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Folsom man seeks to change orphan plight

By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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Providence World Ministries is working to create a new kind of life for orphans. Providence is a non-profit, Christian organization, dedicated to assisting orphans and widows around the world, said Philip Darke, president and CEO. Providence World Ministries operations are located in Siguatepeque, Honduras, and also has offices in Folsom and Nashville, Tenn. The organization partners with local churches. “We are working to bring excellence to orphanages around the world,” said Darke. The organization works to help in three areas including orphan and widow care, adoption advocacy and child advocacy through technological development. He said they are working to establish a best-practice model for innovative, culturally appropriate orphan, widow and at-risk community care communities. Initially they are working in Honduras and eventually plan to expand in other nations. Also, they are working to improve national and international systems and processes that govern adoption practices within countries with rising orphan populations. They also are working to help enhance the technological resources of capital-constrained government agencies within developing countries that seek to improve. “Around the world, orphans are not given choices because they are not given resources,” Darke said. “They don’t have the mom and dad to advocate for them, so we are trying to show these children that we want to invest in them and to encourage others to think in this same way. We want to give them the best.” After working as an attorney, Darke said he became involved with the orphanages in Honduras in 2006. By 2008, he was working full-time with Providence. “I started this as a lawyer in Folsom who was working a secure job and doing well,” Darke said. “I just took a step to get involved and now I’m doing this fulltime. When you’re creative and think outside of the box, anyone can help these kids around the world. It takes a desire and a want to help.” Darke has lived in Folsom since 2004 with his wife, Becca, and five children ages 9 to six weeks. He said he hopes more people globally will start looking at orphaned children with open eyes and hearts. “When you love kids it’s amazing what can be accomplished,” Darke said. “It’s about seeing them as your own children and how they should be raised.” Darke said locals can help by putting their skills to work. “We are looking for people who want to help … there is always help that’s needed,” he said. “We want people to use their skills to help the orphans.” Darke said there are several ways for individuals, churches, groups and other local organizations to get involved and help improve the lives of the orphans and widows in Honduras and throughout the world. He said currently, there are close to 168 million orphans worldwide. Locals can join short term mission teams to visit La Providencia, the orphanage in Honduras, throughout the year. Also, locals can help by donating needed items, taking on child sponsorships, internships, helping with continued research or providing financial assistance. Douglas Barahona is the assistant director in Honduras. He said working with orphans in Honduras has become a lifestyle for him. “It’s more than working with children, it’s working with the community,” Barahona said. “At first it was work, but now it’s my life. It’s a love for me. I’m very proud to say that.” For more information on Providence World Ministries, visit providenceworldministries.org.