Saturday evening in Lancaster, an event was held to raise money for expanding space at the Saint Francis Xavier Orphanage in Haiti. The event was titled For the Girls: An Evening of Local Art for Haiti.” The evening was filled with local art, raffle prizes, and an art auction. It was held at the Lazarus Juice Bar on West Orange street.
The creators of the event, Erika Firestone and Ashley Cleaver, visited Haiti in this past March. Erika Firestone has worked with the Saint Francis Xavier orphanage for 5 years, beginning in college after becoming part of “Temple Project Haiti.”
The orphanage in Haiti provides children living there with a guaranteed two meals a day, private education, and medical care. After visiting this orphanage throughout college, Erika wanted to continue finding ways to help. Ashley Cleaver, a photographer, joined Erika in her ambitions.
When the pair visited the Orphanage in March, they discovered a new law was set in Haiti. It requires orphanages with boys and girls to have a certain amount of space to house them. The Saint Francis Xavier orphanage did not have the required amount of space.
If they could not get enough space, this would mean separating the eight girls who lived, and bonded, at the orphanage. It also meant a possibility of sending them to live with distant family in areas that held the threat of disease, sexual assault, early marriages, and unwanted pregnancies.
Erika Firestone and Ashley Cleaver hope to not only help keep the orphan girls out of harm’s way, but to also “shift Western thought concerning third world countries.” When describing her experience in Haiti, Ashley said she could only describe the people there with one word, “resiliency.”