Convoy of Hope reached out to us earlier this summer with a request for 25,000 menstrual kits for distribution in Haiti – 12,500 kits produced by the Haiti Days for Girls enterprise and an equal amount sewn by the Dominican Republic enterprise. That is four times the amount that we have produced thus far in our journey. And they wanted the order completed by July 2022! The Haitian seamstresses were eager to start, however, the limiting factor was a dependable supply chain of materials to construct the kits. Up to this point we have been sourcing our materials in the US and shipping them to Haiti. That is not practical for this size of an order.
Ellen Schreder, our tireless advocate for the sewing program, connected with the Days for Girls program in the Dominican Republic and was able to resource some of the materials that are needed just across the Haitian border. Our Haitian operations manager, Sendy, has made frequent trips to the markets in Cap Haitian and was able to find a reliable source of brightly colored cotton. The owner of the store couldn’t believe his good fortune when she bought all the fabric he had in stock and placed an order for future delivery.
This order will supply steady work for our Haitian seamstresses for almost a year with a livable wage. Due to sharp increases in gas and food prices in Haiti, a life that had already been a struggle has now become even more desperate. Our hope is that this large order will increase our visibility with other aide groups, leading to future work for the Helping Haiti Work seamstresses.
While our operations on the north side of the island, near Cap Haitian, were not affected by the recent earthquake on the Haitian peninsula or Tropical Storm Grace, many of our partners have contributed to the relief efforts while also benefitting area businesses by purchasing donated supplies in Cap Haitian. Second Mile Haiti is working with Mission Flight International to get needed supplies to the hardest hit areas. Helping Haiti Work made a donation of $1000 to Second Mile for the purchase of medical supplies. Following our donation we received a thank you from Jenn Schenk, the co-founder of Second Mild.
“Thank you for your donation. On Sunday, I bought tarps and tents for around $1000. I was a bit worried because we hadn’t raised those funds yet but then your donation came in! I couldn’t believe the timing. Thank you.”
If you choose to donate to the Haitian relief efforts, please find an agency that has been operating in Haiti for many years and will be resourcing as much as possible from Haitian businesses. Second Mile Haiti and Partners in Health are two organizations that we have worked with and fully support.
Due to the unstable political climate in Haiti over the past 2 years, we have had to put our microloan program on hold as it is very dangerous for our microloan recipients to carry cash when they repay their loans and even more dangerous for an organizer to carry large amounts of cash for a loan distribution. The Haitian people are still in desperate need of help so we have found another avenue to help them help themselves. Due to the generosity of Ellen Schroder and Gymps Sunel, land has been purchased and Haitians employed to build walls around the property as well as drill a well for irrigation. Seeds for vegetables are sitting in cold storage waiting for the next planting season this fall. Once the wall has been constructed, the land will be divided into plots and Haitians invited to apply for a site. We are working with a Haitian agronomist who will provide farming lessons to our participants. 80% of the farmers will be women, in keeping with our mission to empower and uplift the women of Haiti. We have created a separate fundraising page so that all proceeds raised for this effort will go directly to the farming initiative. Click on link below to see more pictures as well as donate.
This lush Haitian land will soon be turned into small farming plots so that Haitians are able to better feed their families and benefit from the sale of any extra produce. Due to the generous largesse of donors Ellen Schreder and Gymps Sunel, who purchased the land, and a grant from Rotary International (including local clubs), funds will be used to establish a well on the site that utilizes solar power to pump water and irrigate the fields. Bomgaars Seeds in Sioux City, Iowa has donated an ongoing supply of seeds as well as gardening tools. We are working with local Haitian agronomists to determine the best crops for the soil so that the Haitian farmers can be successful. In keeping with our mission to support women, Helping Haiti Work will require that 80% of these Haitian farmers be women.
A donation to Helping Haiti Work this holiday season will allow us to continue to support the microfinance program and sewing center as well as provide additional funds for shipping all of the above equipment to Haiti.
Days for Girls recently sponsored a Refugee Project to distribute reusable menstrual kits in Afghanistan, Lebanon, South Sudan and Somalia. Our Plymouth DFG chapter was able to contribute 25 kits to the effort that have not already made their way to Haiti. While the need in Haiti remains enormous, we recognize that there are other parts of the world where women and girls can face even greater challenges as they navigate life in a refugee camp away from all that they have previously known. After a world-wide donation drive of only 3 months, over 33,000 kits will be distributed with the help of World Vision.
Helping Haiti Work is the grateful recipient of funds thru a second mile offering at Messiah Methodist church in Plymouth, MN. They have been faithful supporters of our mission to help others so they can help themselves and live their motto of “being the hands and feet of Jesus”. Thank you for creating this lovely video to share our story.
Join us for a fun evening, and 100% of your support will go to our programs in Haiti! Listen to the 11-member band, Morpheus, perform hits from some of music’s greatest classic rock bands–Blood, Sweat & Tears, Steppenwolf, Santana, Chicago, The Eagles, The Doors and more!
Friday, May 3rd, 2019 at 7:30 PM, Doors open at 7PM West Medicine Lake Community Club, 1705 Forestview Lane N, Plymouth, MN 55441
2019 is year 5 of our organization and brings changes to both our microfinance loans as well as to our sewing program.
Ellen Schreder, a partner in our sewing centers, has worked diligently over the past few years to acquire a Rotary loan to upgrade the spaces where our seamstresses work. Each space, both in Ranquitte and Limbe, are being outfitted with solar panels to power the sewing machines, new tables and chairs and industrial grade sewing machines that will require less maintenance. We are also establishing a space in Cap Haitian that can serve as a distribution and teaching center.
Inflation has become an ever increasing problem in Haiti with devaluation of the goude in comparison to the American dollar. Many stores that sell foodstuffs are closing as they are unable to afford inventory. As most of our microfinance loan recipients buy items in bulk and then resell them in the local market, this has affected them dramatically. We have seen a marked reduction in the repayment rate and have had to write off many loans. We are planning on initiating new loans in a new community and are researching what amount of money is the equivalent of our initial $200 loans. Although this will decrease the total number of loans that we are able to fund, we are optimistic that the recipients will be more successful in their businesses.
We have recently trained Fritznel, our in-country coordinator of activities, in the Ambassador of Men’s Health curriculum. He was asked to provide this education to a group of middle school boys in Port au Prince at the Healing Haiti site. Using diagrams and models, he taught these boys about their own bodies and how best to care for themselves and also about women and their menstrual cycles. The education was well received by both the young men and their parents. In the future, this education will be offered in addition to our Ambassador of Women’s Health Program.