Christel House International
Purpose Prize Fellow 2007
Eradicating generational poverty through educational opportunity.
Christel DeHaan became a travel industry pioneer when she co-founded Resort Condominiums International, but after selling the company in 1996, she leveraged her entrepreneurial skills to join the fight against poverty. In 1998 she created Christel House International to help children break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. The nonprofit operates Christel House learning centers, serving over 2600 children in some of the most impoverished areas of India, Mexico, South Africa, and Venezuela, and also through its charter school, Christel House Academy, serving K-8 Indianapolis inner-city students. These learning centers provide students with the academic proficiency necessary for higher education; equip them with the desire for lifelong learning; strengthen their civic, ethical and moral values; and prepare them to be self-sufficient contributing members of society. Christel House provides scholarships and financial support to help graduates go on to college or vocational school. In Caracas, 85 percent of the program’s first graduating class enrolled in college or secured paid internships. And in Mexico City, the Young Entrepreneurs program teaches free enterprise through partnerships with local businesses.