In April 2009 OfC obtained a plot of agricultural land in the village of Bellabe in order to support our educational programs, including an Agricultural Demonstration Center (ADC). Although the ADC has not been a primary focus (with only pigeon peas planted), future uses of this land include researching and testing alternative methods for maintaining soil health; and identifying and testing alternative crops than have traditionally been raised in this village, ultimately to enhance the nutritional value and yield of crops raised in this area.
A small house was built in 2009, with a bathroom and running water. A well was also dug. Over time a second floor has been added, a second bathroom (outhouse with running water) has been built and improvements to the well have been completed (cement apron and metal door). In June 2010 classrooms were constructed with metal doors. These have been used as classrooms, dormitory-style accommodations, and kitchen.
The Institution Miscte Maranatha was begun in 1998 by Headmaster Amos Filius in the Simon neighborhood of Les Cayes. The school allows Restavek children to attend class in the afternoons, after the regular school day.
OfC’s initial introduction and discussions began in the fall of 2008. Timothe Indrik deliver OfC’s first contribution of $200 in February 2009, enabling a new teacher to be hired for the remaining school year and allowing the 3rd & 4th grade to be split into 2 classes. In June 2009 the kitchen was renovated and proprane was introduced. In 2011, 200 Haitian students were served in summer school (Lekol Dete).
OfC is currently supporting 2 teachers (sewing and music) $50 for each teacher/month.
If you are interested in learning more about sponsoring some portion of this effort, please contact us!
Restavek children are indentured servants, children without parents or abandoned by their parents who are allowed to stay with other families in exchange for labor such as cooking, cleaning and childcare. See: Restavek
OfC’s home in Haiti is a beautiful village of about 250 residents who have accepted us as honorary citizens. Every time we return we are welcomed as friends. The children especially love to be with our younger students. We employ a young man from the village as our property manager. It is our priority to establish and invest in a sustained relationship with this community so they see us as dependable partners and for our students to be welcomed. We have also helped to facilitate stronger relationships between the villagers and the new rice mill.
In January 2010, the Bellabe Development Committee of the Village Council welcomed the OfC faculty/students/participants to Bellabe and in Feburary the Surprise de Bellabe soccer team was formed.
In June the first Micro-credit/loan program was established – all loans have been repaid.
o Project Omega: Basket-weaver
o Kafé Roseline: Coffee roaster
OfC provided a microloan to Roseline to start a coffee-roasting business. Haitians love coffee, traditionally prepared over a charcoal or wood-fire and in the final stages mixed with a small amount of sugar to enhance the flavor. Roseline needed money to invest in tools (pots, scale, grinder, bags), obtain the raw beans and fuel, and pay for transportation to/from the markets where she buys raw beans and sells the finished coffee.
o Bellabe Cement Blocks Program
OfC is currently supporting the ODB and Village Council so that all Bellabe village children can attend school – 100% were enrolled for 2011-2012 school year. Most families will not be able to repay with money, but will instead commit to some kind of repayment plan – which could be to OfC’s property (planting crops, trees or building a fence, making repairs, etc.) or to the community.
In June 2010 OfC made a commitment to help the Lafresilière Community School get back on its feet. Construction of the school was started in 2000 by Maitre Jean, but never has been finished. Enrollment dwindled to just over 50 students due to the extreme poverty of this community, as tuition ($1 per child per month) is too expensive for most families. In return for OfC’s support of the school, the community is involved in maintaining the building and grounds. During the 2010-2011 school year, OfC sponsored all teachers and covered their salary ($4,000). Enrollment grew to over 120 students and every grade has its own teacher. We built and provided blackboards to replace the crumbling particle board shared by multiple classes and built a latrine (the school had no toilet facilities). We have continued to support school building construction. Walls and floors have been completed – each grade now has it’s own room – and a door was installed making it possible for the school to participate in a free-food program.