Monday, 28 May 2012

The Beginning

Kia Ora,

My name is Kristina Cavit and I have just started a fundraising office
for the children of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), Spanish for Our
Little Brothers and Sisters. I want to share with You my story, my experience
volunteering for NPH Dominican Republic, and how the New Zealand office came
to be. Enjoy!

In 2009, I was travelling through South America and I had a chance
to spend a day at a notorious Bolivian slum known for it’s gangs, underage
prostitution and poverty. After that day I knew I wanted to do something,
I wanted to help, and I began searching for a long-term way to help these

A friend told me about an organization called NPH, Nuestros Pequeños
Hermanos. What intrigued me about this organization is that it’s helping children
to get off the streets by empowering them through education. NPH provides
shelter, medicine and education to abandoned, abused, and orphaned children
throughout Latin America. There are nine homes within Latin America and the
Caribbean giving over 3,500 children a place to call home.

I liked the NPH philosophy that insures these children have a loving
family and a future; the children are taught trades so they can find jobs and
become productive members of society breaking the cycle of poverty. NPH
caught my attention because they do not put the children up for adoption, but
keep all siblings together so they can become part of a safe and stable family at
NPH. The concept of family is the focal point of this organization and why there
is such a strong sense of connectivity throughout the home and it’s relationships
with one another, godparents, donors, and volunteers.

When I arrived at the home in the Dominican Republic, I had no idea what to
expect and I found myself simply in awe of the home. I asked myself many questions,
including “How did this group of local staff and volunteers from around the world
come together to create this loving environment for these children?”
The children are simply so happy and to the eye, it is not easy for one to
imagine the pain they have suffered in the past. They arrive at NPH from situations
that we cannot imagine; many have been victims of extreme physical and emotional
abuse and have often been left to raise themselves without access to clean water,
electricity, medicine, or food.

During my time, I was fortunate to wear many hats which in turn, gave
me the opportunity to get to know all of the children. I was not only the Project
and Communications coordinator, but I also helped the children to plant yucca,
taught them to swim in the ocean, managed medical projects, sung songs of grief at
Dominican and Haitian funerals, laughed, wiped tears, and every day I was able to
spend time with over 200 generous and loving children. I was in awe in how these
children have few material things but they have this unique ability to give and love
endlessly. This simply taught me to appreciate every day for what it is.
I am so grateful to these children for welcoming me into their family and

leaving me with memories of the daily in’s and out’s at NPH; Daysi’s never ending
giggling, Angel’s stopping me in the road for a big bear hug, finding little notes in my
bag every night and Rosita slipping her little hand into mine on the walk home.

Volunteering in a developing country, you never know what to expect and
when the Haiti earthquake hit the whole island was in devastation. We helped with
the relief effort and sent urgent medical supplies, food, water and volunteers and then
one-day cholera hit the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the help of a group of Kiwis,
I was able to raise enough funds to provide cholera & hygiene workshops to the
neighboring Haitian migrant worker camps.

Throughout my time at NPH in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua and
Honduras - I was hit with the same truth – international support, along with the NPH
volunteers and staff, is what saves these children’s lives. Together with everyone
doing their own part, bit by bit, we can help the children of our future to break free
from poverty. I welcome you to become a part of the NPH family and help to give
these children a chance they deserve for the future.

Until Next Time,


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