ESTHERS Children was founded in May of 2006 by Emily and Jennifer Sutherland. The vision began in Emily’s heart in July of 2001 during a short-term mission trip to Recife, Brazil. Emily was overwhelmed by the reality of the existence and vast numbers of street children, especially girls, and knew she needed to do something to help.
In July of 2005, God spoke to Emily about starting her own non-profit organization that would partner with local ministries to start substitute family homes for children, primarily girls, living in at-risk conditions in an effort to prevent them from becoming street children or being sold into child prostitution. Shortly after, Emily and her daughter, Jennifer, began taking the steps necessary and making contacts in Recife, Brazil to pioneer the work of ESTHERS Children.
In March of 2007, after much hard work and many trials, ESTHERS Children opened their first substitute family home, Esther’s House, in Recife, Brazil. Over the next 3 1/2 years, Esther’s House was home to 18 girls between the ages of 4 and 16. However in 2010, due to the Millennial Goals and mandates on the Rights of Children established by the United Nations, Brazilian laws began to change. As a result, all residential programs were now viewed as institutions, and in accordance with these mandates no child could stay in one of these programs for more than six months. We were then faced with 3 choices: continue working at the same capacity as a six-month temporary shelter, work as a community based day-program, or permanently close the doors of our ministry in Brazil. After much prayer and consideration, we began to shift our work in Brazil from a residential program to a community center. In July 2011, ESTHERS Children began a trial-program with the girls from Esther’s House. In September 2011, we officially opened the Quiet Strength Community Center serving 24 girls with the goal of serving 50 girls and their families.