Our Stories
Give Today

Remembering Christel: Graduates share her impact

With Christel DeHaan’s passing, heartfelt condolences came from around the world celebrating her life. For Christel House students, she transformed lives. Our graduates express their gratitude and share her impact.

Sindhu Kumari Kovalan – Christel House India graduate

My fairy godmother is no more. You molded us into the beautiful humans we are today. You were the water that nourished us to bloom into beautiful flowers. Christel ma’am, you’ve left us all lamenting. But you shall always be alive in each of our dreams and souls.

Ivan Contreras Lizcano – Christel House Mexico graduate

Christel DeHaan will always be my great example to follow. Her words and good deeds marked my life completely. I will always carry her in my heart. Thanks to her I am a great human being.

Samkelisiwe Xaba – Christel House South Africa graduate

I spent 12 wonderful years of my life at Christel House and it's safe to say that it’s the best thing that happened. Ms. Christel was a very great, phenomenal and powerful woman filled with nothing but love and compassion. She instilled core values which I still carry with me to this day. I am deeply saddened by her passing. Mama Christel will be greatly missed by all of us.


Ashley Ring – Christel House Indianapolis graduate

Rest in peace to this wonderful and extraordinary woman. She changed my life and so many others. My thoughts are with her family and Christel House family around the world.


Zola Maphila, Christel House South Africa graduate

No words could ever clearly demonstrate how thankful all of us are for Christel DeHaan's strategic and bold vision, transformational leadership and immense compassion. She was a passionate humanitarian and a tireless advocate for the role of education as the social and moral conscience of society. We are, because you were. Rest now Mama. You've played your part, and you've played it well.

Maryari Contreras, Christel House Venezuela graduate

Christel's legacy lives on in each of us through our actions - when we remember fondly all that we received from this great family; when we support a child without expecting anything in return because we know how valuable it is to help others; when we vigorously defend the power of a good education because we know how valuable it is; when we are convinced we can achieve our dreams; when we look in the mirror and feel proud of our achievements as students and professionals. That is Christel, and her love-multiplying effect will continue making a difference for a better world.

Abigail Temmink – Christel House South Africa graduate

Ms. Christel you are the reason I am the person I am today. You are the reason I didn’t become another statistic of my community. Thank you for everything you have done, not only for me but for the thousands of other poor children whose lives you have transformed positively. Your legacy will continue to live on in the lives of the many people you’ve touched. 


Nontando Mihle Fani – Christel House South Africa graduate

Christel DeHaan will forever be in my heart. She showed grace and kindness to children who knew nothing but a life of struggle in South Africa, India, Mexico and the United States – children who only knew that one room shack as their only comfort, whose dreams were limited to that leaking roof, broken and shattered. You loved us and gave us an opportunity we never dreamt of, a quality education and a family across the world.

Jesus Morales – Christel House Mexico graduate

I will be forever grateful to Christel DeHaan for changing my life. Whenever I think about where I would be today without Christel House I feel inspired to help others just as Christel did with me and my family. I learned from her that true success is about having a positive impact in people's lives. I believe that we all can keep Christel's legacy alive. Thank you for making our dreams come true!

Taariq Salie – Christel House South Africa graduate

Your dream was to give every impoverished child a seat at the table of life and I am so thankful that I have been given a seat at the table. Thank you for everything you have done for me and all the Christel House students and thank you for all the dreams you have created for the future Christel House students to come.

To read Christel's obituary, click here.


Learn More
About Our Programs