Abolishing child trafficking within an entire community from the inside out.
Our community banking is exciting as it is giving our communities a way forward. In brief, each bank consists of 25 local individuals who pool their funds together for one year. Each bank participant makes funds available to the pool and those registered in the bank have the capacity to borrow those exact funds. Interest is charged at a rock bottom rate (for Haiti) but generally is responsible for creating about a 40% return annually. Our flagship bank managed and performed returns on greater than nine thousand US Dollars last year. As the individuals that lent the money to the pool for the year received a 30% return on the money they invested, they are encouraged and the demand for our community banks is high. All of our banks members are required to meet weekly and money is only discussed in two of the meetings. One of the other meetings is a discussion of an assigned principle like dependability or forgiveness and the other meeting is dedicated to community development. Their projects include things like road development, business development and reforestation.
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Education & Hunger
The local pastor has seen an influx of Haitian refugees, most of them single moms with many children. These mothers are struggling just to feed their children and have no way to purchase the uniforms needed for their children to attend school. The children were running the streets causing trouble and were at extreme risk for being trafficked. The pastor and his wife opened up their church to provide free education and a meal for these impoverished refugee children. There is a direct link to the decrease in child human trafficking by offering a free meal and an education to these children. (free meal brings them to the education) The single mothers have hope for a better life for their children and are less likely to give their children away in hopes that they have a better life elsewhere.
Adult literacy is a big problem in the refugee camp. Not having the ability to read and write very much limits the ability of those trying to get ahead in a new country. As a part of our education initiative in the Haitian refugee came we are reaching out to the adults in that community to offer literacy classes. The school during the day served the kids in the community and in the evenings it acts as an adult school. The progress is slow but very important to the progress and self esteem of the adults within the community.
The future of this initiative is the technology integration of a distance learning platform. This will allow us to tap into the resource of over seas teachers that speak Haitian and significantly increase the level of the instruction.
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Pay it Forward
Building Community Ties
Our attempt to build community through neighborly kindness and giving has had a most difficult time launching. Our first healthy ewe bore 3 sets twins in the first year and a half but because of our poor understanding and resources, our sheep continue to be attacked by wild dogs or are living poorly because of parasites. There has also been difficulty in just giving something away for nothing. We are seeking good animal husbandry training and coaching, but importantly this is affording our community leaders to solve problems specific to their conditions. This has sparked research and development locally and within the next month we will be gifting out our first healthy lamb and care training.
One of the contributing factors to child trafficking is that the women in the border regions are being taken advantage of by men for various reason. It’s complicated but we’ve looked at this factor and have come to a few conclusions: First and foremost, we need to empower the women so that they feel they have great worth and that they can take a stand and say “no”. Secondly, we need to create a revenue stream to help pull them out of poverty. The answer…trees. We are starting a tree planting women’s coalition. We have partnered with another organization that will pay the women a small sum of money for each surviving tree and then the trees will provide food for their families.
As the trees start to grow we will create a small processing facility where they can process the fruit for selling and though it’s a few years off we have already solidified a local purchaser that will buy the fruit from the women, creating a much larger revenue stream for these women.
The women will gather together often for agriculture training and life training. We also hope to see the building of community bonds among the women as we have seen in some of our other initiatives.