I have been hearing much about the struggles of charitable organizations such as orphanages like Casa Estrella in Rosarito as a result of the downturned economy. Joe and Esther are an American married couple that founded the Rosarito orphanage more than a decade ago with their own money. They saw the local need for caring environments for young girls and decided to step in and make a difference.
Though they are American they speak fluent Spanish and were well accustomed to Baja California history and traditions having traveled to the region many times. They were able to become part of the fabric of the community establishing relationships with local teachers and business men to establish valuable partnerships. The emphasis on help for fellow community among the educators in Rosarito encouraged them to help society by donating their time before and after their work days in the classroom to come to the orphanage and teach the two dozen girls of various ages to help them gain a valuable education.
The Mexican emphasis on culture also plays a part in the everyday activities of the girls. They are taught to be active by playing racquetball at a local hotel which offers their gymnasium several times a week free of charge to the orphans. They also are learning to play the piano and the guitar to encourage left bran development and creativity. These two extracurricular activities are of a tremendous benefit to the girls who are fortunate enough to explore a passion and have a chance to succeed in a skill in their lives.
Joe and Esther understand the difficulties that the young girls face growing up poor in Baja California. There are few opportunities outside the orphanage to gain assistance in starting a career or getting an education. The often rough environment of poverty can be destructive on the still molding lives of the young girls. It is for this very reason that Joe and Esther prefer terms related to the family that the home strives to be. The kids refer to Joe and Esther as parents and the children are encouraged to live in the orphanage for as long as they like in contrast to the forced exit at age 18 of many larger Baja shelters.
I had a wonderful time visiting the orphanage. I learned a lot and was humbled by the work of the owners. It is a great credit to their love of helping people in Rosarito.