Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Food & Hunger

How This Woman’s Global Travels Led Her to Empower Orphans

Lynne Dobson, The Miracle Foundation

This article was contributed in support of the Miracle Foundation

Caroline Boudreaux – once an account executive for a TV station in Texas – is now the Founder of an Austin-based international nonprofit called the Miracle Foundation, an organization working to empower orphans to reach their full potential.

Caroline’s journey of founding the Miracle Foundation began on Mother’s Day in 2000, when she was traveling in India and found herself face-to-face with orphaned children for the first time.

“I was making more money than I had ever dreamed of and had the material things that seemed to define success: A beautiful home, flashy new car and active social life. But even though from the outside it looked like I’d made it, I felt empty inside. I was sure there had to be more to life, but I didn’t have a clue what that was. I knew in my heart I had a bigger purpose that I wasn’t fulfilling,” said Boudreaux.

She was 28-years-old at the time. So she decided to decided to take a sabbatical from her job and life and head out on a global journey.

Below is her account of what inspired Miracle Foundation.

My friend Chris Monheim (now Poynor) and I came up with the crazy idea of taking a trip around the world to chase summer for a year. We pulled out a map of the world and began plotting our course. Chris insisted that one of the stops along the way had to be India; she had been sponsoring a young boy [Manus] there and wanted to meet him. I was skeptical and thought she was wasting her money. I doubted she was making a difference and told her that it was a scam.

In May 2000, we had made our way to India and the small, rural village where Manus, Chris’ sponsored child, lived. Upon our arrival, we received a ceremonial welcome from the entire village. Chris was absolutely thrilled to meet Manus and see how her money had been helping him and his family. I couldn’t believe that he was real.

I had never seen an orphan before in my life. Every single one of them was vying for our attention, sometimes pushing each other out of the way for a hug from us or to touch our hands. It was overwhelming. They were the sweetest, saddest children I had ever seen. There were so many, and every single one was precious and perfect, desperately in need of love, attention—someone to care.

Sheebani Before.jpgSheebani, the night Caroline met her
Image: Miracle Foundation

A little girl named Sheebani came and put her head on my knee. When I picked her up, she literally pushed her body into mine, in an attempt to get the affection she lacked. I sang her a lullaby and rocked her to sleep. I went upstairs to put her into her crib, and was shocked to see that there wasn’t one. Instead, the room was filled with hard, wooden-slatted beds. No mattresses, just wooden beds that reminded me of a concentration camp.

The idea for the Miracle Foundation was born that day. A few months later I filed the paperwork and my tiny, start-up nonprofit became official. Donors and sponsors stepped up immediately in order to help these vulnerable children. Miraculously, people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all socio-economic backgrounds have joined us in this journey over the years. Hundreds have traveled to meet the children we support, and many more have become monthly donors and are financially committed to our work. We’re appropriately named.

Today, Miracle Foundation has grown. The organization has supported more than 2,000 orphans since its founding in 2000, and currently supports 21 orphanages across India. Miracle Foundation helps transform local orphanages into homes, provides clean water and quality healthcare, and funds scholarships for education. Their goal is to have each orphan become a healthy, happy, income-producing person – and break out of the cycle of poverty. One of their most important foundations for transforming orphanages starts with nutrition.

It’s part of the reason Sheebani has grown into a healthy, thriving young girl, which you see in the picture below.

Sheebani After.jpgSheebani, 10 years later
Image: Miracle Foundation

When the Miracle Foundation first begins working with an orphanage, the children typically don’t have a balanced diet. Protein and vegetables are a rarity in their menu. As a result, children are hungry, sick and unable to concentrate in school.

Miracle Foundation changes that dramatically. The children in Miracle Foundation supported homes enjoy three nutritious, delicious meals every day, plus a snack and glass of milk. Their menus are full of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and plenty of protein.

Miracle foundation.jpgImage: Lynne Dobson, The Miracle Foundation

Let’s create miracles together so that no orphan has to ask for their basic rights. Together we can give them abundance, their right to nutrition, and empower them to reach their full potential.

To learn more about Caroline check out her TEDx talk, Engineering a Miracle. To learn more about the Miracle Foundation click here.

By taking action on Global Citizen, you will have a chance to win tickets to this year's Global Citizen Festival in New York City on Sept. 24, 2016.

Ready to take action?