Hearts United with Haiti
A photo of the outside of the Center in Carrefour
One of our goals from the beginning with our organization was to help nuclear families stay together. This is very difficult for many families in Haiti and many parents place children in orphanages simply because they feel they can not care for them. And, unfortunately, the fact is that financially it IS tough to care for your family in Haiti. So, after a few years of talking to parents (and others) about their greatest need, the common answer we heard was, "We need jobs!" We prayed about how God wanted us to respond to this societal need and He kept bringing up the idea of a Center where we could offer classes, job training, work on job creation, etc... We prayed about the opportunity and in the winter of 2015/16 He provided the perfect location- right next door to our mission base in Carrefour. He also provided the funding for the first year's rent (through a generous donor). So, we followed His lead and stepped out in faith to open this facility.
The Center serves as any community center in the USA- offering programs for those who live nearby. Currently, we offer adult educational classes such as English, literacy, computer, parenting, health/nutrition, first aid, etc.... Some of these classes are ongoing, and some are taught by those on short-term mission trips with our organization -for a few days at a time. We also offer community events such as movies, family fun days, etc... and recently started a YOUTH OUTREACH PROGRAM. We have two youth classes (each is 2 times/week)- one for English (ages 12-15) and one for computer (ages 8-11). The youth from our community and the mountain above the base come to class, get some instruction time, and then partake in a meal together and fellowship with our Haitian staff. Then, every other Saturday each class comes for 3 hours where they have time for fun (games/singing/etc.) as well as some organized instruction (Bible study, leadership, citizenship, environmental awareness, etc....) and then they finish with another meal together.
Though there is no longer a small business meeting in the Center, they used the facility to start their business- taking used/discarded water bags that would otherwise be burned or thrown on the streets as trash and turning them into beautiful, useful products such as tote bags, handbags, backpacks, etc... The name of the business is Arris-Desrosiers and teams can purchase their quality items when in Haiti or order from them. They outgrew the space we could provide because they currently have contracts with some very large organizations and employ over 40 people now! WOW! We are open to the prospect of having other small businesses using the location if/when God shows us some.
Finally, ALL that is done will has focus on Christ and pointing those who come to the Center to Him. We seek to do all with integrity and to model Christ-like principles in business and in how we treat all who come through our doors. We will also open the location for Bible study (we have a women's group who has asked to use it occasionally), but also will use teachable moments every chance we can to share His love with our neighbors.
If YOU have a skill you would like to share or a way to help our Haitian brothers/sisters grow we would love for you to contact us. We are always looking for new ideas and ways to educate, equip and empower those God sends our way!
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