I vividly remember the moment, the first time I went to Drouin, Haiti — a small community roughly four hours north of Port-au-Prince. It’s flat, dusty, HOT, and the local water supply looks more like chocolate milk than cool clear water.
As we approached the school, I could see the body bags of the dead. This is the community from which cholera exploded in Haiti and sadly, many lost their lives. We got out of the car and immediately were greeted by the elders of the community. They told us their stories of suffering. This was a rice farming community, but once the earthquake struck in 2010, free rice had flooded Haiti from foreign countries.
No doubt, this was good for a short season, but eventually, these decisions led to unintended consequences. For Drouin farmers, they could no longer sell their rice; the market had all but deteriorated. As we made our way to the school, we met the principal, the teachers, and the children. Then, as we observed a teacher instruct his class, a sudden commotion caught our attention from the back of the room.
Thump… a desk crashed to the ground along with the body of a girl. She was roughly eight or nine years of age, and she had passed out in class.
We rushed over and my Haitian friends picked her up, gave her some water, and held her in their arms. They began to ask questions. With each question, my heart was slowly breaking.
“Sweetie, did you have anything to eat this morning?”
“What about last night?”
“Any food at all yesterday?”
“What about water?”
“I don’t want to die of cholera like my auntie. I’m scared to drink.”
We then learned this young girl had walked over a mile to school that morning on an empty stomach and a dehydrated body. It was her last statement that truly resonated with us however. With tears poured down her eyes, she said this: “I have to go to school. It’s my only hope.”
We later found out that her parents were feeding her and her siblings every other day, just to stretch their food to keep them alive. I had to walk away. I was so angry, so sad. Jean Alix, our Haitian leader joined me and asked a simple question.
“Chris, can we sponsor these kids? They have nothing.”
I replied, “Pastor, we only sponsors actual orphans; these kids have families.”
Jean Alix replied back, “Okay, in a few months they will all be orphans. We can build an orphanage and take care of them 24/7 as their parents will have no choice but to give them up, or they will die.”
My heart sank to the ground. I know God’s first priority is to keep families together and for us to help them care for themselves and give them dignity. We had to prevent these kids from becoming orphans. So, immediately, I said, “Yes — we will sponsor these kids.”
Each day, kids can now come to school, where they have access to clean water, a snack and a hot lunch. Our sponsorship program is community based, so no kids are left without care. All 300 of them are cared for at once, even those who do not yet have sponsors.
But, to care for them well and at a much deeper level, we need to get all of them sponsored. We have 100 sponsorships available — 100 opportunities to make a difference in a child’s life and see their communities transformed.
Will you consider sponsoring one of them? Will you help us prevent these kids from becoming orphaned? Will you help us keep these children with their family? Join us! We now want to build capacity into the community. We want to keep these families together, we want to give them dignity through job creation, good healthcare and access to education.
There are several amazing changes that these 100 sponsorships will bring to the Drouin community:
- We can add another snack for each child to improve their nutrition quality.
- We will invest heavier into the school, with better pay for teachers, leading to a better education, and we will provide additional supplies for all the students.
- We will expand the school facility.
- We can add a soccer pitch and a basketball court.
- The school leadership will be able to invest in helping the rice farmers with micro-loans and key supplies to get their businesses back on track.
- Most importantly, each child will also be prayed for by the sponsors.
Will you consider sponsoring one of them?