This post isn't about my business, nor about me. Today I’d like to introduce Mariagrazia Ciliberto, adoptive mother, founder and recycled jewelry maker. As we have been friends for more than 10 years, I know what a wonderful job she is doing. She works to improve the lives of orphans in Haiti in small but meaningful ways, such as giving food, clothing and school supplies, as well as finding small life-changing scholarships for them.
Every year during the Christmas Market I committed to supporting her worthwhile cause by donating some orange boxes to be sold at the charity chalet for raising money for Haiti orphans in need. This year's Christmas Market was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but my commitment is unchanged!
While I’m sure my small cash donation of 170€ is important, I wondered if I could help even more by offering her visibility on my blog. So, here is the page dedicated to this incredible foster mother and her charity, no donation required. That’s not saying you can’t support her through a donation – just do what is best for you.
IM: Mariagrazia, you and your husband Claudio adopted Dialouna in 2010, having already had two birth children. Can you tell us how you came to adopt Dialouna?
MG: Adoption had come up little by little, after accepting the fact that we were not able to have any more children on our own. Unfortunately, our last baby girl was born with a genetic malformation and we had to go to hospital many times for many years. However, the hospital experience has forced us to see beyond our pain and has naturally led us to have hearts for an adopted child.
Dialouna arrived from Haiti by a military flight, a few days after the terrible earthquake in 2010. She was 2 and a half years old.
We had started the adoption process through the Luxembourg Red Cross 6 years before we matched with her, and although we were on the waiting list for Bolivia and Ukraine, we were open to any origin of a child since we just wanted to increase our family further.
IM: How becoming the adoptive mother of Dialouna changed you?
MG: Although I was already the mom to two biological children, the adoption of Dialouna has taught me much, and I learn each day from each other.
When she came to Luxembourg from the orphanage she came to me severely underweight. She needed food but she was also hungry for my love as a mother. In taking care of her, I was able to deal with my own fears and insecurities.
IM: Following the adoption of Dialouna, Angels for Haïti Luxembourg charity was set up. Can you tell us a bit about it?
MG: We were informed by the Luxembourg Red Cross that Dialouna had also 4 sisters and 2 brothers that still lived in Haiti and were in need of help. The same appeal to aid was addressed to the other Luxembourg adoptive families having adopted orphans from Haiti. As adoptive parents, we therefore decided to use charity to support orphans somehow, and that’s how Angels for Haïti Luxembourg (https://www.angelsforhaitiluxembourg.eu/) was set up in 2012.
IM: Your small charity tends to have low reserves, relying on the generosity of donors and often planning pop-up fundraising events to raise money for orphans living in poverty. How is it coping with the Covid-19 pandemic?
MG: The board members are 4 volunteers, the charity has few members and it is neither strong nor famous as Caritas and Unicef. The pandemic puts a strain on our cash flow. Donations come mostly from people close to us, such as our family and close friends. We are asking them to use a personal occasion, such as birthdays and christenings, to make a donation instead of giving gifts.
IM: Easter is coming. What do you wish for?
MG: To go ahead and get my hopes up to give my dreams, and Dialouna's too, a chance.
To find out more about Angels for Haïti Luxembourg, please contact Mariagrazia on one of the channels below:
By Website: https://www.angelsforhaitiluxembourg.eu/
By Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418493968166865/