A letter from HFAP’s founder and director:
Visiting Haiti on a mission trip in 2003 when I was just sixteen years old, I witnessed first hand the abject poverty of the people of Haiti. My heart broke over the injustices I witnessed: starving infants, battered mothers, widespread malnutrition and so much more. I returned home with a passion to make a change. From then on, my life was consumed with efforts to empower and show love to the people of Haiti.
In 2007, I founded Haiti Foundation Against Poverty and began its first programs: child sponsorships and feeding the elderly.
Even before I set foot in Haiti, I had dreams of opening an orphanage. After witnessing the desperate needs in Haiti, I thought the orphanage would be our first priority. But God had other plans. He began laying into my heart the need for education. Children living in the violent slum areas often had no means or opportunity to attend school. Without education their lives would be a vicious cycle of poverty and violence. In 2008, HFAP opened a Christian elementary school, “Les Bours School of Hope” near Cite Soleil, in Port-au-Prince. Currently over 200 students are enrolled, receiving a life changing education and learning about the love of Jesus.
Shortly after the school opened we realized we had a major obstacle in our way. Our students were so sick and miserable they could not pay attention to learn. They were itching with skin infections, their stomachs were full of worms, and their scalps and feet were growing fungus. In our five year plans for the school we had hoped to begin providing medical care, but it was evident we could not wait that long! The Lord quickly provided all that was needed to open a medical clinic within that first year. In 2009, HFAP opened a clinic located in Les Bours. The clinic now provides testing and medical care for all the students, and also has open clinic days for the Les Bours community. The health and strength of our students has drastically improved!
In 2010, my dream of caring for some of Haiti’s orphaned children came true. I moved to Haiti and opened an infant rescue mission called, HOPE House. HOPE House is a registered crèche that cares for wounded or severely malnourished children. We typically accept children from birth to three years old. Some of our children have been physically abused and even tortured and now find a safe haven in HOPE House. Several little girls have had intentional burns so deep their bones were exposed. Most of our little ones come to us with severe malnutrition. We have taken in our care several two year olds who only weighed twelve pounds. No matter how injured, battered, or starving they come, God provides us with the patience, love, and supplies we need to bring His precious children back to full health. (He uses our faithful donors to meet our children’s needs!) The majority of these children are able to return home to their biological families once they recover. In cases where they are orphaned, abandoned, or have no place to return, HOPE House children are adopted to Christian families within the United States and Canada.
Our heart is to empower, not provide, for the Haitian people. Simple distributions and donated goods will never bring a country, or a family, out of poverty. Education, skill training, job opportunities, and the teachings of Jesus will! In 2010, HFAP opened a women’s business development program, called Gift of Hope to work hand in hand with HOPE House. In order to return our HOPE House children to their families, something needs to change at home. Returning them to the dire situation that caused the malnutrition and infection they were suffering from, will only allow them to fall back into it. Gift of Hope provides struggling mothers with the skills and income they need to better care for their children. Entrance into Gift of Hope is available to all mothers who intend to raise their children after their child’s recovery at HOPE House.
From 2011-2013 our programs grew and expanded each year. After the earthquake we opened a second clinic in our adopted “tent city”, Cite Jeremie. We started a birth control program that has grown from 15 women to over 350 and counting! We began a lunch program at Les Bours School of Hope, because many of our students were going two or three days between meals. Since 2007, our child sponsorship program has grown from 17 sponsors to over 450!
As we took time to scrutinize and evaluate each program, we learned that the best long-term change we had made in people’s lives was by providing them with the opportunity of a job. A steady income is hard to come by in Haiti. Mothers and fathers alike plead with us to give them work. They want to work. They want to provide for their families. In 2014 we expanded Gift of Hope and opened a sewing program to provide more jobs for struggling mothers.
We now provide jobs and a steady income for sixty-three full time Haitian employees. Praise the Lord! We have plans to increase this number to one hundred in 2015!
And on a more personal note, while God was preparing and directing the work of HFAP, He was also stirring up something else in my heart – a love for Frentz Neptune. I met Frentz in 2008 while leading a mission team to our newly opened school. We began dating in 2009, and in July of 2010 we were married! I carry so much compassion and sympathy for the Haitian people, but I have not lived in their shoes. I grew up with all of my needs met and had a privileged childhood. Frentz on the other hand, serves his country with great empathy. He knows what is it like to watch your mother work so hard to feed her children a meal each day. He knows what it feels like to be hungry – truly hungry. He knows how incredibly important it is to receive an education, and how grateful the children are to their sponsors. His life is an example of the impact a sponsor can make sending a child to school! God has so beautifully equipped Frentz to minister among his people. Together we direct all of HFAP’s programs. In October of 2013 our first son was born. God continues to write our love story for each other and the beautiful country of Haiti.
To our donors:
We daily seek God’s direction for this ministry. His ministry. Without your faithful support, these programs would not exist. Your dollars provide life-changing jobs, feed orphaned children, and educate Haiti’s future world changers. And because of you, the love of Christ is being shared with more and more people everyday.
With love and gratitude,