We have been in constant awe of Marie Lopez since meeting her, after hearing of her amazing story and what she has given up for a small orphanage in Africa. This spotlight will certainly inspire you and may even give you the desire to give your time to helping out. Thanks Marie for Be[ing] Robin Hood.
Give Be Robin Hood a glimpse into your background. What was it that prompted you to relocate from Ireland to Johannesburg, South Africa? What about Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage drew you in?
My name is Marie Lopez, and am from Ireland where I lived with my Husband and little daughter until 2010 when my husband passed on. A year later, after battling severe depression, I relocated to South Africa for a vacation and that's when God started his work in my life. I saw children suffering, premature deaths, and poverty. I decided to start my orphanage over here [in South Africa] from part of the funds that my husband left behind, and today we are established and saving lives.
The need to save lives and alleviate pain drew me in. People neglect the poor and that's not how it's supposed to be. If everyone can help each other in times of need, the world would be a better place.
Tell us about the water pump project you have going on. What sort of impact will be made when your goal is fulfilled?
Since 2011 till date, Cornerstone Orphanage has relied on unhealthy stream water for sustenance. Recently, the kids have been ill and there is an outbreak of cholera in our vicinity, which prompted us to take the bold step of having a clean water supply system in our orphanage. We setup a link and people are responding positively. When we have enough funding, we hope to complete the construction of our water pump and get additional supplies for the children. Anyone who wishes to help can donate here.
You’ve helped many children find new and caring homes with adoptive families. Can you tell us a story of a successful adoption that was particularly memorable, and why it meant so much?
That would be the story of Ken. Our little Ken had autism and believed everyone hated him because he was slow. I kept encouraging him, but he felt devastated seeing his mates getting adopted and nothing coming his way. Eventually a good Christian family came through and they really loved him and started preparations for his adoption. It has now been 3 years, and Ken is with his new family in the UK and he couldn't be happier. Occasionally he comes to visit and is honestly really happy.
Be Robin Hood’s vision remains that anyone can be a hero to someone in need, and together we can change the world, while Cornerstone’s vision is to “Share Love, Build Hope and Change lives.” What kind of world and opportunities would you like to see for these children?
I want these children to have the life they deserve and always dreamt of. These children have potential and it's not their fault they don't have a family. Our vision is to help nurture these children to become great leaders in the future. So far, they are excelling in academics, sports and art activities. It's amazing.
If you could have your ‘dream come true’ what would it be?
If there's something I hope for endlessly, it's that these children can grow and become successful in life. I want them to one day remember that they started from our orphanage and got support from kind hearted people who helped them achieve their dreams.