HOPE Blog

The Land. And Dollar for Dollar Matching!

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The Hope Community Project is dedicated to promoting independence and constantly innovating in our approach in serving the people of Haiti – and our next step is raising $200,000 for land and buildings that will be uniquely designed to serve the community needs in a way that empowers the people of Gonaive.

Several donors have offered to match your donations dollar for dollar, up to $30,000 (and our matching fund is growing each day). $30k turns into $60k! Hope Community Project Field Director Luke Brouwer shows you the land we hope to purchase and explains why we need it. Architectural renderings are below.

Click to see our vision video, Who We Are.

Will you help us reach our goal of $200,000 to help protect children, preserve families, and promote independence? Click on the Donate button to make your gift and know that your donation will be doubled for maximum impact.

Who We Are

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As we head into this 2016 weekend of thanksgiving, we at Hope Community Project are thankful for all of you; for all of those who have stuck with us and supported us throughout the ups and downs of our work in Haiti. Many of you have been with us since the beginning and have walked through the difficult discoveries our team on the ground in Haiti made about the reality behind orphanages in Haiti. Many of you supported us as we took what we learned and changed our focus toward protecting children, preserving families, and promoting independence in the community surrounding Paradise Village. We recognize that one of the most important ways to express our thanks is to try to give you a clear picture of the impact your investment in our organization is having in Haiti, as well as, giving you a sense of our direction for the future. One of the ways we have chosen to do this is through the production of five videos, which together should help give you a sense of the scope of our programs and how they are making a difference.

The first video being released with this post is a video that broadly explains Who We Are and what we are doing. Over the course of the next several weeks as we unfold our year end fundraising campaign we will release the videos one at a time. All five videos can’t cover everything, but we think they do a great job of giving you an in-depth look at what we are doing, the people we have come to love, and the community we serve.

This year our fundraising campaign is looking to the future. As most of you are aware, we currently run all of our projects and programs out of rented space and buildings. Though our landlords have been very gracious, it is clear that in the long run this will not work. As we build an active presence in the community, we have people constantly in and out of Paradise Village where we live: teams playing soccer, people here for the clinic and other ongoing activities that bring people in and out. This year we are working to raise $200,000.00 toward a land purchase and buildings to facilitate our programs in the community. As you watch these videos and get updates over the next several weeks please pray and think about what you can do to help us reach our $200,000 fundraising goal and support us as we work to protect children, preserve families, and promote independence.

If you want to help us reach our goal simply click on the red donate button above and choose “Land & Building Fund” where you can choose to apply your donation.

“Teach a Person to Fish”…or Farm

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The Hope Community Project is committed to promoting independence among the Haitian community where we work and minister. With just a little jumpstart help, Haitian women and men are as capable as anyone else in working and producing income for themselves and thus be on a path to economic independence and hope for a better future. One path is the egg business. Egg production on a small scale is one of the oldest animal farming enterprises in recorded human history. Read on for an update from Holden, our Economic Development Coordinator in Gonaives as he gives an update on our egg cooperative. From Holden…

This fall has flown by and October has been no different. Its crazy to think that in two short weeks, my mother and sister will make their way to Haiti for the first time, and in just six weeks I’ll be coming home for Christmas, rounding the corner towards my first full year in Haiti. The months seem to go so fast here in my opinion, because of the weather. Reading this, you can walk outside and tell its cooling off and the holidays are right around the corner. However, Haiti is an endless summer, and cooling off for us is a slight breeze taking the temperature from 90 to 86. It doesn’t feel like fall here and it certainly doesn’t feel like winter is approaching, so it is hard to imagine October has come and gone and the end of the year is almost upon us.

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Our American Halloween Party in Gonaives

With that being said, its been over nine months since I moved, so its difficult to not make all these emails sound the same. The redundancy of my updates reflect my life here. Most days are not that exciting and very routined. However, it is this daily repetition that has made our cooperative successful. Let me try to illustrate what I mean…

Imagine your life with no concept of forward financial planning of any kind. A life without saving or investing. Any income you may receive is not carefully considered and set aside for certain things and all money is spent impulsively on what is needed only today.

This is the reality of Haiti.

Here, there are no concepts of financial planning. We learn the notion of setting aside some money for a future purchase as children. It is rare, however, for a Haitian to know and practice this idea directly. So, how do we implement forward financial thinking while fighting generations of poor financial management?

Endless repetition.

Every week when our farmers are paid, they first put their money away for business expenses. They then invest money as a group for expansion and innovation. Only the remaining amount is taken home as a wage. We do it this way so that our farmers can physically put their money away for future use. They never skip a week, they never skip an expense.

It can be painful. Some weeks are unfruitful, and after expenses and investments are paid for, there is little left to take home. It is hard to watch people I work with and love have a bad week and take home less than expected. It would be easy for me to say that I will pay for the expenses and that all the money made can be taken home, but I cannot. These are lessons that must be learned, even the hard way. Lasting, sustainable change means that these Haitians learn financial concepts, and that Americans do not always come running to bail them out. As I told John Keene on his visit a few weeks ago, we would rather change three families lives for 100 years than 100 families lives for only the three years I am here.

Its not easy, but it works. Bad weeks are hard on us emotionally, but we press on and look forward. Expansion is slow, but our farmers are learning, investing, and saving and the fruit of their efforts will one day be rewarded. It is long, slow, and sometimes frustrating work on my end, but we are learning and getting smarter and working more efficiently than ever. It’s hard work, but the average take home wage is moving closer to $50 a month.

This month…

We came to agreements with the largest grocery store in Gonaives to carry our eggs.

We achieved 100% of our eggs being sold on a pre-ordered basis meaning our eggs are in high demand and options for expansion are beginning to be seriously considered.

The Gonaives egg market is separated between a lower quality import and a higher quality local egg. Our cooperative now dominates the latter.

The desk in our new office

The desk in our new office

Our farmers officially named the business “Espwa nan tet Ansanm”. This means “hope together” or more literally “hope in cooperation”. While they understand they could not accomplish these great things without each other, I recognize none of this would be possible without you. Your prayers, emails, facebook posts, texts, and thoughts mean more than you know. Even the smallest donations are invaluable, giving an opportunity at an income in a way that will impact these families forever.

So thank you. Another successful month in the books.

-Holden

 

 


Watch for it… Who Are We? Playing everywhere #November22
#GivingTuesday #ProtectingChildren #PreservingFamilies #PromotingIndependence