What is it?
Heart's Cry Orphan Cares is the broad category under which we classify all other projects and programs that occur throughout the year. These events and projects are opportunities God lays before us to be the hands and feet of the Lord, sharing His love with children in the orphanages. Our goal with these programs is to remind the children: “You are not forgotten. God sees you and loves you, and we do too.”
Baby Holding Program
Since 2008, Heart's Cry Orphan Cares has provided support to a local orphanage, Malambo Orphanage, which houses 130+ kids. We have many “Baby Holding” volunteer groups which hold babies on a weekly basis.
Living 127 Donations
In May 2017 a team called Living 127 came down and provided diapers and many hygiene products of everyday use for the children and teens at Malambo Orphanage. It was a great blessing to Malambo as they were freed from these expenses.
Other volunteer mission groups in the past have aided in multiple ways. Some have taken kids to get haircuts, others have helped on the farm or raked leaves, and others have played sports with the teenage orphans. Other groups have donated food, clothing and materials.
Need in Orphanage Baby House
In late July, Heart's Cry was contacted by one of the local orphanages alerting us to a drastic budget cut resulting in an insufficient number of staff to work in the baby home, as well as a huge shortage of infant formula and diapers. Thanks in part to your donations, Heart's Cry Orphan Cares program was able to immediately respond. We have begun coordinating a group of 40 volunteers under this program that will began assisting this week on a scheduled basis. Please pray that God would bless and protect the children and volunteers.
Orphan Management Software
Heart's Cry Orphan Cares worked hand in hand with SENNIAF on a 3-year project, designed to create a software system that would bring much-needed efficiency within the government and facilitate communication with the orphanages. This Orphan Software was designed strictly with the intellectual data and legal assistance of Heart's Cry, so as to provide accurate and real-time data in order to keep track of the cases for Children Deprived of their Rights who are sheltered in orphanages and thus provide further protection to these children. In 2008, there was simply an oversized file room and a few computers. This software now has the potential to decrease the number of days a child is sitting in an orphanage. Heart's Cry also provided trainings to the staff of SENNIAF related to the implementation & usage of this software system, in order for them to have the ability and understanding of how the caseworkers can work each child’s case efficiently. We look forward to a Phase III of implementation for this software, which will phase in the new Foster Care department to this software.
Pediatric HIV Medication Assistance
Heart's Cry Orphan Cares worked with Sister Martina from Hogar Pequeña Familia de Maria in Colon (AIDS Home for the dying and ill) to maintain HIV medication for the children at the orphanage. There have been occasions when the Republic of Panamá has temporarily run out of HIV medication for children and Heart's Cry has taken extraordinary efforts to provide these medications to the orphans, because we know their lives depend on it. We also visit with groups to encourage the children housed in the orphanage.
Orphan Outreach for Local School
Heart's Cry Orphan Cares worked closely with Crossroads Christian Academy (Christian school in Panama City) to allow their high school students to complete their 100-hour mandated community service at some of the orphanages with whom we partner. This further helped to raise the awareness of those students and their families as to the orphan problem in Panamá. This is an example of the hundreds of groups we have worked with over the years, from various parts of the world. It is our goal to encourage the children and remind them of God’s love. Any time we can facilitate a group visit to be conducted in a safe manner, we are grateful for the opportunity to do so because of the spark it ignites in the lives of these children and it provides them with hope. They remember that they are remembered. The amazing thing that occurs and is wonderful to watch, is the reciprocal effect – it also ignites a spark in those coming to love on the children. The volunteers leave with an expanded heart to care for others and to share God’s love in a healthy, purposeful way.
Heart's Cry Orphan Cares has also worked vigorously to encourage the deinstitutionalization of children in Panamà. This includes trainings given to community groups, families and the government on The Effects of Institutionalization. For example, Heart's Cry offered training for the workers involved in the administrative and judicial process of children deprived of their rights, so as to introduce and encourage implementation of international best practice standards and to encourage practices that promote deinstitutionalization of children. In 2008, the concept was unknown in Panamà. Now after many years and numerous training sessions, we are beginning to see the trainings take hold and Panamanians owning this concept, starting to work with the goal of deinstitutionalization in mind.
Restoring Hope in Tocumen
Heart's Cry Orphan Cares is privileged to have brought varying activities to the children housed at Hogar Metro Amigo (Orphanage with 60+ children in Tocumen), including such things as bringing a break dance group that danced with the teens but also gave them an encouraging talk about life purpose and the Lord. We have brought groups to give theatre presentations, host sports games, make crafts, and tutor children. We have partnered with groups to donate clothes and have given dental supplies. In these and all the other events that we are privileged to have taken part, we share fun times and give the children an opportunity to laugh. The love of Jesus is always what we carry with us, as we seek to encourage despairing hearts. We have played a role in preventing runaways from the orphanage, given talks on the dangers of the street, and encouraged those dealing with thoughts of suicide and depression. These are real children from hard places. It is our privilege to work with them and bring hope and love to their hurting hearts.