Project Milestones


  • During Sharon Dugard’s first visit to Haiti and holding an orphan named Andre, a seed planted itself deep in her heart with the vision of building an orphanage.


  • The seed sprouted and Sharon went public with her vision
  • Many volunteers started giving of their talents and time in preparing an information board for public event, printing of pamphlets and fundraising events


  • Volunteer Board of Directors was formed 


  • Open Doorways Orphanage became Incorporated


  • Open Doorways Orphanage Inc. became a registered Canadian charity


  • A parcel of land in the community of Deschapelles (two-hour drive north of the capital city Port-au-Prince) was offered to Open Doorways.   


  • February
    • Digging for the foundation of the security wall
  • March
    • 40 men and women (local and some displaced after earthquake in Port-au-Prince) hired to work on the ODO project
  • April
    • digging for the foundation of the orphanage
    • manufacturing of the entrance gate
    • small door in security wall giving access to the school yard
  • July
    • Raising wall for the orphanage
  • August
    • Consolidating walls for the orphanage by pouring concrete in the posts
  • October
    • Concrete roof
  • December
    • Outside front stairway leading into the home


  • January - August
    • Finishing – kitchen cupboards, bathrooms, flooring, painting…
  • September
    • orphanage is complete
    • yard work underway
    • a lot of the furnishings are in
    • one staff hired to organize inside
  • November 15
    • three girls, Frazimene, Christlene & Nagella became the first three children in the ODO family


  • March
    • there are now 10 chilldren in the ODO family (6 girls and 4 boys)
    • ODO has 8 locally hired staff (manager, housemother, 2 assistant house mothers, head cook, assistant cook, laundry lady, yard/maintance man)
    • Sharon, Lil Gauthier (Board Member) and 2 volunteers – Corie Koch and Ute Rehill visited the children and staff
  • October
    • cooks are no longer using charcoal for making meals but using a propane burner


  • January
    • Honda 3KW generator was purchased
    • Sidewalk was poured to the outside kitchen and another one to the door giving access to the school yard
  • February 
    • there are now 12 children in the ODO (7 girls and 5 boys)
    • ODO has 9 locally hired staff (addition of a gentleman for night security)
    • Sharon, Ute Rehill (Board Member) and 2 volunteers – Rose & Samantha Unrau visited the chlldren and staff
    • fruit trees were planted alongside the security wall
  • Up-coming projects for 2013
    • Renovation of vacant building on property into a studies/activities room for the children, 2 bedrooms for visitors and one bathroom


  • Completed renovation of vacant building on property.  It is now used as a studies/activities room and can accommodate any visitors

  • Tutor was hired to assist the children with their education

  • Manitoba resident and retired schoolteacher Irene Hudek visited and volunteered for a few weeks. She was able to share her music and teaching skills with both the children and staff.

  • One of our employees, Edeline, left her position to pursue Nursing in Port Au Prince. 

Yvette Mallet, School Director, Ecole Lagimodière, Lorette, Manitoba

On November 2004, Sharon Dugard and myself offered a presentation on Haiti to our grades 7 and 8. This goal was to talk about one of the poorest country in the world and have the students realize the daily challenge that their citizens have to live with. We talked about different aspects including education, population, poor living conditions... It was all very educational for the students who were very interested. Sharon shared her project on building an orphanage for the people entitled "Open Doorways". The students were very touched and once back into class discussed with their teachers of ways they could help and ideas to raise money to support the project. I was very excited because having taught in that country for a month during the summer of 1990, I still feel very close to the people of Haiti.

As a school principal, I think it is very important to teach empathy to our students. Giving them a sense of empowerment shows them that they can make a difference in making this world a better place for every human being.

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