As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, August 2008.
Name Christopher Sayre, assistant vice president, home loan manager, Countrywide
Project Sponsoring a Belarus orphanage
Site Rudensk, Belarus
How In 2006, Sayre learned of the orphanage in Rudensk, a town about 45 minutes from Minsk, Belarus' capital, through an Internet search on Belarus aid.
Sayre first visited the orphanage in November of that year, he says, and has visited three times since, most recently in September 2007.
Sayre says he brings money and gifts on each visit to the orphanage, which houses about 175 children ages 6 to 18 years old. In addition to his donations, some of his friends and other donors also contribute, he says. About 10 people donate per trip, according to Sayre.
"On each trip, I usually go with about $2,000 to $4,000 in donations," he says, "and I have a similar amount that I bring."
Sayre says his next trip is planned for next month.
Why Sayre says he has many friends from Belarus who told him of the challenges they had growing up in the former Soviet republic. In addition, he says he feels a connection with the orphanage and the children who live there.
"From the first moment I was there, I felt like I was home," he says. "I had an instant bond with the children, and we have the best time.
"To me, [the orphanage is] the greatest place in the world."
Impact Sayre says he uses donations to buy the children gifts -- primarily, necessities such as soap, toothpaste and shampoo that are expensive in the village.
On one trip, he says, he helped purchase medical supplies and a three-drawer oven for the orphanage's kitchen.
Other activities on his trips include taking the kids on shopping trips, where they can choose and buy things they need, as well as riding horses and visiting Minsk. Once, he took some of the children to McDonald's -- a rare treat for these children, he says.
Try it www.iluvorphans.com
Ivanna C. Sukkar is an associate editor at Scotsman Guide. Reach her at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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