is a community development initiative of Help One Now – serves as home for 30 orphaned children in Pétionville, Haiti. Yahve Shamma Village is also a community hub, investing in future generations through education and development.
In January of 2010, a devastating earthquake shattered the nation of Haiti, destroying buildings, homes, families and lives. An estimated 250,000+ lives were lost during this tragedy and over 2.3 million people were left displaced. The capital city of Port au Prince, perhaps the most fragile city in the world, lay in ruins. This hit home for Pastor Gaétan Alcégaire, a minister, community leader and the director of Yahve Shamma Children’s Home in Pétionville. Gaétan lost his brother and many members of his church when the earth shook. However, this tragedy did not halt his desire and passion for his people and community. In fact, after the earthquake, Gaétan and his wife, who were already caring for 14 children, took in 16 more children, orphaned as a result the earthquake. With their home badly damaged, Gaétan and his wife housed the children under two tarps, the boys slept under one and the girls slept under the other, he and his wife slept in between to keep watch. During this time, Pastor Gaétan and Help One Now connected and a new friendship and partnership began.
Help One Now initially partnered with Yahve Shamma Children’s Home in 2010 through a Child Sponsorship Program geared toward meeting the needs of each and every child at the home. Through this sponsorship, the basic needs of food, clean water, and clothing were met for the children. Over the course of 3 years, funds were raised through Garage Sales for Orphans to build safe and secure bunk homes for the children, a clean water well, a playground, new bathroom facilities and more. With the burden of caring for basic needs and shelter met, Pastor Gaétan was able to dedicate his time and resources toward educating the children, as he viewed education as a powerful living entity that would transform the future generation. Gaétan immediately gathered all the supplies he could and constructed a five-room tent school in 2011. The school served not only the 30 orphans at Yahve Shamma, but also paved a way for over 150 vulnerable children within the surrounding community to have access to education. Such drive motivated Help One Now to initiate and launch its first Legacy Project Campaign in 2012 to build a larger permanent school at Yahve Shamma.
“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!” – Gaétan Alcégaire
In the fall of 2012, fundraising for our first Legacy Project began. With funds procured, building began early 2013, and by October, Williamson Adrien Academy (a two story, 14 classroom school house) officially opened. Where a tent-like structure of tarp and poles once stood, an impressive building now stands. Where volunteer teachers and 150 kids once met subject to the elements, over 400 students and 25 certified teachers now meet in a safe learning environment. The building is complete, but the story—the LEGACY—is just beginning. Over time, thousands of Haiti’s children will receive a good education at this school. Education today. Change tomorrow.
Rooted in deep friendship and partnership with local leader Gaétan Alcégaire, evident growth and development continues at Yahve Shamma Village and in the surrounding community. Every opportunity to advance in developing the local community is taken, as each project enables community member engagement through job creation and employment. Furthermore, over 400 kids from the community are currently enrolled at the school and the 30 orphans at Yahve Shamma are thriving in their everyday lives. New and improved dormitories are currently under construction for the 30 children. The new homes are more than just a temporary place of safety, but are ones that will last for generations to come. Investment in the success of the school will continue to ensure that the educational needs of the children and the community are being fulfilled. And Gaétan has even bigger dreams to continue to serve the needs of many more in his community and country!
Gaétan Alcégaire – Papi Gaet to his kids – is the leader of Yahve Shamma Children’s Home in Petiónville and the instigator of 2012’s audacious Legacy Project, the funding and subsequent construction of Williamson Adrien Academy. He has the biggest heart of anyone we know. Pastor Gaétan and his family provide 24/7 care to 30 orphans, and the Academy is currently giving a well-rounded education to 300 children from the surrounding community. We are currently partnering with Gaétan through the Yahve Shamma Child Sponsorship Program, and by empowering and resourcing the teachers of Williamson Adrien Academy. Pastor Gaétan has a vision to plant 12 churches and serve orphans throughout Haiti.
10.7 million (35.9% under the age of 15) (World Bank, 2015)
10,715 sq mi
Year of Independence:
430,000 (have lost one or both parents due to all causes)
Approximately 110,000 children (ages 0-17) orphaned due to AIDS. (UNAIDS, 2016)
Pop. Living In Poverty:
More than 6 million out of 10.4 million (59%) Haitians live under the national poverty line of US$ 2.42 per day and over 2.5 million (24%) live under the national extreme poverty line of US$1.23 per day.
Haiti’s adult literacy rate is 48.7%. Youth literacy rates are at 72.5%
Roughly 30% of children attending primary school will not make it to third grade; 60% will quit school before the sixth grade (Haiti Partners, 2016)
63 year life expectancy, Infant mortality: 55 per 1000 births, Estimated 130,000 people living with HIV. Only 55.2 percent of the population has access to an improved water source (The Water Project, 2016);
Estimated 150,000 – 500,000 children living in domestic servitude, or Restavek (subject to forced labor, beatings, sexual assault and other abuses)