Liberty Foundation exists to provide care and education for abused and abandoned children in Belize, Central America.
In 2003 Marcelle Delahaye, Founder of Liberty Foundation, spent a significant time in Belize and visited children’s homes across the country. She saw a clear need for an alternative residential facility for children in the Belize City area who had been abandoned, or removed from their home due to abuse.
By 2004 Liberty Foundation was a registered charity in the UK and a certified NGO in Belize, and Marcelle had enlisted her sister, Gemma Delahaye. They have been running the charity together in the UK ever since.
Liberty Children’s Home in Ladyville, on the outskirts of Belize City, opened its doors in 2005 and has since been caring for up to forty abused and abandoned children at a time.
Liberty Learning Centre opened in 2006, to provide high quality, child-centred education for pre-school children in the local community.
In 2008 Liberty’s, a boutique charity shop, was opened in Farnham, Surrey, UK to provide an extra income source for the charity.
In 2011 Liberty Foundation formed a partnership with the Government of Belize who now also provide management and financial support within Belize.
Facts about us
- The name ‘Liberty’ evolved from the charity’s philosophy of giving children the freedom to be themselves, as well as freeing them from the adversities they’ve had to face in their young lives.
- Liberty Children’s Home consists of five monolithic domes, ecological structures that were specifically chosen due to being entirely hurricane proof.
- Liberty Children’s Home is influenced by the Pikler method of childcare, a well researched approach developed to prevent the damaging effects of institutionalisation on children.
- Liberty Learning Centre draws from the Reggio Emilia and Montessori approaches that aim for the fullest possible development of the whole child.
Although Belize has the second highest per capita income in Central America, the average income figure masks a huge income disparity between rich and poor. The 2010 Poverty Assessment shows that more than 4 out of 10 people live in poverty.
“Drugs, violence, prostitution and teen pregnancy are an all-too-common reality for Belizean children, who have few positive alternatives.”
“While Belize has achieved significant economic growth in recent years, its progress masks steep economic inequities. Social services for women and children, already perilously thin, face further cuts as the government addresses a staggering national debt, which now equals 100 per cent of GDP.”
- Poverty in Belize is extensive, persistent and widespread.
- 39% of Belizean children live below the poverty line. This means two out of every five Belizean children do not have their basic food and non food needs met.
Child abuse and neglect
- Child abuse and neglect is a major, widespread problem in Belize.
- In the vast majority of cases the abuser is a family member or carer
- Stunting due to malnutrition affects about one child in five.
- Belize has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Central America.
- Children from lower socio economic backgrounds generally attend schools with fewer trained teachers and fewer resources.
- Only 45 per cent of children attend secondary school and of that number, only half graduate.
- Only a quarter of poor children continue on to secondary school.
statistics courtesy of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)