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Wednesday October 01, 2014
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Naomi Corera

 

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Corera came back and raised another $10,000 in four months. Then she finished the projects the first $5,000 had started: building two water tanks, living quarters, a chapel, a roof, and flush toilets for a village school. Soon after, she incorporated her charity. Searching for a name, Corera says, "I closed my eyes, and all I saw was children staring at me, children waiting everywhere for me to do something for them. And I said 'That's the name: Children Waiting Everywhere.'"

Born in 1950 in Sri Lanka, the fourth of six children, Corera was schooled there by Irish nuns and became a certified Montessori teacher. After teaching in Sri Lanka for a few years, she responded to an ad for teachers placed in a local paper by a man in Michigan. She arrived to a snow-covered landscape in November

1970 wearing a sari. The man turned out not to have any schools-he was in the dry cleaning business-but somehow he did get her a green card. With that, Corera landed a job as a teaching assistant with Gateway Academy in Bloomfield Hills, earning her room and board in a wealthy household by chauffeuring the children. After teaching at other schools there, she started her own, Shepherd Montessori in Bloomfield Hills. By 1990, she'd brought her entire family - five brothers and sisters and her widowed mother - to the United States.

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