Read Part 1, Using Our Privilege for the Greater Good
Do you know how many orphans there are in the world?
Over 141 million. That is the number of people who live in Russia. In India alone there are 31 million; in the United States, 400,000 children with no parents. They suffer as we speak.
Caroline Boudreaux is doing something about it. Born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana and a member of a “small, Catholic family of nine,” she attended Louisiana State University before relocating to Austin to work in advertising. I met her way back in 2001, just as she was starting her own non-profit called The Miracle Foundation.
Caroline’s mother (and best friend) was a social worker for the State of Louisiana who placed children for adoptions when Caroline was in high school. Other than that, Boudreaux had never given a second thought to orphans. Until the year 2000, when she took a round-the-world trip with stops including South Africa, Israel, Thailand and India.
In rural India, she witnessed the inhumane conditions of an orphanage where dozens of poorly clothed, hungry children had to sleep on wooden slats with no mattresses. Almost immediately, she knew that she’d found her life’s purpose: improving the lives of these precious children.
Caroline looked unimaginable deprivation, overwhelm and fear in the face and instead of shrinking away, she did something about it. She altered her life and career and never looked back with regret. Today, 14 years later, her foundation is supporting 10 orphanages. She has, through trial and error, created a system that prevents corruption and promotes healthy, sustainable practices in the orphanages that her organization supports.
Regarding corruption, which is so rampant in India and everywhere, Caroline admits, “I think it is one of those things you think won’t happen to you. I met and worked with people who I thought were the same as me. I thought they had the same heart as me. But, some people will lie to your face and steal from you. I was naïve to think that people wouldn’t be as corrupt in the non-profit sector. Greed knows no bounds.
“The government officials want a bribe to approve a license. People will act like they’re doing things for the kids then turn around and put the money in their own pocket. It is sickening, but it’s something we’ve experienced and are now prepared to handle.”
Caroline, through her inspiring work with The Miracle Foundation, aspires to transform the lives of orphan children all over the world. She wants people to use their tried-and-true methodology to improve the quality of care children receive in any orphanage, anywhere in the world.