A family since 1954
On a hot summer day in 1954, Fr. William Wasson was greeted by a parishioner who exclaimed, “You must come down to the station! There has been a thief who has stolen from the church charity box.”
Fr. Wasson went down to the station and was shocked to find that the accused was a young boy. “I’m sorry Father but I was hungry and my parents have abandoned me. I didn’t know what to do,” the boy cried.
Fr. Wasson asked the court to show mercy. He asked the judge for his custody so that he could feed him, clothe him, and provide a home for him. The judge accepted. In fact, the judge continued to send children to Father Wasson.
By the end of the year, 32 boys were in his care and Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH, Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”) was born.
Always concerned with the needs of the poor
Born on December 21, 1923 in Phoenix, Arizona, Father William Wasson was always concerned about the needs of the poor. He received his MA in law and social sciences at San Luis Rey University, Santa Barbara, California. He then travelled to Mexico, where he was ordained a priest in 1953 by the VII Bishop of Cuernavaca.
Father Wasson: 50 years of service to children
Father Wasson dedicated 50 years of his life to serving as a father, provider and teacher to more than 18,000 vulnerable children. NPH now operates homes in 9 countries: Bolivia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. Fr Wasson has received international recognition for his humanitarian work.
On August 16th, 2006, surrounded by pequeños, the children of NPH he loved so dearly, Father Wasson died in Cottonwood, Arizona. His legacy lives on through more than 6,000 children receiving childcare and educational support across Latin America. His values are upheld through the thousands of community services that NPH provides each year to vulnerable families.
If you are interested in the history of NPH, you may like to check out the ‘Orphan’s Father’ series on Youtube. Here is Part-1 (of 3) below.
How did NPH come to New Zealand?
In 2011 New Zealander Kristina Cavit came back after two years volunteering at NPH Dominican Republic. She wanted to do something to help the children she had grown to love.
After the success of a few fundraising events Kristina decided to start the Charitable Trust, NPH New Zealand.
In 2016, former volunteer Loren O’Sullivan became the new Director of NPH New Zealand. You can hear her story in the video below.