When businesswoman and philanthropist Christel DeHaan sold Resort Condominiums International (RCI) in 1996, she decided to devote the next phase of her life to helping impoverished children. Her motto, "to care, to share, to make a difference", embodies the philosophical underpinnings of the organization.
After an impactful visit to two children’s shelters in Mexico in January 1998, DeHaan realized that simply providing food or clothing would make life easier only temporarily. To make a lasting difference would require giving children of poverty the opportunity for transformational change. Creating systemic change needed a holistic approach, quality staff, rigorous curriculum, measurement of results, and accountability on all fronts. This thinking led to the development of Christel House, and the first learning center opened its doors in late 1998.
Between 1999 and 2002, Christel House opened five learning centers—in Mexico, India, South Africa, Venezuela and the United States. Today, after just ten years of operation, it serves over 3000 students, their families and communities. Christel House employs more than 250 dedicated professionals who help our children optimize their potential to achieve productive, self-sufficient lives.
Christel House has high expectations-from its students, its staff and its parents. Devoted teachers "walk many extra miles" to meet the needs of children in their classrooms, and a spirit of love and pride emanates from inside every Christel House.
Christel House follows strict business practices and is committed to complete accountability and transparency. Charity Navigator, the non-profit sector's watchdog, has awarded Christel House its top, Four Star rating, for the past two consecutive years-an achievement limited to only 15% of charities rated.
Christel House International is a 501(c) (3) public charity, and each learning center is a registered not-for-profit entity in its country of operation.