Frequently Asked Questions about Christel House
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Frequently Asked Questions about Christel House

Imagine providing impoverished children an education that transforms their lives and breaks the cycle of poverty. That’s what Christel House does and we’ve been doing it long enough to have the data to prove it works. 97% of Christel House students pass graduation exams and 92% of our graduates continue their studies or are gainfully employed.

Frequently Asked Questions:


  • What makes Christel House different from other schools? Christel House is more than a school - it's the lifeline to success. Our holistic model focuses on the whole child. We don’t just educate, or feed or provide health care – we do all of these things – and we do it from early childhood through high school, college and into launching a career. We operate Christel House with rigorous business principles with goals, objectives and defined metrics. We are committed to high degrees of accountability and transparency at every level of the organization.


  • What are the qualifications for students to be accepted to Christel House? Christel House focuses admissions on students that come from their country’s most impoverished families. We do not search out the “best and brightest” but students must be learning-abled. Many need and receive remedial support.


  • How does Christel House define success? Christel House defines success as students that emerge from impoverished communities as capable individuals, desirable employees and responsible citizens. We believe that only when students become self-sufficient, contributing members of society that we fully achieve the Christel House mission.


  • Are the schools private or public schools? The schools are unique in that they are developed based on their location. In the United States, Christel House is a public charter. Internationally, Christel House learning centers operate as private schools that sometimes function in partnership with the government. While each location is unique, the Christel House program and high expectations for students are the same at each learning center.

  • Do students stay/live at the schools? Christel House is not a boarding school. The holistic Christel House model focuses on allowing the students to remain with their families. This allows the children to carry the lessons and values learned at Christel House home where they can become a positive force for change in their communities. Courses on topics like combating domestic violence, health and hygiene, HIV prevention and financial management are offered for parents and community members.


  • How do families participate at Christel House? Christel House parents become invested in the development and success of their children through our outreach programs. They also volunteer at the schools, helping with cleaning, maintenance and grounds-keeping. We hold regular community workshops on topics like HIV/AIDS, family planning, parenting skills, conflict resolution, substance abuse, nutrition and hygiene to improve the lives of parents and community members.


  • What is “College & Careers?” The College & Careers program was developed to mentor and guide graduates to success in university, technical school or the workplace. Staff continues to work with graduates for up to five years, guiding the students to understand enrollment, finding scholarship opportunities, and assisting them in housing and financial issues. In many cases, Christel House invests 18 years helping a young person become self-sufficient and productive.


  • What is DORS and what does it do? DORS was added to the Indianapolis location five years ago. It stands for drop out recovery school – an adult high school that offers a second chance for students to earn a high school diploma. Teachers create customized lesson plans for adult students based on their education level and needs.


  • What drove the decision to place the schools in India, Mexico, South Africa and the United States? Christel DeHaan, Founder and Board Chair of Christel House, was familiar with these countries and their governmental operations based on her business experience, and had strong connections in each. The Christel House locations were selected as her way of giving back to countries that played a significant role in her commercial success. This location selection enabled us to launch the schools with an understanding of the countries, their cultures and the needs. Schools are staffed by in-country educators. In the United States, Christel House has three schools located in Indianapolis, Indiana. As Christel’s adopted hometown and the headquarters of Christel House International, it was important to have Christel House schools in the U.S. These are the only schools in the United States. Schools are staffed by in-country educators, thus supplying jobs and providing students with local role models.


  • Did Christel House build all their schools? Some of the schools were built by Christel House (Bangalore, Christel House Academy West) while others were pre-existing buildings that went through major renovations before they were opened to Christel House students. In Atal Nagar, the government provided a new facility for us, purpose-built to our specifications.


  • Are there plans to expand Christel House? When we evaluate potential future locations, we determine the depth, degree and concentration of poverty, the impact of tax and legal structures, the quality of the existing educational system, the economic environment, employment opportunities for our prospective graduates, and our ability to find partners willing to support our expansion. In July 2017, we announced our newest school, Christel House Jamaica, that is scheduled to open in September 2020.


  • How did Christel House get started? Christel DeHaan’s philosophy has always been, “To care, to share and to make a difference.” After travelling to Mexico to visit two orphanages in 1998, she founded the first Christel House in Mexico City. The experience demonstrated to her that without structured interventions that would address the systemic causes of poverty, this cycle would repeat with every new generation. The Christel House model was developed to break the cycle of poverty, and our results show that it works.


  • Why should I donate to Christel House? Christel House has proven itself effective with an independently validated record of success. 100% of donations support programs and services for children. Overhead and fundraising costs are provided by the organization’s Founder and Board Chair. Your donations enable Christel House to reach and help more students.


  • Is Christel House sustainable? Christel DeHaan has generously supported Christel House financially and is bequeathing most of her assets to fund its general, administrative and fundraising expenses for many generations to come. This structure leverages her resources most effectively and allows for further expansion to transform the lives of many more children. The organization is supported by a number of corporate and individual donors and supporters in the United States and globally.


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