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Westfalia Orphanage children’s housing renovations

2013 February 18

After a very busy but rewarding December at Westfalia orphanage giving the kids a Christmas to remember,  it is time to move on to our next project. We had been talking about renovating the now 24 year old buildings that house the 100 children for a while now but after recent government inspections we have had to speed up that plan. The 100 orphans are lodged in 6 houses which accommodate up to 15 children per house. At the moment each house has 2 bathrooms, one for the boys, and one for the girls. Within each bathroom is one toilet, one shower, and one sink. So you can imagine the difficulties of 15 children plus 2 carers trying to get ready for school in two small bathrooms. Besides being 24 years old and in need of repair/renovation, new government laws make it necessary to double that capacity thereby providing 2 toilets, 2 showers and 2 sinks per bathroom.

The government regulations apply to various parts of the buildings so we need to do the bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms, lounge/dining area, and the large laundry area where the children wash their clothes by hand. This includes tiling the entire floor area where there was bare concrete before.

The children from Casa (House) 2 had been moved to the other houses to allow for renovations thereby making the other 5 houses very overcrowded. Renovations had just started when Defense Civil (the previously mentioned government department) told the orphanage that they had to install concrete security zones (round concrete pads) in front of every building, as a gathering place in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake. They also included a list of other required changes which they deemed prerequisites for the continuation of the orphanage. This required the immediate halt of Casa 2 renovations and the money diverted for the security zones. You can see a photo of one of the many costly concrete security zones below.

As if that wasn’t a big enough problem, yet another government department inspected the orphanage and indicated that, in spite of the fact that they have no disabled residents, have never had any disabled residents, and never plan to have any, they must install wheelchair ramps on every building (that would be about 10 buildings) and that they must include a bathroom stall suitable for wheelchair use, in each building, complete with grab bars etc. So the little money available to at least start the renovations has well and truly dried up leaving Casa 2 barely started and 15 children squashed in with the other 5 houses.

So there is a real urgency to get Casa 2 repaired and renovated to allow the 15 children to move back in.  There is also an urgency because if the work isn’t done quickly, and the government agencies aren’t satisfied that the orphanage meets the health & safety, as well as security requirements, then the permit for the orphanage is at risk of being revoked or their permitted capacity downgraded.  We do not want to see any of these children transferred to another orphanage because of a shortage of space due to inability to meet the deadline for completing these required renovations and satisfying the government ministries. Most of the 100 children have been at this orphanage all their lives. This is their home. Their family.

If you can help out please send us an urgent donation. We really need to get this finished asap. And please, share the link of this post on your FB and help spread the news! Thanks!

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