Monday, April 14, 2008

OI Sumatera’s Campus (2004)

In a delightful surprise, the people of Puerto Rico came through with funds to construct “Puerto Rico House” on our campus in Aceh, Sumatera. They also provided the playground equipment on the campus. Spearheaded by José Jiménez Tirado, director of the Auxiliaris Foundation, Puerto Rico House will be fully funded by a series of benefits to be held this fall in San Juan. The business and entertainment communities of Puerto Rico have lent enormous support for the creation of Puerto Rico House.

Puerto Rico supports OI Sumatera.

Puerto Rican culture is wonderfully vibrant, with unique characteristics that distinguish it from any other. OI Worldwide expects that Puerto Rico House will serve not only as a shelter to Tsunami orphans, but also as a beacon of light and culture for the entire campus of OI Sumatera.

Puerto Rico House will be located adjacent to New York House. It will be constructed from brick, as will half of the homes. The others will be made of wood and elevated on stilts as per the local custom.

Our Health Clinic is located on the main campus, and our upcoming Computer Center will be located between the two campuses in a new office building, contributed by the local foundation Tengku Cut Malem.

Princess Grace Home for Tsunami Orphans under construction.

A year after the Tsunami, the Croix-Rouge Monégasque (Red Cross of Monaco) contributed funding for the Princess Grace Home for Tsunami Orphans on the Campus of OI Sumatera in the province of Aceh in Indonesia. The home will be a traditional “couples home,” two small homes connected by a common livingroom, and constructed from brick. The home will shelter four children in each wing for a total of eight children.

Until that point I had worked in either the World Financial Center with Merrill Lynch or Rockefeller Center with the Rhône Group. I was spending fifty hours a week being paid to help the world’s richest people, and then another fifty hours a week spending time and money to help the world’s most destitute: poor, biological orphans from the least developed countries in the world, many of whom had just survived a natural disaster, be it a Tsunami, a hurricane, or the AIDS epidemic. I had never thought that starting an international organization to provide relief to those in need would be easy, but I could no longer keep up with both of these jobs.

Events related to Orphans International were now occurring not only in Sulawesi, Sumatera, and Haiti, but the beginnings of efforts that would hopefully soon launch Guyana, Togo, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Togo, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, and the Philippines. I realized as I submitted my resignation at the investment firm that I was changing my life, and the life of my son Matt, irrevocably. I was apprehensive. But tremendous forces had been unleashed as we had begun to help the young needy of the world. It was now or never. I would ride the tiger.

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