Curated Care: What's an Un-orphanage?

Welcome to the second annual Girl Effect Blogging Campaign. All this week, women bloggers from around the web will be featuring powerful stories and causes dedicated to helping girls worldwide get education, medical care, and justice.

It can be hard to find a trustworthy organization to sponsor. Here at Magpie Girl we make a donation as a “thank you” for each of our guest posts, so we’ve seen a beautiful collection of good causes. Still, our heart belongs to our regular cause, so today as we curating causes we feature the centerpiece of our collection: The Apparent Project.

Shelley and two of her four children.

The Apparent Project was founded by my friends Shelley and Corrigan Clay. With two small children in tow, the Clays’ moved to Haiti to work in one of the country’s many orphanages. They fell passionately in love with Haiti and her people, and began the long process of adopting two Haitian children to join their family, making them parents to four preschoolers and infants. But after a few years of watching mothers being forced to leave their children on the orphanage doorstep, the Clay’s decided to begin their own non-profit, focused on actually preventing poverty-based abandonment. In the Clay’s own words:

“Haiti was said to have as many as 500,000 orphans before the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. The vast majority of these “orphans” were actually not true orphans. They were children given up by living parents because of extreme poverty….Yet, while a single adoption costs $15,000-20,000, these funds could sustain up to 40 families by providing seed money for ongoing small businesses! Something needs to change.”

I once heard an activist say, “We can keep pulling drowning girls out of the river all our lives, but if we don’t prevent the men and boys from throwing them in upstream, we’ll never end the cycle.” Empowering families to stay together through sustainable women-owned small business is one way The Apparent Project is keeping everyone’s toes dry.

With Corrigan’s background as an artist, The Clay’s founded The Apparent Project, an experiment they called the “un-orphanage.” Through the project they began to teach Haitian women (and men) to set up small, sustainable businesses. Recently their jewlery making co-operative caught they eye of Donna Karan, who visited their home and workshops earlier this year, advising Shelley and helping them make political and industry-based connections in order to build long-term sustainability into the project. Then this summer, The Apparent Project’s creative “beyond the orphanage” methodology drew the attention of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who came to their home in Haiti and helped them make more connections for their struggling grassroots project. (T0 see more about Clinton’s ah-ha moment around the devasting effect poorly planned U.S.-aid to Haiti has caused in the past click here. Kudos to Clinton for acknowledging his past mistakes, and for turning to intelligent on-the-ground first responders like Shelley and Corrigan for real-life advice on wholistic support for Haiti!)

In spite of thier recent boon of wonderful connections, The Apparent Project is still staying open one donation at a time. You can help this creative, intelligent family (and thier team of ex-pat and local staff!) make a difference for mom’s and girls in Haiti. Click here to donate or click here to support the Haitian artisans by purchasing their beautiful goods. Thanks so much for helping girls, women…and heck, entire families in Haiti!


Curated Care (formerly known as Tools of The Trade) features carefully selected courses, books, and other treasures that will feed your beautiful soul. I take pride in only reviewing only trustworthy, totally-worth-it products and services. I am an supporter of The Apparent Project, because I believe in it 100%. Click here to donate or click here to shop. Thanks for being here today, Magpie!

You Might Also Like:

  • Click here for more information about the state of women and girls in Haiti.
  • Click here to follow Shelley’s spirited posts on Facebook about life in Haiti and intellegent advocacy.
  • Click here to find out why you should NOT send peanut butter to Haiti.
  • Click here to read a recent story about one of the Apparent Project mom’s, and to see how real-life with these women is shaping Shelley and Corrigans right-fit spirituality.
  • Want to write your own blog post for The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign? Click here and play empower along!

Meg Goodmanson October 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm

What an incredible project! It’s such a brilliant idea and a great story :)
Thanks for sharing it!

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: