The group I’ve been blessed to go with to Haiti is The Global Orphan Project. I cannot, in this post, adequately tell you all about this ministry. Please go to their website and read about them. They are based out of Kansas City, Missouri.
They started out as a ministry to orphans but then realized the need for orphan prevention. 80% of the children in Haiti orphanages are economical orphans – Their folks (usually just a mom) give them to an orphanage because they can’t afford to care for them.
Here are a few bullet-point facts:
- Haiti has no public schools – all are private. Some only cost a few dollars a month, but the students have to have a uniform.
- 70% of Haitians are unemployed.
- Another 15% only have a “job” by what they sell to each other on the street (water, bread, shoes, etc.)
- The average daily wage for someone with a job is $4.
- Haiti has no natural resources to export – everything is imported in.
- One working Haitian is usually taking care of at least 6 – 8 family members.
GO Project is working in countries around the world to not only help its orphans but also to partner with businesses to create living wage jobs so that these women and men can keep their children at home with them.
GO Project is also working here in the U.S. to involve willing churches in helping meet the physical needs of our foster care system. For more information, look on their website for “Care Portal“.
GO Project is careful to define their trips as Vision trips, not missions trips. As I’ve thought of that one word difference, I’ve grown to appreciate their thought into that.
A vision trip is to help me, the visitor, to see first hand the work and ministry in that country. It provides me with opportunities to meet and play with the children. A vision trip also show me the need to get involved and ways to support orphan prevention.
I’ve started to become more aware of FAIR TRADE businesses. Purchasing from these companies provide jobs that pay a living wage. GO doesn’t allow any handouts. It’s all about supporting the people in a dignified manner.
GO has a tech school in Haiti called the Transition Academy. This is a 2 year program for orphans who are 18 and age out of the orphanages. At the Transition Academy, the students can learn diesel mechanics, industrial sewing, cooking, and farming. They are also trained in Bible, business, and English and French. After two years, the graduates can support themselves and their families. Some even get jobs with business GO is a part of.
A Vision trip shows you the big picture while also getting you into the orphan villages to be with the children, and they will steal your heart!
Next blog post will be all about the kids – I promise!
A few fair-trade companies you might be interested in for your Christmas shopping are:
- GOEX.org – Global Orphans website for selling items made around the world
- TradesOfHope.com – Great home party type company that sells jewelry, bags, scarves and home decorative items. (I’ve visited one of the business in Haiti, Papillion, where they make some of the jewelry – this is a very legitimate company.)
- Fair Trade Friday – How about joining a gift of the month club that can change lives?
- Vine Works – A large selection of unique gifts and items made from these wonderful people in third world countries.