MATCHMAKER AND FACILITATOR
The Orphan Train Project’s main function is to match service clubs, schools, churches and other organizations to orphanages around the world and to facilitate ongoing relationships. The organizations who agree to work with particular orphanages are referred to as “conductors.” The conductors and the Orphan Train itself are assisted by Orphan Train “intermediaries,” bilingual individuals relied upon to handle translations, spending of donations and accounting for donated money.
Members of the Rotary Club of Madison West Towne-Middleton, and/or Orphan Train conductor organizations, have traveled to various parts of Bulgaria, Romania, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nepal and Tanzania. These trips, and referrals from Peace Corps Volunteers, have helped identify orphanages in need of assistance. With trips and referrals, the Orphan Train Project has also identified “intermediaries,” who will represent the Orphan Train and its conductor groups, delivering assistance and accounting to donors. These intermediaries are foreign Rotarians, Peace Corps Volunteers or others we have come to rely upon over the years.
Members of conductor organizations are encouraged to visit their orphanages and intermediaries and to correspond often.
Thanks to a wonderful relationship with Mooseheart, the famed “child city” in Mooseheart, Illinois, the Orphan Train has brought foreign orphanage personnel to the Mooseheart campus for two weeks of instruction, followed by other child-related experiences in Wisconsin. These experiences have been going on for many years. In addition, Mooseheart staffers have traveled overseas to train orphanage personnel, while at the same time observing other methods of care themselves. The instructional trips are coordinated by Orphan Train team members and intermediaries overseas.
VISION TRIPS AND MORE
Thanks to the cooperation of the Madison, Wisconsin Central Lions Club, Rotarians, Lions and others have traveled abroad to provide vision screening and eyeglasses to orphans and others. Other healthcare related trips are also possible for conductors wishing to undertake such activities on their own. Other groups have traveled to see their orphanages and assess the needs. One conductor group sends teams each year to work at their orphanage.
Rotarian Michael Douglass and Peruvian Youngster