Fundraiser seeks $150,000 for Baja California orphanage

David Steel (left), orphanage director Jorge Fonesca, and orphanage volunteer Stephanie Brown.
(Copyright of David Steel)

A Del Mar resident has helped organize a GoFundMe to raise $150,000 for a nursery at Rancho De Los Niños Orphanage in Valle de Guadalupe, located about 90 minutes south of the San Diego-Mexico border.

The online fundraiser’s goal is $150,000 to build, supply and staff the new facility at the orphanage, which is about 50 years old. It is being held in coordination with the orphanage and Corazón De Vida Foundation, a nonprofit that addresses poverty and child abandonment.

In addition to environmental causes, Del Mar resident David Steel said, “This project is my other love, which is getting to do something for children, especially ones who are less fortunate.”

Steel said he learned about Rancho De Los Niños after getting involved with a friend who builds houses in Ensenada. The two went to the village where the orphanage is located.

“I was taken aback by how amazing it was, the facility and what they’re doing and what they’re creating,” Steel said.

A Facebook post he made about the orphanage in September also generated donations of money, clothing and other items for the children.

The directors of the orphanage, Jorge and Ely Fonseca, were both raised in the orphanage. With no government support, the orphanage wanted to start doing more to meet the needs of babies who need a temporary home, in addition to people and services to take care of them.

“The challenge is that they really want to build a nursery for babies,” Steel said. “So right now they have two or three babies or four babies out of the 91 or so people who are there now.”

He added, “Small babies require additional caregivers, they require additional resources. It’s just more expensive. So they have a plan to build this baby nursery.”

The GoFundMe page reads, “Together we can end child abandonment by breaking this vicious cycle of poverty. Please help support these children to become future leaders and stalwart members of their communities. Your donation will save lives and ensure their health and well-being for years to come.”

As of the end of 2022, the GoFundMe has generated close to $10,000 of its $150,000 goal.

“I didn’t go there to create a project or to do this specific thing,” Steel said, “but there was this really great outreach from people I know in the community and people who wanted to contribute and make a difference. It just feels good to do something for the children.”

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