OUR FOUNDER | Janey DeMeo
The plight of children-in-crisis always disturbed Janey DeMeo—so much so that she had to do something. In England, her native country, she began reaching out to local kids and teaching them the Bible. During her 22 missionary years in France, she helped neglected kids in the Projects and began a weekly club for them. Extensive travels opened her eyes to children in worse situations in Romania, Western Africa, Hungary, Albania… which led to church prayer meetings for at-risk kids.
Janey was given a waning children’s home in India, which needed support. Orphans First were born from this need.
Janey DeMeo is founder and director of Orphans First, a non-profit organization providing food, clothes, shelter, education, medical help, and Bible teaching for suffering children in several countries: www.orphansfirst.org. She is also an author and writer with books and articles in French and English.
Janey and her husband ministered in France for 22 years and planted a church. They traveled to many countries helping church-plant initiatives and launching children’s ministries. At the end of 2003, they moved to America where they both taught in the Calvary Chapel Bible College for a few years. Their present ministry focuses on discipleship and helping children-in-crisis.
Janey’s parenting book, Heaven Help Me Raise These Children! provides biblical direction for practical parenting issues.
Janey describes herself as a Christ-follower, mother, grandmother, animal lover and advocate for children-in-crisis and issues of justice. Her husband is a pastor.
The mission of Orphans First is to meet the basic needs of children-in-crisis both materially and spiritually. Whether orphans or simply impoverished children whose parents are unable to provide for them, we help these children by supplying food, clothes, education, toys, medical and Bible teaching via Orphans First programs or children’s homes—and we nurture them in love and teach them about Jesus.
As well as teaching the Bible, we aim to bring the children into discipleship, and into their individual calling. We help our kids attend university or a trade school according to their unique gifting and desires. The children we reach are otherwise without aid, highly vulnerable and are easy prey to human traffickers or other abusers.
Our children’s homes function like large families and the children connect as siblings under the care of loving house-parents. Where it is not possible to create a home, we establish programs where the children attend several times a week. As well as receiving loving attention and nutritious food, the kids get to play and enjoy childhood away from the stress poverty imposes. Wherever possible, in the measure we are able, we take care of the children’s medical needs. This includes dental work and counseling—particularly for our children who suffer from PTSD because of the brutal lifestyles they come from.
Our aim is to minister to the whole person, so that these children come to sense God’s love and care. We also do what we can to reach beyond the children, to help the families of these children (if they have them), as well as to help kids in the neighboring villages. Orphans First leans heavily on prayer—our God-given privilege to bring these children and our partners before God. We also rely on the generous partnership of donors and sponsors.