Caroline Boudreaux is on a mission to make sure every child in this world feels loved.
Through her nonprofit organization The Miracle Foundation, Caroline is working to make sure essential resources are available to orphans in need. Yes, those essential resources include food and education, she said. But another critical component is love.
“We all want to love and we all want to be loved,” Caroline said. “True poverty is when no one loves you.”
Caroline’s commitment to this cause began on Mother’s Day in 2000 when she was on a trip with a friend to India. As they traveled around, Caroline said she witnessed poverty like she had never seen it before.
“At that time, I was absolutely not philanthropic,” she said. “But the whole time we were going around, I was thinking, ‘Wow, this is the bottom of the pyramid. This is what I’ve heard about all my life. These people are so poor and have no electricity or running water. Then, I got to an orphanage and my definition of poverty totally changed.”
Caroline came back to the United States transformed and determined to make a difference. Seventeen years later, she’s grown The Miracle Foundation into an organization that is helping thousands of children in orphanages in India, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia, with the goal of continuing to expand.
“Eight percent of the world’s youth don’t have parents,” she said. “We’re trying to find a loving family for every child in the world so that they can grow up getting what they need to thrive. That’s the ultimate goal for every child, and it’s the collective goal of everyone working in this space is to do that by 2050.”
More than just providing basic resources for children in orphanages, Caroline said The Miracle Foundation’s mission is to keep children from ending up there in the first place. Research has proven that children in orphanages have a lower IQ than those raised in a home, even when they have received education and proper nutrition. By providing training and resources to orphanages, Caroline said the goal is to equip them with ways that they can support parents and keep them from dropping off their children for good.
“We need programs to keep children at home,” she said. “Say a mother loses her husband and makes $1.25 a day at work, if she’s lucky. Most times, those kids are going to end up in an orphanage. But if the orphanage can provide her with a little support — for instance, providing her kids with breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then letting her pick them up after work — that will make all the difference.”
Caroline herself has made the decision to forgo having children of her own so she can focus her attention on the children she and her organization are trying to help worldwide. Regardless of a person’s parental status, though, Caroline reminds us that we can all tap into the maternal instinct of loving and caring and give it to someone else.
“It’s self-fulfilling. The more you give, the richer you get — just like motherhood,” Caroline said. “Just because they’re not your kids doesn’t mean they don’t need your help. We’re so lucky to be the giver. That’s the epitome of motherhood is — giving.”
Caroline believes we all have the potential to be what she calls “a Global Parent”: someone who cares for a stranger and recognizes that we’re all together in this human race. For those of us who cannot devote our lives to the cause, she reminds us that donations really are a game changer for organizations like hers.
“If we thought about our health like we think about our philanthropy, we’d all be dead,” she said. “Put some thought into your philanthropy. Giving monthly recurring donations really is powerful. For any organization, that is what changes the game for the poor.”
On this Mother’s Day, — 17 years to the day since Caroline started The Miracle Foundation — she calls on all of us to pay attention to this issue and pitch in to help any way that we can to help orphans find a loving home.
“I just wish we’d all get in the game and fix this,” she said. “It’s time to put an end to it. We know how to do it. We just need the help.”