Archives For Haiti

In the seven years since Peter Greer and Phil Smith released The Poor Will Be Glad, HOPE has learned a lot about working with families in underserved communities to help them flourish. Peter and Phil have updated their book, retitled Created to Flourish, and we’d like to share these valuable learnings with you. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 4 about the power of jobs in fighting poverty.


When we engage in employment-based solutions, the benefits of employment extend to future generations. Outside a small office in Trou-du-Nord, Haiti, I saw several boys with homemade kites. Using a plastic bag, some string, and a few sticks, these three boys constructed kites capable of expertly navigating tangled power lines and two-story buildings. I could see other kids watching and learning from their example. Other children saw what was possible, and there grew a prestige factor in who could get his kite the highest.

In the same way, I’ve seen community members improve their lives, motivating other community members to action through their hard work. If my neighbors can pull their families out of poverty, why can’t I? Essentially, they are pushing the limits of what is possible, and from very little they are making kites that can fly higher and higher.

Employment decreases the need for never-ending support. Continue Reading…

On Tuesday, October 4, Hurricane Matthew slammed into the southwestern region of the country. According to the United Nations and CNN, the disaster has killed over 300 people and displaced some 350,000 people, leaving many Haitians to face the worst humanitarian crisis since the earthquake six years ago.

We praise God that our local staff are safe, but we know hundreds of thousands of Haitians will once again face the complete loss of their homes and livelihoods to a natural disaster. As Christ-followers, we want to be known for running to those who are hurting, vulnerable, and in need of help.

HOPE Haiti works with local church partners to serve over 6,000 active savings group members who benefit from training, fellowship, and discipleship that empowers them to provide for their families and communities. In this way, Haitian entrepreneurs not only access financial services like a safe place to save, they also build solidarity with one another and learn about God’s love.

We invite you to pray in the following ways:

  • Pray for southwest Haiti, including Miragoane, one of the areas where HOPE works. Pray for the relief efforts, particularly as the hurricane destroyed a bridge on the main road that goes West, cutting off access to aid for that area.
  • Pray for protection against outbreaks of diseases like cholera, which severely impacted the population after the 2010 earthquake.
  • Pray for the 200 savings group members who have been significantly affected. Pray for their safety and resilience in the face of any loss they may have experienced. Pray that the long-term development efforts of HOPE and other organizations would not be hampered.
  • Pray for the long-term recovery of the area. A major long-term concern is the complete loss of gardens in these areas, as food is already scarce.

We also invite you to consider how you can help bring immediate and much-needed assistance to Haitian families suffering in the wake of this hurricane. Two organizations with immediate disaster relief experience and a commitment to working with local churches are World Relief and Samaritan’s Purse.

Thank you for your prayers and support for the people of Haiti.

 

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by Luke Harbaugh, Church and Community Liaison

In just a few weeks, American schools will prepare to return from summer vacation. As a former public school teacher, I remember the anticipation of preparing to return to school.

In my two years of teaching in American public schools, I had many frustrations. There were the regular fights with the copier, the occasional disciplinary measures that needed to be handed out, the fear I experienced before my first parent-teacher conferences, and, of course, the hobgoblin of all new teachers: keeping law and order in a classroom full of middle schoolers. But even as I fought through the trials that all new teachers endure, one thought never crossed my mind: “What if I don’t get paid this week?”

Continue Reading…

haiti 4-edit

by Jess Bauer, California Development Intern

Last summer, I spent three months in Haiti learning about poverty in a hands-on and often heart-wrenching way. I listened to the stories of new friends and experienced the heartbreaking reality of material poverty.

One afternoon, I met an elderly man in Leveque, a village where families resettled after their homes were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. A relief agency had distributed blue tarps to Leveque after the earthquake to be used as a temporary shelter. The tarps were designed for only a few months of inhabitance—any longer and the extreme heat could cause eye damage. After living in his tarp home for five years, this man was completely blind.

Continue Reading…

Danius

Perhaps the Bible speaks so much about money not only because God cares how we spend it but also because of its undeniable effect on relationships. In Ouanaminthe, Haiti, where money is in relatively short supply, Danius Joseph shares how a $200 loan from HOPE’s partner Esperanza International revolutionized his business and gave him “the means to live in a community.”

For years, Danius had to carefully balance the funds to feed his wife and three children, aged 2-5, against the funds he would save to buy produce for resale on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays when a bustling market opened just across the Haitian border in the Dominican Republic. All too often, he found himself with too little to do either. “My children got used to going to bed hungry,” Danius says, and he frequently borrowed from neighbors to finance his small business. His requests for money were met with resentment by those who had little to spare, straining relationships, branding him a beggar, and placing Danius under the stress of having debts to settle at the end of each working day.

Danius wanted to give to his community, not take from it, so when he wasn’t working, he was volunteering. He taught Sunday school, joined the local church choir, and was introduced to Esperanza when he served as an instructor in a community-based literacy program they funded and initiated. Yet within his community, Danius’ pleas for money overshadowed his volunteerism. He wasn’t respected by others, and he says he couldn’t respect himself.

In January 2011, a $200 loan from Esperanza gave Danius a fresh start. He was already resourceful, entrepreneurial, and ambitious, and he knew his business well. With this lump sum, each trip to the border would be increasingly productive. He was accustomed to working with loans of only $25 that had to be repaid after just one day, so with six months and a much larger sum, Danius knew he could turn a profit. He also recognized the cost of idle time and now had the means to address it. With the market open only three days per week, Danius registered as a vendor for pre-paid cell phone credit, a popular product in his community, enabling him to work close to home and generate additional income when the market was closed.

Danius at his phone stand

When his community bank needed to elect a president, again Danius stepped up to serve. As president, he coordinates repayment meetings for his group and helps to teach and lead the meetings alongside his loan officer. Since his first loan, Danius has received additional loans of $250 and $300. Neighbors have noticed his wise money management and the ways in which his life has changed, and though they once looked down on him as a beggar, they now admire him as an insightful advisor.

When others seek advice, Danius is eager to share of Esperanza, where he received not only loans but also dignity and respect as well as biblically based training. He’s inspired others in Ouanaminthe to work hard and persevere in providing for their families. Heeding his counsel, so many community members wanted to join Esperanza that a second community bank was formed. Though Danius is not required to attend the meetings of this second bank, he faithfully takes part so that he can encourage these members as they pursue the path that has brought such transformation to his own life. He smiles confidently as he points to the bicycle he now rides to meetings, which he purchased with his profits.

When people see you riding on a bicycle, they know that you are going somewhere to do work … and that you are able to provide for your family.

HOPE’s initial expansion into Latin America came in 2005 when we entered into partnership with Esperanza International to work in the Dominican Republic. Building on the success of this model, HOPE and Esperanza joined forces to begin work in Haiti in 2006. Our Savings and Credit Associations in Peru are our newest program, bringing our country count to 16. Read on for a quick overview of our work in each Latin American country.

Dominican Republic

Background: According to a recent World Bank assessment, 43 percent of Dominicans live in poverty, despite a booming tourism industry; 16 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. Employment in the Dominican Republic has been unequally divided by gender in the past 20 years, with approximately 63 percent of men but only 29 percent of women employed. According to 2010 data, one in five employed Dominicans remains poor, and one in 20 lives in extreme poverty. Continue Reading…