[From Jan Watson. Jan went to Haiti with us in January, 2017]
“In January I traveled with Les and Helen Prouty to Gonaives, Haiti. We were joined by other co-laborers from Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, and South Carolina to serve missionaries Luke and Julie Brouwer. It was crystal clear during this trip that Hope Community Project’s focus is on empowering and promoting the dignity of the impoverished Haitians they serve.
Why is this approach important? In the book When Helping Hurts, authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert discuss the unhealthy and sometimes unbiblical approaches North American churches have taken as they attempted to reduce inequity. Our efforts to support the poor, although well intentioned, can be short sighted and misguided. Corbett and Fikkert acknowledge the critical need for relief in the event of a disaster and stabilization after life-threatening events. They also recommend careful discernment, because on-going assistance may unintentionally keep people in a relief mode. A long-term vision for applying the gospel to a broken world should support transformation and dignity. It honors people as equals and partners; it offers real help and grace by seeking input from those we are attempting to help. Aside from our generous resources, the authors offer that acknowledging our own brokenness may be one of our greatest assets to meaningfully reflect God’s grace and promote more equitable relationships. This provides a way of “leveling the playing field” of sorts, in that our wealth and power become less important to the materially poor than the mutual depravity and need for the Gospel we all share.
How does Hope Community Project empower and promote the dignity of the Haitian people? This ministry looks to the needs of the people and community by partnering with community members. They provide resources for much needed medical care, micro-enterprise development, and educational scholarships. Efforts focus on giving people real responsibility and equipping them for success, thereby supporting the desire for self-sufficiency. Building work force skills through micro enterprises and providing educational opportunities for children contribute to dignity and seeing oneself as capable. Sustainable change succeeds over the long term when there is an awareness of local struggles and a homegrown vision for the future. Hope Community Project does just that—it provides hope for the future for the participating families in Gonaives. In this way, we honor Christ’s instructions in both word and deed as care is provided for “the least of these.”
Thank you Jan for going, serving, and sharing.
We can only continue to help protect children, preserve families, and promote independence among the very poor in Gonaives with your help. Consider becoming a monthly partner or making a one-time donation at the big red donate button on this page.
[From our Economic Development Coordinator Holden on the field in Haiti]
It has been a couple months since I have been able to sit down and write a thorough update. It is necessary now, however, because this year will look very different than last. It is important to communicate why we will do the things we will do, and a rough plan on how we will do them.
Our egg business took 2016 as a “trial period”. We did not want to spend tons of money on a project that wouldn’t work. We chose community members we believed would work hard and take ownership in a business. We were patient and grew slowly, being cautious in making decisions and setting expectations. Over time, these farmers showed they could take responsibility and trust the process. We even took the final months of 2016 to take a step back and see if the business could survive with little change and intercession. Months and months of training farmers and carefully building the business has proven successful.
Our business is financially sustainable day to day. This means that farmers make enough money to pay all of their regular business expenses. This also means they can repurchase the same amount of chickens they had, when their current chickens stop laying. All along, sustainability was our goal. However, our partners currently work on such a small scale, expanding their business from 65 chickens would take an enormous amount of time.
We have always known the market can bear more eggs than we are producing. We also know that the success of our business means pushing out an import product, doing only good things in the long run for the Haitian economy. Now that these farmers have grasped the principles of the business and shown great accomplishment, we can begin producing and growing on a larger scale. This year we plan to tackle this in three phases.
Phase 1: Innovation
Over the last several months, it has been the farmers’ goal to acquire a new incubator. This incubator will allow these farmers to raise their own chicks, and compared to purchasing chickens from another business, saves them a substantial amount of money. This will allow the cooperative to expand cheaply and on its own schedule while obtaining extra income selling male birds for meat.
The total cost of an incubation setup is about $2,000. For months, each farmer has contributed a portion of their income to purchase this incubator, however they need partnering donors to finally attain it. This investment includes the incubator itself, a brooder, and a back-up electricity source. Our goal is to purchase and install this incubator system in March.
Phase 2: Expansion
As the number of chickens grows with an incubator, the need for more facilities grows as well. Together, farmers will need to build one shared “intermediate coop”. This coop provides housing for adolescent chickens after the brooder, that are still too young to produce eggs. Next, each farmer will build an individual structure to expand the flocks on their property. Our goal is to expand each farm to 150 laying chickens, meaning each farmer will need another coop on their property.
Each individual coop costs nearly $750 to build, creating a total cost of $2,250 to outfit our three partners for expansion. The shared intermediate coop adds an additional $2,000. Coops include a wood structure, metal roof, feeders, drinkers, laying house, feed storage, and lights. Our plan is to build each of these structures in April in preparation for new birds.
Phase 3: Extension
The majority of 2017 will be focused on innovating and expanding within the current farmers. However, our long term plan has always been to take on more farmers, creating more jobs, and giving more members of our community a chance at an income. This year, we plan to add another member of our community into the cooperative. The cost to introduce a new farmer into the cooperative and provide them with the equipment and facilities necessary to thrive is $4,000.
Our goal for this project has always been sustainability. First, we want these Haitian farmers to be able to make a wage that significantly impacts their life. We have seen these farmers able to pay rent bills and feed their children- the burden of providing for a family finally starting to ease. We also want to give Haitians the opportunity to develop their business. Considering the great strides these farmers have made in learning and carrying out business principles, growing their business is the next step. Lastly, our aim is to start Haitian farmers with this business, and help them grow and expand to financial sustainability so that they never need our outside support again. Not only does this preserve the dignity of these farmers, but it places pride in their business knowing they can be successful independent of ongoing funding.
All of these things are great and exciting, but they need your help to become reality. Our egg business has proven successful and our donors have peace of mind knowing that their money is making a real difference. Consider helping us reach our goals for 2017, including Hope Community Project’s effort to purchase land which would allow our community’s chicken farmers to expand even more!
Click HERE or the RED button near the top of this page to help with our job development program.
The Keane Insurance Group invites you to attend an exclusive evening of French Wine Tasting benefiting The HOPE Community Project. This event takes place Friday, February 17th from 6-8pm. The tasting is hosted by Bob Perkins of B&B French Wine Club. Bob travels through France every year to choose the finest wines for his members, and now he is bringing them to you. We invite you to try six wines that are otherwise unavailable to the US market while enjoying heavy hors d’oeuvres at the historic Kirkwood Train Station. Admission is $100 per person. Proceeds from your ticket fee will be used to support Haitian children going to school, the HOPE medical clinic, and job creating economic projects. And, it’s tax-deductible.
Register here and don’t forget that space is limited!
- Friday, February 17, 2017
- 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Historic Kirkwood Train Station
- 110 W. Argonne
- Kirkwood, MO 63122
- Register Now!
If you have any questions or need more information call Monte Shields at 314-966-7733.
We hope to see you there!