Almost three decades ago, the first house of the current orphanage opened its doors in Olón, a small fishing village in Ecuador. Since then, it has become a safe haven and a happy place for children who have no other home.
My name is Erwin Musper. I am a retired musician, music producer, recording engineer and studio owner.
I grew up in The Netherlands and have lived in the USA for most of my professional life.
I retired in 2014 and moved to Ecuador. After attending a fundraiser to benefit a local orphanage, I visited the orphanage and the magnitude of emotions I felt hit me like a hammer. Since that day I have dedicated my life to the children of this sanctuary. No time for a hammock and pool parties. I feel like I am happier than I’ve ever been - and this is why:
Day after day, we are working to make their lives a bit more beautiful. Sometimes small needs are met such as the donations of toothbrushes or the purchase of baby formula, but more often big projects need to be conquered. A new water supply system or a roof. All projects focus on survival and create glimmers of hope for the orphaned or abandoned kids. We keep food on the table during dry spells from government aid, have built refrigeration rooms to keep that food from rotting, set up music classes with donated instruments and dedicated teachers, and recruit volunteers to help with all kinds of random projects. Some projects meet one-time needs, while others solve everyday crisis moments.
What strikes me the most, I see only happy faces at the orphanage, in great part because of the incredibly passionate caregivers. These ‘mamitas’ choose to live with the children day and night. Some of them have dedicated their lives to the orphanage since 1992. They are the true heart and soul of the orphanage.
Every child brings his or her suitcase filled with unimaginable trauma to the gate of the sanctuary. A family of five was rescued from living on a big city garbage dump. Other kids were dropped off by the police after the earthquake in 2016. I have seen malnourished, almost lifeless bodies being nurtured back to healthy and smiling children within months after their arrival at this magical place. ‘Santa Maria de la Esperanza’ is a welcoming sanctuary for about 70+ kids. Let’s make sure their new hopes are not squashed again. That would be cruel beyond words.
This is the reason I have started a non-profit foundation, called MJM, with some of my best friends. It also honors the short lives of Muriël and Jeroen, two of my own children, who unfortunately have lost their future due to a fatal illness.
All this would not have been possible without my tireless foundation co-founders and friends, Carla Geveke and Arjan van der Linde, plus of course my beautiful wife Danielle, who always has my back.
Please watch the video interview I recently did with Cynthia Cherish Malaran, a freelance journalist writing for the Huffington Post. Also, read her moving story on the 'Press' page of this website. To enlarge any picture, just click on it.
We have adopted two wonderful girls from this orphanage. It would be great to have our story on this website.'
Volunteering was always a part of my life. This time it is different. It has become my life.
MJM founder Danielle Musper
You touch the lives of children you actually get to know if you want to. Their door is always open.
MJM founder Carla Geveke
MJM founder Erwin Musper
Music was the common passion I shared with them when I visited. It became an unbreakable bond.
MJM founder Arjan van der Linde