Over the years, Yonel Perez traveled the world searching for the best place to realize his vision of helping orphans. He found that place in Koloko, a small village in one of the poorest countries on Earth, Burkina Faso. On November 18, 2006, he opened the doors of YIRIBA to four young orphans.
The first home was a very small three room house, with two beds, a set of clothing per child, a small table and two kerosene lamps to use for illumination. Four years later, and thanks to all of your support, the orphanage has grown. Yiriba now hosts ten healthy and happy children in a four bedroom house that gets electricity from two solar panels, each kid owns three sets of clothing and they even have soccer balls to play with in their free time.
Yonel chose to open an orphanage because he grew up in a very poor district of Lima, Peru, and was orphaned at the age of eight. “I remember crying and calling for my mother all the time for about a year; when I asked my brothers and sisters for my mom they would say ‘she went in a long trip to get some fish to sell’. I was too young to understand”. He knows by experience that life can be very hard and painful for children who live on the streets and do not have someone to go when they are being abused, someone to ask for a plate of food when they cannot bear the hunger, or a shelter to go to when it is cold and raining.
Right now, the orphanage meets very basic human needs; three meals per day, bedding, clothing, education, extracurricular activities, electricity from solar panels. Although it doesn’t sound like much, life for the children at Yiriba is quite different from before they entered the orphanage. The first time Nounmounje stepped inside Yiriba and saw what his new house would be like, he cried. He is now a healthy 15-year-old and wants to become a English teacher.
In January of 2013, Yonel was invited by friends to play soccer in the small town of Diriamba, Nicaragua. While there, he kept hearing of a place where many street kids and poor families lived. he decided to investigate further, and found that these people lived in the town's garbage dump. He quickly took action to extended his stay in Nicaragua, rented a house, and bought basic home supplies, furniture, and kitchenware. Yonel also hired a local artist to make a sign, "YIRIBA NICARAGUA". Once the house was ready, Yonel opened the doors of Yiriba Nicaragua to host 10 little girls from the garbage dump. These girls now live in a loving, safe place, go to school, eat an amazing food and have enriching after school activities.
Visit Yiriba Nicaragua at no cost. Let us know if you have any skills that would like to share with the girls, the girls would love to have you as their guest!