Haiti is a country near and dear to my heart. Shortly after the earthquake in 2010 I traveled to Haiti with Partners in Health to see what we could do to help in the aftermath. Our church donated to the relief effort and a small group of us toured the country looking for a project where we could make a lasting impact.
Since then I have returned several times, often with Partners in Health, also as the chaperone for high school mission trips. I’m often asked if I have advice for parents who want to send their kids on mission trips. We have partnered with many organizations, one that allows individuals to sign up for a trip is Foundations for Peace – link to application. I think their model of continuing to work in the same community is fabulous and they ran great safe trips. They were however very fundamentally Christian and that may or may not work with your personality.
Currently I am launching a 501(c)3 titled “Educating Haiti” for the express purpose of constructing a new school in the town of St. Marc. This town sits near the Artibonite river, the epicenter of the cholera outbreak. The school we are building is for the children who attend L’ecole de Perfection. Currently they hold classes in a ramshackle building without electricity or facilities. The children literally walk uphill a mile, yet they turn out some of the best test scores in the country.
This fall I will be hosting a fundraiser for the school and auctioning off the chance to travel to Haiti with me and stay at the brand new Marriott Port-au-Prince and visit the children of L’ecole de Perfection.
Here are a few photos from recent trips:
Children posing in the window of the school
We quite literally had to repair the road to the school so that we could drive a pick up to the entrance – the children walk.
Inside a classroom.
The first time I saw a pair of Toms in Haiti I almost cried – I can’t explain why it touched me so much that they really do give a pair when you buy a pair.
A mom at school-the day we visited the parents were there to receive the children’s test scores.
Looking for inspiration? We were originally introduced to Partners in Health through the extraordinary book about Dr. Paul Farmer Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It’s a non-fiction novel chronicling Dr. Farmer’s mission to transform healthcare, he started in Haiti and now the organization works globally.
Paul’s most recent book To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation is a must read for anyone interested in making a difference. My children have been lucky enough to visit PIH sites in Rwanda and Haiti and to meet Paul Farmer.
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world.” ~ Paul Farmer
This is a video from my first trip to Haiti, much has changed since then, and much remains the same: