When Help One Now first started, we only planned to sponsor orphans…
Children who had lost their parents and had no one to look after them.
Children in the worst case scenarios.
We knew we couldn’t help everyone…so this was going to be our focus.
On one of our early trips to Haiti, near the end of 2010, local leader Jean Alix Paul took us to Drouin, a rice farming community in central Haiti, where he had planted a church and started a school.
The children who we met were not orphans. They lived at home with their families who loved them. But these families were beginning to tear apart at the seams as extreme poverty was taking its toll.
You see, Drouin, Haiti was brought to its knees after the 2010 earthquake…not because the ground shook, but because all the local markets were flooded with free rice.
Aid rice from the US. Good intentions? Perhaps. But “helping” can hurt when not coupled with humility, wisdom, cooperation and partnership.
This subsidized rice (which started long before the earthquake, and continues to flood the markets today) has put farmers out of business all over Haiti.
Why not invest in local farmers rather than plow them into the ground? It would be cheaper and far more effective…but that’s another story.
Back to the school in Drouin…
These kids were very undernourished. They had a hard time concentrating in school because they were just barely surviving. In fact, one little girl passed out in class while we were there…she couldn’t remember the last time she ate. Most of these families–loving families–were only eating one meal every other day. We told Jean Alix that we couldn’t sponsor these kids because they weren’t orphans (thankfully we’ve learned a lot since then!)…they still had families to care for them. Jean Alix wisely responded, “then we can come back next year. By then, they will be orphans and you can sponsor them.” We immediately started a vulnerable child sponsorship program in Drouin, Haiti.
Today…there are over 250 kids attending the school in Drouin, and every one of them, including the staff, receive a hot meal every day. In fact, because of sponsorship funds, our local leader is able to buy rice for the meals from local farmers, doubling the positive impact on the community! And he has been saving a little each month to build a preschool so they can start educating and serving children as young as 3 years old.
It’s a long process, but the community is improving. Families have a chance to stay together. They don’t have to make the impossible and unjust decision of which children they can afford to keep. And in time, as health and education permeate this younger generation, change and progress will come from within rather than without.
Sponsor a child today and help an entire community!