, he really had to sacrifice quality for quantity!

Having heard from friends who have years of hands-on experience working with NPH in South America, Louis believes it is a great cause. What shocks him the most is that vulnerable children have little or no government support in South America – something that is unimaginable to a New Zealander. “I did it because these kids go through being hungry their whole lives, what’s five days out of my life?”

You can support the NPH children by donating to Louis’ Live Below the Line campaign here:

Tuesday, 30 July 2013


There is so much we take for granted in the Western World, and one of the most-wasted, overindulged and pervasive elements is FOOD! It is estimated that over 50% of the food we grow, sell and consume, goes in the bin! Things have changed drastically over the past decade and we are now, more than ever, interested in where our food comes from, how it has been grown, treated, distributed and sold. With terms such as "paddock-to-plate", organic, bio-dynamic, macro-biotic, gluten-free, sugar-free, GE-free, MGO-free etc etc being plastered all over our food products, in the media, in our workplaces and our homes, it is easy to forget that food is simply that; FOOD and that most of the world do not have it, or at the very least, do not have enough of it.

It is estimated that over 1 billion people live below the poverty line, which means that they exist on less than $2.25 per day! In an effort to eradicate world poverty, the stage was set for a global exercise that would challenge people to live on this tiny amount. The challenge is known as Live Below the Line and we would love you to participate.

From the 23rd – 27th of September 2013, NPH New Zealand volunteers and friends will be living on $2.25 a day for food and water for 5 days, to raise funds to help eradicate poverty worldwide. In 2012, thousands of New Zealanders participated in this challenge and raised an impressive $380,000!

This challenge means that any individual can do something about changing the injustices of extreme poverty. NPH is one of Live Below the Line’s partner charities, and we are looking for Kiwis who are willing to take up the challenge.

Click here to find out how it all works!

At NPH, we believe that every child has the right to a loving home, an education, regular meals and healthcare. Currently, we care for over 3,000 orphaned or abandoned children in our nine homes throughout Latin America, all of whom have previously lived through devastating poverty and have suffered severe abuse, violence or neglect.

Since our establishment in 1954, NPH children have grown up to become teachers, doctors, accountants, lawyers, and directors of the NPH homes themselves. By providing these children with a better future, we can break the cycle of poverty and transform a whole society.

Where is your money going?

NPH New Zealand raises funds primarily 3for the two mostly recently established NPH homes, in Bolivia and Peru. Due to the global financial crisis and a shortage of donations, these homes are struggling to provide regular fruit and meat for the children, and have had to stop a number of vocational workshops and therapeutic activities that were highly beneficial to the children to overcome their traumatic backgrounds. A new medical clinic at NPH Bolivia is currently under construction, and funding for appropriate medical staff and equipment is desperately needed. Also, the growing family at NPH Peru urgently needs to build a new kitchen, as their present kitchen lacks many of the necessities for feeding 96 children and 25 employees.

These homes need your help so that they can continue to transform the lives of children today.

Why live below the line for NPH NZ?

NPH is a unique organisation in many ways. Once children are welcomed into an NPH home, they are never asked to leave, nor are they separated from their siblings. All NPH children retain a connection with their home throughout their lives, even after they have gone on to university or to start a family of their own. At every NPH home, children are taught the value of sharing and of service, and each of them must help with daily chores such as cooking, cleaning, and harvesting crops. Every child must complete a year or more of service to their home as medical assistants, caregivers, or office staff, among others. As a result, each home is a self-sustaining community that requires fewer outside volunteers and paid staff.

NPH not only provides for the children in their care, but has also established various community outreach programmes. In Haiti, NPH operates the largest free paediatric hospital in the country. Throughout Latin America, NPH provides aid, clothing, food and medical care to families in the community, and provides drug awareness and education workshops in local schools.

I hope you can join us and gain a glimpse into the lives of those who have no choice but to live below the line every day. All proceeds go towards supporting the orphaned and abandoned children in NPH homes, each of whom have suffered from extreme poverty. Fundraising is simple and can be done mostly online.

Plus, Live Below the Line offers this handy recipe book ( with ideas for getting through the day on only $2.25!

To sign up, email:

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Loren goes Latina - Volunteering at NPH Honduras

Our wonderful friend Loren has been volunteering at our home in Honduras. Located in Central American, Honduras is north of Nicaragua, east of El Salvador and south of Guatemala and Belize. Honduras is a country that epitomizes the region in that it combines Mayan history and culture with heavy Caribbean influence. NPH Honduras was founded in 1954 and since its conception has house & cared for over 17,000 children. 

Loren has been volunteering NPH Honduras since the end of January. Her amazing experience is detailed via her website:

Below is an example of typical day for Loren:

6am: I wake up, take a look outside my window, and once again there’s not a cloud in the sky. Somehow I always get the song stuck inside my head “It’s gonna be a bright, bright, sun shiny day.. Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies…” Well this might change soon, as the rainy season is coming!

6:20am: I walk over to the kitchen to get breakfast (usually some variation of rice and beans) and milk. The milk comes from the cows we have here on the Ranch. Often the cows are left to roam everywhere so it’s not unusual to have to navigate around them on my way to the kitchen.

7:00 I walk to my classroom (only 5 minutes away). I walk past a gorgeous vista of the orchard, with mountains in the background. As I walk through the school on my way to class the kids greet me, either with a “Good morning Teacher”, a high-five followed with a fist bump or even a hug. There’s an area I have to walk through where all the cool boys hang out in the morning. Usually they find a way to play a trick on me, or tease me in some way. I’m used to it now.

7:30 My first class starts – and they keep going until 4pm. It’s a long school day. The kids have a mixture of classes and workshops (metal, wood, shoe making, sewing, food). At the moment my classes are running a lot more smoothly than when I first arrived. Last week I even had a few classes where the kids worked in silence for the whole 40 minutes! I was ecstatic!
It turns out that the kids don’t actually hate me as I first suspected by all the pranks they would pull. A few of them have told me that they’re learning a lot more English than they ever have and that they’re really enjoying it! Awesome – I hope things keep going up from here.

12pm: Lunch.  We all gather in the auditorium, say a prayer and then eat rice with something (beans, lentils, soup). I’ve become used to the food now and actually really enjoy it. Not all volunteers think like this however – An Italian volunteer I work with can’t stand the food! I guess if you were used to Italian food, you wouldn’t be happy with orphanage food :)

4pm: When I finish up at 4pm, the caregivers come to my class to see how the kids behaved that day. Usually there’s a few kids that tried to skip class, drew on my desks, slept in class or disrupted the class – a few kids even do all of these things in one lesson. After they leave, I do my best to sweep the classroom and straighten the desks. It’s not a surprise that we don’t have a janitor. I’m it. The Honduran teachers get the kids to clean during class time, but I don’t like doing that all the time because it disrupts their learning. As a result I try my best to clean the class as quickly as possible – as such, my class is definitely not as clean as Honduran standards (which are even higher than German standards!)

4-6pm: This is my free time. I usually walk home, eat peanut butter out of the jar (a habit I’ve become renowned for), do my chores and chat to the other volunteers about my day.

6-8pm: This is the time I spend with my babies – feeding them, washing them, putting them to bed and then doing the dishes. There are 6 babies at the moment and they’re the cutest things on the planet. I’ve started talking English to the babies, so that they’ll learn while they’re young and have escaped the negative attitudes of my lovely teenagers. They can all say “please” and a few of them can even say a few more things like, “Thank you” and “I love you”. I’m excited to see their progress over the coming year.

8pm:  By this stage I’m usually pretty tired so I have a shower, read a book and go to bed. Some of the other volunteers socialise until late, but I’m super antisocial after spending the day surrounded by noisy teenagers.

And that’s my life here on the Ranch. It’s sounds exhausting, and in many ways it is – but it’s totally worth it. I feel like I’m doing something here that is of actual importance. One of the teachers at the school (who was a child at NPH) told me the other day – “I’m from the streets. These kids are from the streets. They might be hard to deal with but you need to be patient with them. Some have been badly abuse and have had to steal to survive . NPH changed my life, it can change their lives too.”
The other day one of my students, a fourteen year old girl, sang me a song she had written. It goes like this. “I couldn’t believe it when my dad told me that my mum had died. I was so alone and sad. I couldn’t believe it when my dad abadoned me and my brother. I was so alone and sad. But God is good and he brought us here. God is good and I have forgiven my father. I love him very much. I know my mum is looking down at us from heaven.”
These are the kind of stories that each one of my students hold. This girl is amazingly strong and has been able to see the positive in her situation. She is so polite, kind and generous, always grateful for her situation. Unfortunately some kids don’t have this mindset. They can’t forgive the past and they’re terrified of the future. I just pray that more kids will become like this 14 year old girl – That they can make peace with the past and make the most of the opportunities that they have at NPH.

I’ve had a few people ask me how they can help out. One thing that I would really like to see improved here is the food situation. An ex-volunteer from Germany recently did some fundraising which has allowed us to have one piece of fruit a day. I’m not sure how long this will last, but I can certainly say that it is well appreciated on the ranch, where there was no fruit because of lack of funds.
For $1 we can buy 10 bananas. (I bought this today at the market).
So if you want the kids on the ranch to have fruit too, please consider donating some money. So that this money can go directly to the kids here at NPH Honduras, feel free to transfer money into an empty bank account I’ve set up for this purpose.


Muchas Gracias 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

NPH Peru - Elliot's Story

In January of this year, Aucklander Elliot McBride traveled to our home in the province of Cañete, which is located in the southern part of the Lima region, and worlds away from the sleepy North Shore village Elliot was raised in.

Established in 2004, Casa Santa Rosa in Cañete houses over 100 children in seven family-style homes. The children attend the local school and there are currently five NPH students studying at the university in Cañete!

Elliot spent over two weeks Casa Santa Rosa and made a huge impact on the children, in particular with the boys who were very taken with Elliot's New Zealand accent and heritage, and thrilled to play soccer with him. Elliot very generously helped repair the children's bikes and even purchased new tools for them!

Arriving in a foreign country can be daunting for anybody, but even more so when the language spoken isn't your own, but Elliot was able to connect with the children regardless, a testament to his character and theirs.
Here is a small excerpt from Elliot, during his time at NPH Peru:

“I've had an amazing two and a half weeks at the NPH Peru orphanage house in San Vicete de Canete, Peru. Whilst these children still have to grapple with their turbulent pasts it is nevertheless a house full of love and smiles. Anyone who knows me knows I don't like cheesy but I have so much love and respect for these kids and the volunteers and staff who make it all possible. Thanks for the opportunity!”

If you are interested in volunteering, sponsoring a child or donating to NPH, please see our website:

Friday, 5 April 2013

NPH Bolivia - Nicole's story

New Zealander Nicole travelled to NPH home in Bolivia. NPH Bolivia is located in San Ignacio de Sara, near the community of Portachuelo, some 80 kilometers northwest of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the capital of the department of Santa Cruz. Read her inspiring story below...

I’ve just returned from a week with the most magical family in the world. The NPH home in Bolivia is a vibrant, bustling space where you tend to forget that the children, and many of the staff, have all come from troubled or violent homes.
The grounds are filled with joy and laughter, and all of the children seem genuinely grateful to have been given a new home, and a chance at a better life.

Days begin with a group breakfast before the children go off to school at their scheduled hour. Lunch, another communal event, is followed by various activities such as sports, crafts and homework. I was truly impressed by how smoothly the daily routine runs and the way that everyone has their own little part to play in NPH family life – right down to 10 month old Miguel, whose job it is to make everyone go “awwwwww” every single time they see him.  

I really wasn’t sure what to expect before my visit in October 2012. I had been travelling through South America when a friend who works for the organisation recommended I stay for a week if I had the time. The home is so welcoming and the staff’s passion so contagious, I immediately found myself wanting to return for at least a year.

I believe this passion filters down from the top. Managing Director, Gusman, is extremely hands on (especially during a game of soccer!) and provides an incredible source of inspiration and direction to each and every child. The energy and warmth he exudes is repaid with genuine love and respect from the children and staff alike, and I got the distinct feeling that he sees his role as a privilege rather than a job.

I walked away from NPH feeling many things, among them: grateful to have met so many wonderful people and to have had the chance to make a difference to children’s lives – even if it was just by teaching them a few short words in English; driven to contribute to NPH in any way possible as I feel it is one of the most efficient and effective non-profit organisations I have ever encountered; and sad to be leaving after only one week as it was one of the most enjoyable of my whole trip.

If this is how I felt after just one week, imagine how your life will change after a year – something I intend to find out in the very near future when I return as a fully fledged volunteer. 

Sunday, 3 March 2013


Hello Again!
Many, many awesome things have been happening at NPH New Zealand since our last post. Towards the end of November NPH New Zealand hosted a Latin Festival at Atico Cocina in Victoria Park. The event was a huge success and thanks to our generous supporters,  $16,000 was raised for NPH children. We would like to say thank you to everyone who donated and volunteered their time. This great event would not have been possible without you.
Kiwis from around the country  volunteers have been travelling to the NPH homes around South America! We are very lucky to have such highly qualified and dedicated New Zealanders volunteering their time with the children in Latin America. Our volunteers have found their time with NPH a life changing experience.