International Children’s Care was formed by Christian laymen in 1978. At the beginning, it was to meet a need in Guatemala after the devastating earthquake there which left so many children homeless. However, since there are many other areas of need in the world, our charter was made to fund and operate programs for homeless and needy children wherever the need exists. Guatemala was the first project.
From the beginning, we resolved that this should not be a typical orphanage, but a unique program designed to consider the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of the child. In other words, we would not simply provide food and a roof, but provide “homes” and families, in an atmosphere that would bring love and security to these children.
Therefore, we started the cottage, group-home plan. Instead of large numbers of children in one building, the children are placed in individual homes, located on small acreages. National couples are chosen who serve as parents to a group of 10 to 12 children, forming a family. This avoids having an “institution” for these children. The long-term results are much more positive, enabling children to learn basic skills and relate normally to life.
Education is an important part of our program. We operate elementary schools on our own grounds, accommodating the school program to the needs of the children. Because of disadvantaged background, most of these children are behind in school. Our teachers gear their programs especially for orphaned children. Whenever possible, we locate near a secondary school. We provide education through high school, and on to college or university, when the young person shows interest and ability.
The farm is an integral part of the program. It provides work opportunities for the older children, and it helps provide food and lessens the need for outside help. Also, the children learn manual skills, thus preparing each child to face life on his own some day.
Very important is the spiritual emphasis. Each home is founded on Christian principles, with morning and evening worship geared to the interest of small children. In this atmosphere, the children learn to be true Christians, making the Bible the foundation of their faith.
Our basic plans for each Children’s Country Village include ten homes for children, an administration building, an elementary school, and a shop or industrial building. In some cases there is also a Receiving Center centrally located where the children are first processed and where children who are sick or have special needs are temporarily housed.
We establish child care facilities as circumstances permit in any country where there is a need and an opportunity to serve.
Other countries are calling for ICC to start a child care program. As our base of support increases, we will expand to help more and more children.