Moms with a cause: Sending dreams to Ghana

Jan 24, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Kary Doerfler, co-founder of Dreams for Orphans, discovered that she was a mom with a cause through her work as a flight attendant.

Kary Doerfler in Ghana

And now, having raised nearly enough money to fund a new orphanage in Ghana, as well as improving education opportunities and living conditions for children there, Kary and her organization are making a difference in Ghana... and beyond.

On a vision for Ghana... and her own family

It was nearly seven years ago that mom, Kary Doerfler, starting thinking about the orphans of Ghana. In her work as an international flight attendant, Kary and her family, including three children, Lexi, Ryan and Taylor, had traveled the world together. Her interest in Ghana and the children there started simply — donating items that another charity needed for the orphanages that they were supporting. Eventually, the founder of that charity pressed Kary into doing more. Kary tells us, "He finally looked at me one day and said, 'You're never going to go, are you?' and he was right. I was scared to see it in person and afraid of what it would open up."

Kary Doerfler in Ghana

But, Kary did go and in 2010, co-founded Dreams for Orphans, a charity that benefits the children living at the Osu Children's Home in Accra, Ghana. Now entering its third year as a nonprofit, Kary and the dedicated grassroots team at Dreams for Orphans have raised enough to begin to make a difference in the lives of those children — some of whom Kary met on her first visits to the orphanages in 2006 — making the commitment to create educational opportunities and safe environments for them.

For Kary, the vision for Ghana reaches beyond what she envisions for the children at Osu, but also extends deeply into the lives of her own children and her life as a mother. "I wanted my kids to see the world — to really see the world — and to understand the way the rest of the world lives," Kary shares. And now, Kary's children and her husband, Mark, are her partners and biggest support system in Dreams for Orphans, helping to raise money, throw fundraisers and often traveling with her on Kary's monthly visits to Ghana.

On making a difference from across the globe

Kary will be the first to admit that trying to manage a charity from the other side of the world is not easily done and without a dedicated team on the ground for Dreams of Orphans in Ghana, it can be difficult to keep things moving forward.

The project that Dreams for Orphans is dedicating their efforts on currently is raising the money to build a new nursery for Osu Children's Home, which is desperately needed to improve the current living conditions of the orphans, plus to offer the highest quality care for newborns and infants who need additional assistance to thrive, many of which have been born prematurely.

Kary hopes that building the nursery will be just the beginning for what Dreams for Orphans can provide for the orphans of Ghana. "I realize that it's a process that is one step at a time," Kary shares. "I look at some charities that have been around for a decade and am amazed at all of the work they're doing and hope that we'll be there someday too because there is so much that these children need. But, we'll get there. I know we will."

Read about how moms are helping moms in Moms with a cause: A Vision for Haiti >>

On how it's all connected

During our discussion with Kary, she was telling us about the amazing people that she's met while in Ghana who are also there doing charity work of their own. We loved her vision that brings all of these charities together. Kary says, "Whether you're there to help with water or education, it all ends up benefiting the orphans. And, improving the lives of these kids will improve Ghana as a whole in the long-term — they'll be healthier and better educated. We're all working toward the same goal, no matter what your specific cause."

On supporting Dreams for Orphans

Keep an eye on the Dreams for Orphans website and Facebook page for upcoming opportunities to help benefit the orphans they support in Ghana or contact Dreams for Orphans to learn about how you can help or become an Ambassador. Fundraising events often taken place in Seattle, Washington, where the Dreams for Orphans founders make their home.

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