The Hope Community Project sometimes suffers a bit of an identity crisis. That’s understandable. After all, when we started seven plus years ago as Haiti Orphan Project we were all about building an orphanage, a school, and seeking to care for children in orphanages.
But that all changed a few years ago as we learned more about the “orphanage” situation in Haiti. When we discovered that upwards of 75% (on average) of the children living in orphanages in Haiti actually have at least one living parent, we were moved to change our focus.
You may know, or maybe not, that the main reasons that these children with living parents end up in institutionalized settings are economic reasons. The often single parent simply cannot afford to feed all of her children, let alone send them to school. On top of that, persistent health issues have terrible effects on the families. So, out of love and with great reluctance, some of her children will be handed over to a nearby orphanage where the parent believes that at least her child(ren) will get a couple of meals each day, get to go to school, and a doctor or nurse will come by periodically to check the children. The family becomes separated.
For this reason, we changed our focus from orphan care to orphan prevention, striving in all we do to keep families together by addressing the problems and circumstances that lead to mothers deciding the best for her children is institutional care
What do we do to keep families together? We provide education sponsorships, medical and dental care through our HOPE clinic, and economic opportunities where families can move towards self reliance.
Over the next few weeks we will link to some short videos we had produced. These videos will tell our story. Really, they will tell the story of wonderful Haitian families working by God’s grace to care for their families and keep them together. We hope you are moved. Moved to join with us in supporting keeping families together.
Today we start with an overview of Hope Community Project. Click HERE if you want to become a monthly partner helping Haitian children stay with their families.
As our cooperative project approaches one year of business, we, at Hope Community Project, have shifted focus to the expansion of existing farms, as well as extension to other members of the community. The cooperative has made a significant impact on the families involved, but our prayer for the future is for this business to have an influence on the greater community.
Partnering with the cooperative, we were able to purchase an incubator system to help our farmers expand their flocks and grow their businesses. These incubators have the ability to hold 84 eggs, making bird renewal quick and efficient. Raising birds with a shared incubator saves farmers 30% on each chicken as compared to buying mature chickens. By the end of the year, this incubator system will allow the co-op to expand and provide a steady and sustained process for renewing each farmers chickens as their chickens grow past laying age.
As part of our continuing efforts to support these family farms, we have encouraged opportunities for children in the families to learn and work alongside their parents. We invite particularly the young men in the families to be a part of the daily responsibilities of the farm, and to learn the business functions of the cooperative.
Andre’s son, Deroudson, Mathenise’s son, Bedjelson, and Madam Poulin’s grandson, Saggy have all taken advantage of this opportunity to work and learn. Each afternoon these boys care for the chickens, and right now are learning about the incubation process. Because these boys are receiving an education as part of Hope Community Project’s school sponsorship program, these young men have even taken on the bookkeeping responsibilities, as this is one of the big challenges for their less educated parents.
Hope Community Project believes investing in the children of our community is extremely important. For our cooperative, investing in these young men is an investment in the business’ future. The ability to learn a trade here in Haiti is invaluable. The opportunity for these children to be directly involved in successful work positively affects their outlook on the future.
It is an exciting time to be involved with the work Hope Community Project is doing. The ministry is thriving and looking to spread support across an entire community. We look forward to big things this fall from the farmers in our community, and are eager to share their ongoing successes with you.
Holden Meyers narrates this short video update where you can see the co-op in action. Thanks to Brandan Haskell for producing the video. Enjoy!
Hope Community Project has been working and ministering in Haiti for over seven years now. Of the many blessings we have received while there, none stands out more than the relationships we have formed with local Haitian people. Periodically we want to highlight some of those wonderful people we have met and continue to work with in some way.
Julie Brouwer writes of Mary Loude,
Mary Loude works with us and really makes sure everything around the house gets done. Trust us when we say, we would not be able to function without her. She makes sure we are well fed by cooking three meals a week for us. She washes our laundry twice a week, which is no small task considering there are nine of us. She cleans the house and goes to the market every week to buy food. She is married to Mathias who works at Paradise Village. You can almost always find her singing or cutting up with Modeline or one of us while she cooks. She is quite the funny character and we truly value her willingness to serve us week in and week out.
If you have been on one of our trips to Haiti and experienced what everyday life is like and how difficult it often can be, then you know how valuable and vital Mary Loud is for us. Our US folks living there work long days and often 6 plus days each week. Mary Loude serves and does so with great joy.
Your tax-deductible donations help us to serve along side Mary Loude as we together serve her community, helping children get to go to school, providing much needed medical care at a nominal cost to Haitians, and as with Mary Loude, helping Haitians find meaningful work so they can more and more provide for their own needs. All this so moms and dads can keep their children with them.
Please consider an ongoing donation or a one time donation to help us continue to serve the people of Gonaives.
And if you are in the St. Louis area, sign up to play in or sponsor our annual KeanyShack golf tourney fundraiser. Lots of fun and for our great cause.