Christel House International

Christel House helps children around the world break the cycle of poverty, realize their hopes and dreams, and become self-sufficient, contributing members of society.
Nov 2, 2016

A Seat at the Table

Yachna in kindergarten
Yachna in kindergarten

The communities served by Christel House are among the poorest of the poor. Abject poverty often means there is no food.

India is home to the world's largest food insecure population, with more than 500 million people who are hungry. Among children in India, 42.5% under the age of five are underweight. Whether it is in the urban slums of Bangalore or the semi-urban communities in Naya Raipur, children do not have enough food to eat and definitely not enough nutritious food.

Yachna is just one of these children. At 5 years old, she is quite small for her age, even by Indian standards. She enrolled in kindergarten at Christel House India—Naya Raipur in August, 2016.

At Christel House, we understand that a child who is hungry cannot learn. That is why we provide students with breakfast, lunch and a snack every school day, 80% of our kids’ daily nutrition.

A lunch meal might include rice, vegetables, eggs, chapatti, yogurt and fruit. Mineral and vitamin supplements are also provided.

About ten days after Yachna started school, a teacher saw her rolling up her chapatti, which is similar to a flat bread, and putting it into her bag. The teacher asked Yachna why she was doing this. Yachna said “I know I will get food at school tomorrow. My sister doesn’t go to school and she doesn’t have chapatti to eat, so I am taking it for her.”

Because of your support, Yachna and other students at Christel House now have food security. They go to sleep knowing that there will be food on the table when they come to school. Thank you for helping to fill tummies and nourish minds. You are providing a seat at the table of life for Christel House kids. 

Christel House student homes in Naya Raipur
Christel House student homes in Naya Raipur
A student meal at Christel House
A student meal at Christel House

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Nov 2, 2016

You helped Henry overcome

Henry and Founder, Christel DeHaan at graduation
Henry and Founder, Christel DeHaan at graduation

For many impoverished Indianapolis students, graduating from college can seem like an impossible dream.

Not only are Christel House Academy (CHA) kids first generation college students, but they often come from households where their parents did not finish high school. Education and persistence are not core family values.

Years ago, Henry enrolled as an elementary school student at CHA. He came from a family who faced many challenges.

His mother was unwed, under-educated and struggling to make ends meet. As a single mother, she looked at CHA as an opportunity for her children—one she knew they desperately needed. 

However, as time passed, things got much more challenging for his family.  Struggling to make ends meet, they moved many times. If Henry had attended a public school, this would mean he would transfer schools with each move. But, at CHA, social workers made sure Henry remained in school.  As things at home continued to decline, school became a stable and safe place for Henry. 

As a junior in high school, his family collapsed. His mother left. But, Henry knew he had to complete high school if he was going to have a decent shot at life. He knew firsthand how difficult life was without an education, without a job, and without hope for the future. 

Despite his challenges, Henry remained in school thanks to the support of teachers and social workers.  He worked hard, graduated and set his sights on college.

For most schools, this is where the story would end. But, not at Christel House.  

Henry transitioned into the CHA College & Careers Program, which continues supporting students after graduation.

This proved to be a lifeline for Henry. Over the summer, as he worked to register for college and complete paperwork to receive financial aid, he hit a wall due to an administrative issue. He worried he’d never begin college.    

CHA’s College & Careers counselor helped him ask all the right questions, complete all of the required forms and aggressively advocated for him with college administrators. She made sure this roadblock didn’t derail his future, which is so often the case for students like Henry.

With the problem fixed, Henry was back on track. 

Today, Henry is a college graduate with an Associate’s degree in criminal justice. He is working toward becoming a police officer. He wants to help fix the kinds of neighborhoods where he grew up.  He wants to help protect children, like him, from the harsh reality of what poverty brings into those neighborhoods. 

Your support is helping to change the life stories of students like Henry. Thank you. 

Indianapolis Communities Christel House Serves
Indianapolis Communities Christel House Serves
Henry in 4th Grade at Christel House
Henry in 4th Grade at Christel House

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Nov 2, 2016

You gave Monica a second chance

Monica now in 10th Grade at Christel House Mexico
Monica now in 10th Grade at Christel House Mexico

In Mexico, the quality of education is poor and dropout statistics are dramatic—only 16% of students finish high school. In the Alvaro Obregón Township, where Christel House Mexico (CHMX) is located, 76% of kids 15-17 years old do not go to school. Kids drop out because of the low quality of public education, violence in schools, drugs, sex abuse and bullying.

CHMX has historically only provided classes through the 9th grade. Even though we have tracked our students as they attended other high schools, it has been a challenge to keep students engaged.

However, thanks to the generosity of many donors, that all changed in August, 2016.

We are excited to announce that we have officially moved to our new, larger school facility, allowing us to open a high school for our kids and complete the Christel House model. More important than realizing our dream, is our ability to fulfill the dreams of our Christel House students.

One of those dreamers is Mónica, who joined Christel House in 1st grade. After completing Grade 9 with us, she enrolled in a local public high school.

There, she quickly found a very different situation than the one she knew at Christel House.

At her new high school, she encounter a lot of violence. Students didn´t have a sense of responsibility, values or vision for their life, and teachers simply failed to show up for class.

She was very disappointed and began to lose hope for a bright future.

When she learned about the opening of the high school at CHMX, she was eager to become a “Christel Houser” once again. Mónica made the decision to reenroll at CHMX, despite the fact that she would have to repeat the 10th grade. Ultimately, she knew Christel House would provide her the support she needed to succeed.

Mónica told us what having a CHMX high school means to her: “Christel House has been really important in my life.  When I enrolled at another high school, I realized that I had a different mindset than my peers. CHMX is a place where excellence gives you the opportunity to give the best of you and make your dreams come true, it is truly a family.”

Your support of Christel House is helping to change the life stories of students like Mónica and making dreams come true.

Monica at her 9th Grade Graduation
Monica at her 9th Grade Graduation
New Christel House Mexico Building
New Christel House Mexico Building

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