Dedicated community members united by a love for children.
About Elsmarie Norby
I was born in Chicago, the only child of Swedish immigrants. I was blessed with those old world values, which included a fine education in public schools and piano lessons from an older cousin. Music was my major interest through college at St. Olaf in Minnesota and Juilliard in New York City. Wherever I was throughout my adult life, I led choirs in churches, schools and community centers, believing that we all have that most important instrument, the voice. I had begun to take photographs with my first Brownie camera at age 8, and that remains my second career passion.
I married twice, have 4 children, 4 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, all still living in the US.
On my first morning in San Miguel de Allende, I knew I’d found my real home. I’ve been here since 1997. For the first 10 years, I led choirs of children in the 3 orphanages, and created an early childhood music program for public kinder and primary schools in town and in rural communities. I gave trainings to local people to be the teachers so that many children could have this experience.
Wherever I’ve been, whatever I’ve done, my abiding force has been social justice activism. I’ve always been a responder to the person or situation in front of me that seemed to need some kind good attention or solution. I don’t have a PhD. and I haven’t written a book…but I’ve always believed that, given the opportunity to learn through their innate curiosity, children anywhere will become the best they can be.
In 2007 I moved to a nearby rural indigenous community called San Miguel Viejo, and so began a project I did not expect when the first children peeked through my front door, and I offered them paper and colored pencils….
Ofelia – art & literacy, ages 3-
Alma – art & literacy, ages 3-7
Griselda – textiles & sewing, ages 10-14
Juan Antonio - art, ages 10-14
Juan Daniel - stained glass, ages 12-15
Rosa Elena - literacy, ages 3-7
Mirca – literacy, ages, 8-14
Betty is bi-lingual, lived much of her early years in Mexico, is very conversant with both the children and their parents.
Board of Directors
Ojala Niños has a volunteer board of directors composed of 5 local Mexican nationals who live full time in San Miguel de Allende.