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Nicaraguan orphans traveling here as ‘stars’ of fundraiser for new facility

Orphan children who live on a volcanic island in Nicaragua will be in the Twin Cities next week, the “stars” of a fundraiser for the Friends of the Orphans group in St. Paul.

The kids will dance and sing at the April 11 event.

The local Friends of the Orphans chapter hopes to raise money to build a new orphan home for the 200 children who now live on the threatened island of Ometepe, across Lake Nicaragua from the city of Granada. An eruption in 2005 showered rocks and debris on the existing home, and the most recent volcanic activity last year convinced officials that the new home, on the mainland, is a top priority.

It will be an amazing field trip for the children, who have never before left their country. After performing here to help raise money, they will travel to the Chicago area for other fundraising efforts.
The St. Paul nonprofit is affiliated with other chapters around the country; together, they support nine orphan homes in Latin America and the Caribbean. About 3,500 children — from infants to young adults — live in the homes.

The new residence in Nicaragua will be built more like homes than the region’s traditional orphanages, which have rows of bunk beds in a dormitory-like setting, said Mackenzie Anderson, event organizer.
In the proposed new facilities — to be funded with proceeds from next week’s dinner and silent auction – 16 to 18 children will live together in home-like settings. The compound also will include a school, clinic, farm, orchards and sports facilities.

The national organization, based in Illinois, raises money for children in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru, where the orphanages are operated by the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), or Our Little Brothers and Sisters.

The fundraiser, with tickets starting at $125, will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 11 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Check here for more information or call 651-482-1703.

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