Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
It is with grateful heart that I give God thanks for you. Your support of God’s children in Haiti has been life-giving. We have been God’s vessels bringing love, kindness and justice to the children belonging to the HMP effort since 2006.
In 2004, I traveled to Haiti for the first time to meet with the local leaders to discuss their vision for how they wanted to address the problem relating to the many children who were either homeless or on the brink of homelessness. I believed then as I believe now that the vision has to come from Haiti. When the vision comes from Haiti, there is a sense of ownership.
After I met with the local leaders, I went to a nearby church to meet many of the children who were living in the worst conditions at the time. After meeting with this group of children and youth, the community leaders took me to the Azile Communale. The Azile is a place that was built where the poorest of the poor, especially the elderly, would have a roof over their heads. It was there I felt God’s call to devote my time and resources to render back to God the gifts that God had bestowed on me.
In 2005, HMP was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Not long after, I traveled to Haiti to register HMP in the Department of Social Affairs. In October 2006, we started feeding the first group of children and youth. Then, we incorporated the education program. In 2009, we opened the SAES Home providing housing to children who desperately needed shelter. Then after the earthquake, we built the water treatment center providing clean drinking water to the program and the immediate neighborhood. We just completed building the Vocational School, “Sophie’s House.” Through the Vocational School, young people from the program and the community will hone much-needed skills to prepare them for employment.
After working in Haiti for the past 10 years, I know God has a plan for Haiti. My prayer remains that the leadership in Haiti will embrace God’s vision for all Haitians and implement God’s vision with purpose. My heart is full of gratitude to all who have given their time, talent and resources to support this project over the years. I give God thanks for all the churches, schools and organizations who have partnered with us. I believe this is what it means to respond to Micah’s challenge when he begs the question, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
On behalf of the children of Mirebalais and the entire HMP organization, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support. We are making a difference. Thank you and God bless you!
Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary
Over 125 people gathered at the Virginia Theological Seminary on April 23rd to celebrate the Haiti Micah Project’s 10th anniversary. Supporters from partnership churches and organizations throughout the Washington metropolitan area converged at the event while congratulatory messages came in from all over the country. HMP President, the Rev. Joseph M. Constant, recounted how a decade ago community leaders of Mirebalais, Haiti, crafted a vision of partnership with the United States to help the city’s street children who lacked reliable food, clothing, and education. Haiti Micah Project was founded here in the United States and in Haiti its partner organization is registered with the Haiti government under Solidarite et Action Pour Les Enfants de Sion (SAES –“Solidarity and Action for the Children of Zion”) as a Haitian non-governmental organization. Together our two non-profit organizations have accomplished great strides to serve some of the hemisphere’s poorest children. “We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord,” announced Father Joseph, quoting from a popular hymn. The partnership has established an orphanage, a feeding program that serves more than 500 children a day, support for education, and now a new vocational training facility.
We estimate approximately one million meals have been served over the 10 years of Haiti Micah Project
The 10th Anniversary was a festive occasion with musical entertainment provided by the St. Timothy’s Church in Washington, several individual performers, and the Taratibu Youth Association. The event also gave opportunity to acknowledge the faithful service of so many volunteers, especially Mrs. Karen Wires, a member of the HMP Board of Directors and long-time volunteer for HMP. Karen leads the Sponsor-a-Child Program and devotes hundreds of hours every year to the children of Mirebalais. “The Holy Spirit is working among us for all to see,” said Rev. Joseph M. Constant, as he commended Karen and the other volunteers.
We offer special thanks to the chair of the anniversary event, Dr. Ruth Quartey. We also thank Col. OssenD’Haiti and Dr. Dominique Charlot-Swilley who served as Masters of Ceremony. The benediction by HMP Board Member, Rev. Rudolph Stewart III, committed the group to carrying on Christ’s work through the two sister non-governmental organizations, SAES and HMP.
Thanks to the Program Participants!
Thanks to all who helped to make the 10th Anniversary Celebration a wonderful and festive occasion:
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church Youth Choir (Lloyd Cummings, director)
Taratibu Youth Association (traditional African dancing)
Mr. Ronnie Gladney (vocalist)
Mrs. Kelley McDonald (vocalist)
Ms. MarsylAllain (vocalist)
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church Chancel Choir (Lloyd Cummings, director)
Mr. Virgil C. McDonald (vocalist)
Rev. Hilary Stryker (vocalist)
Mrs. Peggy Edwards (vocalist)
Grace D’Haiti (cellist)
Benjamin D’Haiti (trumpeter)
Me and My House (Korcoran and Henriell Smith and children)
Father Constant Awarded for His Work at Haiti Micah Project
Congratulations to Father Constant, 2016 honoree at the International African and Caribbean Faith-Based Leadership Conference held at Howard University, Washington DC. His award was given in recognition of the work of Haiti Micah Project promoting economic development and empowering the Mirebalais community.
Crystal Green with Father Constant
Father Constant & Lady Sylvia Charles, wife of the Ambassador of Dominica, Hubert Charles.
This is a new monthly feature of the HMP newsletter. Eliphete Mahotiere, an HMP staff member, sends us an update from the children’s programs in Mirebalais. This month he writes to us about the Feeding Program in Mirebalais. He was asked questions by Ms. Helen Morgus, a parishioner at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley, Idaho. Ms. Morgus is the coordinator of the church outreach efforts to HMP.
Q: What time do the cooks start their work and how do they prepare?
A: The meals are made everyday, Monday through Friday. Usually the women who work in the kitchen start their work at about 6:00 am. First they always clean the kitchen before they start to cook — but the actual cooking is done outdoors. Once the kitchen is ready, they begin to prepare the food.
Q: Where do they get the wood, the water, the supplies?
A: They don’t use wood for cooking but coal. Madame Lemence Charite, our director, always buys the coal, rice, peas, and corn in the market. She buys everything wholesale. The women draw water from the well located next to the kitchen that was provided by the Haiti Micah Project.
Q: How has the drought affected the program?
A: There has been no effect from the drought.
Q: What is a typical day’s meal?
A: Rice, peas, beans, and meat sauce with meat. Water from the Haiti Micah Project well is also provided.
Q: How are the supplies brought to the kitchen?
A: They are often picked up using the Haiti Micah Project car.
Q: How often do they have to buy supplies?
A: Rice is bought in large quantities monthly in Port-au-Prince, the capital. Meat must be purchased every day because there is no refrigerator available. Other items are bought weekly.
Q: How long does it take to make the food?
A: Sometimes it takes six hours to make the food. It depends on what kind of food the cooks prepare. As you know we have over 500 children to feed everyday. It’s not child’s play, my friend. I will not hide that from you.
Q: How long does it take to feed everyone?
A: I can't tell you exactly how long it takes to feed everyone. Maybe, four hours.
Q: Do you ever run out of food?
A: No, even though the number of children varies from day-to-day we have never had to turn anyone away without food.
Q: What do you call the meal (in Kreyol)?
Q: What are the names of the women who do the cooking?
A: RATEAU Rosette, SAINTIL Louisana, IZARAC Rosemene. (Note: Haitians use their family name first)
Q: What did they do before they got this job?
A: RATEAU Rosette and IZARAC Rosemene sold food.
Q: What do they like about the work?
A: They like almost all things about the work. They feel good when they finish cooking and then after they feed over 500 children. Also, at the end of month they are happy when they are paid.
Q: What is most difficult?
A: The most difficult is working near the hot fire because the kitchen is uncomfortable anyway.
Q: What could be done to help with the difficult parts?
A: They don’t know what to say about that. You have to work with the difficult parts.
Q: What would they like us to know about them?
A: They would like you to know they depend on the supporters. The economic situation is hard in Haiti nowadays.
Q: What do the women hope for, for themselves?
A: They hope for themselves help to build a little house because they are in a rented house.
Q: Would they like us to mention them in our prayers? What would they ask us to pray?
A: They would like us to mention them in our prayers. They would like us to pray for Haiti in order that GOD bless everyone who lives on the earth.
Q: What would they like to know about us?
A: They would like to know if everything is going well for everyone and all the supporters and their families. Are they in good health?
Solar Energy Project Receives $5000 Grant
In April, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia made a $5000 Mustard Seed Grant for the HMP to develop solar energy for the newly built vocational center in Mirebalais. Mustard Seed grants are awarded to promote world mission work as well as other ministries. Five Episcopal Churches in the Washington, D.C. area joined together to request the Mustard Seed Grant. The applicant church was Trinity Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, headed by the Rev. Kim L. Coleman, Rector. Supporting churches were Immanuel Church-on the Hill, Alexandria; Grace Episcopal Church, Alexandria; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, King George; and St. John’s Episcopal Church, Beltsville, Maryland.
The building for the vocational training center is now completed (look for more news on that in the next newsletter). One crucial need for the center is reliable electricity. Electricity that currently exists on the public grid in Mirebalais is unreliable and frequently unavailable during the day. Given the abundance of sun in Haiti, HMP plans to use solar energy as the primary source of electricity for the center. Power is needed for lighting, fans, refrigeration, and small office equipment.
Total cost of the solar energy facilities is estimated at $22,500. Of that needed amount, $18,420 has already been raised by individuals, church donations, and the $5000 Mustard Seed grant. The remaining costs will be covered by the Haiti Micah Project.
The combined efforts of five churches made for a successful application for the Mustard Seed Grant, and such cooperative efforts may be a template for future projects. Our sincere thanks go to those churches for their steadfast support.
Want to Change the World? Sponsor a Child
A June 16, 2013 article on the website Christianity Today described efforts being taken at the University of San Francisco regarding the efficacy of sponsorship programs.
(Bruce Wydick, June 14, 2013). The research results demonstrated causal relations, not just positive correlations:
Sponsorship makes children 27% to 40% more likely to complete secondary school.
Sponsorships make children 50%-60% more likely to complete a university education.
Sponsored children are 14%-18%more likely to obtain a salaried job.
Sponsored children are 35 % more likely to obtain a white-collar job.
In countries where conditions are comparatively worse, the positive impact of sponsorships is greater.
In countries that favor boys, the impact of sponsorship on girls is greater and the converse is also true.
There is some evidence of a positive spillover effect to unsponsored siblings of a sponsored child.
There is some evidence that sponsored children are more likely to grow up to be both community leaders and church leaders.
The study also finds that programs that intervene with health needs, provide opportunities for school progress, and instill aspirations, character formation, and spiritual direction are those that successfully train people to give and give back.
The HMP Sponsor-a-Child program lets you help a child in so many ways. Consider a dollar a day sponsorship this year!