If you have been following us on Facebook, then you may have noticed a few references to our new 2013 Legacy Project – Backpacks of Hope. Every year, Help One Now does one large project to support education in one or more of the communities in which we work. Last year, we built a school for a community in Port-au-Prince that now serves close to 400 students.

This year, we are going to … well, we’ll let the anticipation build just a few more days.

In the meantime, I wanted to reintroduce you to three of the six leaders behind our upcoming Project, Backpacks of Hope. Our three Haitian leaders: Jean-Alix Paul, Gaétan Alcégaire, and Jean St. Cyr.

Jean-Alix Paul

Jean-Alix Paul is the president of Esprit de Verite, an organization that has started 10 churches, 4 schools, and 3 children’s homes, including Ferrier Village. He passionately believes (as do all of our leaders) that there are two things that are needed to break the cycle of poverty in Haiti: 1) people must come to know Jesus and 2) children – and adults – must have a good, solid education.
“The Gospel is less than 200 years old in Haiti. The culture of the country is rooted in corruption. ‘Degage pa peche’–which means, “even though you do something wrong, it is not sin.” People do not understand ethics. Everything, or anything, is acceptable in Haiti. But there is another saying in Haiti, ‘Timoun jodi, granmoun demen,’ which means, “children today, adults tomorrow.” So, if we are willing to invest in children today, we can break the cycle–the culture–tomorrow. We know that Jesus Christ and Education can transform the next generation. I am living proof of this. With God in my life and a good education, God transformed me to be a blessing. I am no longer part of the problem, but God is using me to help solve some of the problems in my country.”

Gaétan Alcégaire

Gaétan Alcégaire – Papi Gaet to his kids – is the leader of Yahve Shamma Children’s Home and the instigator of 2012’s audacious Legacy Project, the funding and subsequent construction of Williamson Adrien Academy. He and his family provide 24/7 care to 30 orphans, and the Academy is currently giving a well-rounded education to over 300 children from the surrounding community.
“A good school is necessary to educate children, 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. 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. Without education, their creativity, passions and ambitions are robbed from them. We will offer an adequate and well-balanced education to these children. This is our hope.”

Jean St. Cyr

Jean St. Cyr is the pastor of Eglise Baptiste Compasion de Christ and the headmaster of Aclaprotech Academy. Both were birthed out of JP1, a tent city that at one time held over 60,000 people that had been displaced by the earthquake.

“This great country will begin to heal, progress, change and grow with a strong foundation based in education. The lack of it is holding us back. We know that if we start with our school, we can make a positive impact on our community. If we can help change our community, we could help change our city. And if we can help our city, then we can help our entire country. I believe there are people who feel as I do, who believe as I believe. I feel there are people, just like me, who can no longer stand seeing the suffering that has ravaged this country for lack of knowledge. We can no longer sit and stare at the situation. If we can come together to begin solving this problem, then we will create a brighter tomorrow for the children of Haiti.”

Please join us in spreading the word of the 2013 Legacy Project, Backpacks of Hope. Share this link to sign up, and help us encourage others to support the Project. It is going to be amazing to once again help these great leaders bring lasting change to Haiti, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe!