Over the years we have been in Haiti, we have come to realize that MANY children in orphanages (including Life is Wealth) have at least one living relative/parent who would love to have that child at home. Most feel the orphanage is their only way to care for their child. We have also seen first-hand how these institutions harm both the family and the child. So, we have started orphan prevention seminars at the Center in Carrefour, but we have also committed to get each of the children from Life is Wealth back to their family and/or into foster care if at all possible. A child is ALWAYS better off in a family environment than in an institutionalized one.
Currently we have been working alongside families of children who have been reunited by Haitian Social Services (IBESR). We provide education since this is the largest expense for the family. The children (and their caregivers) must sign a contract and maintain a certain grade level to remain in our program, but if they do so, we pay tuition/books/uniform/other needed items. We also try to work with the family and find ways TOGETHER to provide income for them. This is extremely difficult and we are learning to be quite creative with our ideas. But, at least the family doesn't have the burden/expense of education, the child (usually girls) receives an education and is taught accountability, and the family unit is preserved.
This program is not fully funded yet. Please see our "donate" page for more information, but you can sponsor the program monthly and/or give a one-time donation to help with expenses (tuition, school supplies, books, support for foster families, ...)
(read more in the story below.... )
You have read about the children that were part of a trafficking ring in an orphanage in Port au Prince (if not, read the page about Life is Wealth Orphanage on this website). Well, some of those original girls that were part of that whole situation were reunited a few years ago with their families. We, as an organization, made it part of our mission to come alongside those families & former orphans and have been able to keep in touch with them for 6 years now. Our goal was to insure that the girls finished their education (they all completed 6th grade) and are given opportunities to learn skills that will help them be productive members of their communities and families. BUT, in keeping with our philosophy, they have their part to do too. They must prove to us that they are being responsible to continue to stay in the program.
There are two sisters (Darline & Mimose) and their cousin (Jesula). There are other children at home, but we are only committed for now to the ones rescued from the orphanage. All three now have children of their own to care for and two of them are now in the program.
The first year we were involved with these girls and their families, each family earned a goat. One was stolen but the other went on to produce more than 2 sets of offspring (2 kids each time) which gave the family some wealth. After that first year, the girls asked us to help them find a way to raise money and help their families with expenses. Together we came up with the idea of making friendship bracelets that we could sell to teams and others.We eventually sent them to a school where they learned new patterns. Here is a breakdown of how it works:
- Each girl must purchase materials from us that will be used for making bracelets
(we buy the string in the USA and charge them for whatever materials they use)
- The bracelets are made- different patterns and lengths.
- They are picked up and placed into inventory. A basic fee of about $1.00 US is paid for each bracelet that passes inspection.
- Once placed into inventory, the bracelets make their way either back to the base in Carrefour or to the USA where they are available by donation to interested people. Suggested donation is $5.00 each.
Every three months we visit the girls and pay them whatever profit they have made and pick up new bracelets to sell
(we first subtract the $1.00 we paid for the bracelet and then the cost of replacement string, then we divide the profit by 2)
So far the girls making bracelets have been able to buy chickens, clothing, a small/cheap cell phone & minutes, shoes, food for the family, seeds to plant corn, sugar cane to seed a field,...
NOTE: If YOU would be interested in receiving some bracelets to sell, contact us. We send bracelets to you on the honor system. You sell them and send back the money. This program has taught them a LOT about managing money, the value of things (ie: "How many bracelets do I need to sell to get ***?"), etc...
We call the program "Bracelets of Promise" because we have promised to help these girls.... truly help them to become as independent as possible. We have been incredibly impressed with the three who are making bracelets and are working hard for their own future.
Hearts United with Haiti
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