From the moment I first stepped off a plane in Haiti in January 2011 my heart was captured by the plight of the Haitian people – especially her children, the future of this tiny, impoverished nation.
This is my story about the country and the people of Haiti and how they have turned my life completely upside down.
Some of the hard realities about Haiti that impact my journey:
Haiti is home to 11.4 million people. In comparison, the country of Haiti is equal in size to the state of Massachusetts with a population of 6.893 million
67% of the Haitian population goes without food some days
The average per capita income in Haiti is $1250 a year, compared to $34,103 in the United States
A typical worker in Haiti makes only $3.75 a day. And about 50% of the population have jobs.
Worldwide 38,000 children age out of orphanages every day, unprepared with basic life skills.
45% of the total population in Haiti is made up of children and teens living on the street.
Those brought up in orphanages are 10 X more likely to fall into sex work than their peers, 40 X more likely to have criminal records, and 500 X more likely to take their own life.
In 2015, Dawn Barbour, Nicole Beal, and I launched YES! to address one of the greatest needs in Haiti - young adults aging out of orphanages. In 2020 we expanded the efforts of the organization by establishing a VBS/Feeding Program. YES! is helping keep families stay together by providing nutritious meals to young children who otherwise would have only a few meals a week. At least 80% of all children living in an orphanage have one or two living parents who want them, but do not have the finances to provide them food or meet their needs. YES! helps teens in Haiti transition out of the orphanage system and help end the risk of orphans turning to crime, destitution, prostitution, and suicide by equipping them with formal education, practical life skills, learning a trade, and taking a meaningful role in their community.
In response to the call of God upon my life, I said YES! to my calling and the mission of YES! And along the way, I also found my husband in Haiti. Now we team together to follow God’s calling on our lives to bring change, hope, and love to the people of Haiti.