Pastor Gaétan Alcégaire, the director of Yahve Shamma Children’s Home in Pétionville, took in 14 orphans before the earthquake in Haiti. He and his wife knew it was the right thing to do. After 2010’s devastating earthquake took the lives of so many, including his brother and many members of his church, Pastor Gaetan found himself with 16 more orphans in his care. Since then, we’ve been able to help him build safe buildings to house the children and his family, and he has built a tent school that serves his 30 orphans as well as 120 vulnerable children from the surrounding community.
So as we near the completion of the Legacy Project to build a school for these children, we wanted to talk to Pastor Gaétan about this project and what it will mean to his community.
Pastor Gaétan, thank you for taking the time to talk with us about this project! Why do you feel education is so important?
Gaétan: First, I would like to thank you people for giving me this opportunity to say a few words.
Generally, in Haiti, school represents the only institution where education takes place. Take no offense, but as parents we do not always take the time or pay enough attention to our children because of all we have to do on a daily basis.
In other words, we are too busy working and trying to make a living to provide for our family. Of course, parents play a major role in the kids’ lives, but a good school is necessary to educate them, instill moral values, and make sure they have a bright future. A good school is necessary to expand the way they look at the world. And when we open their minds to new ideas and experiences, they will know what is wrong or right when they begin that long journey from the innocence of youth to the responsibilities of adulthood.
As a leader in my community, it is a privilege to participate in the development and education of these children.
What are the biggest challenges for the kids in the current condition of the school at Yahve Shamma?
Gaétan: The biggest challenge we are currently confronting at Yahve Shamma is the fact that we do not have enough room to accept children who do not have the possibility to go to school. It makes us very sad to know that some kids have the desire to learn and better themselves, but they are forced to stay at home because of financial problems. I feel like their creativity, passions and ambitions are being robbed from them. We want to be able to offer an adequate and well-balanced education to these children. This is our hope.
How long have you been praying for a school building, and why is it so important?
Gaétan: My family and I have been praying to find the means and proper resources to build a school for 4 years.
Our society is fading away when it comes to education. We want to fill the void and bridge the gap. We want to invest in the future generations that will one day replace us.
Do you see this building as something for the whole community?
Gaétan: Yes. We want this school to be a blessing and asset to our community. Here in Haiti, we consider education a living entity that will take over the future generation. This new school will, without a doubt, be an inheritance and legacy for this community for many generations to come.
What does this school mean to you as a leader and father to 30 orphans?
Gaétan: I consider this building as living proof that God responds when we pray in faith. This school allows us to say YES to the hopes of these children…to say YES to their dreams.
We will always praise the Lord for putting people like you in our lives. You are making a major impact on the lives of these children. Thank you all for allowing us to make this huge step forward in our ministry, and a special thanks to the Help One Now team. We are very proud of you because you have made this possible.
Thank you Pastor Gaétan for the great work you are doing to transform your community in Haiti! You are an inspiration to many!
And if you are reading this, and would like to be a part of answering Pastor Gaétan’s prayers, then please consider supporting the Legacy Project.