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In which we build a school today, and transform a community forever (updated!)

Haiti overwhelmed me.

I have had major turning points in my life a few times before this, of course, but Haiti will be my slow burn, an ongoing epiphany, I think, steadily working her way into my life.

In addition to all of the beauty, dignity, and goodness that I experienced, I was caught in the thicket of complexities, and systemic injustices, the importance of community development for long-term change instead of isolated aid (which can often hurt more than it helps, in the long run). There are no easy answers in a house-that-Jack-built-(and-then-crashed-in-an-earthquake) story.

But I fell in love, and now I’m tangled up in this story, too, and, well, now what? Once you know, once you’ve seen, once you’ve made a few friends, it’s hard to pretend that it’s not real anymore.

When I am overwhelmed, I have learned to choose one small thing, one seemingly incomplete and imperfect thing, and simply start. It’s all I know to do, really, in the face of this life: one small “yes” to God, to keep saying “yes” to Love, to refuse to give in to fear and apathy and numbness, and make space for God, and push back a little more darkness, then right foot, left foot, right foot, each of us bringing our small portion of grace, until we end up where we were meant to be all along.

Take a step with me now?

We want to build a school in Haiti.

Yes.

We. You and me and the rest of the Help One Now blogger team and all of their readers, too, all of us. We believe that education is the difference maker in Haiti right now. (RSS and email subscribers, please visit this post to watch the video if you can’t see it.) Watch this:

So we want to build a school at Yahve Shamma orphanage for the entire community. We want to build a legacy, a real brick-and-mortar Haitian-built, Haitian-managed, Haitian-taught community school to be part of lifting Haiti out of poverty. And we want to do it with you, too.

This isn’t just one small step, not really. Because, you see, there will be 170 beautiful tinies there. In one school, every year, 170 steps, one right foot after another left foot, right forward, into God’s purpose and plan, God’s future and hope. Plus twelve teachers, well, every year, step, step, step right into where they were meant to be all along. And we can be a part of it, walking alongside of them.

The Details

What exactly: A sturdy school on the grounds of Yahve Shamma orphanage. The 32 resident children will obviously attend, but it will be a community school for up to 150 other kids.

How many people will be impacted: 150 students every year + 12 teachers, sure, that’s the start but the ongoing impact of an educated child is like dropping a pebble into still water – the ripples will spread and reach to shores we can’t even imagine yet.

When: Break ground in January 2013. If all fundraising milestones are met, the school will be complete in September 2013, right on time for the first day of school.

How much: $100,000 total. We have broken the project up into bite-sized chunks. First up: the Door Phase for $3,000. Once that milestone has been funded, we’ll move onto the next phase. We’ll continue until the full school is funded.

The Crazy Part: We want to fund the construction of the school by January. Yep. 8 weeks away.

Why: Education is key to job creation and economic development (which is closely related to the orphan crisis, poverty, healthcare etc.).

Only 1 in 5 Haitian kids attend secondary school.

Those kinds of statistics aren’t going to give Haiti the doctors, teachers, ministers, business leaders, mums and dads, to lift Haiti out of poverty. It’s a legacy that will extend out and beyond, generation after generation, for Haiti. (source) You can also read Dan King’s excellent post: The @HelpOneNow Bloggers Guide to Empowering Haiti’s Future.

So let’s do this. Let’s build a school:

  1. Click here  (
  2. If you haven’t already, create a Pure Charity account as I mentioned earlier.
  3. Back our Project - I don’t care if it’s $5 or $5,000 – it all counts, it all matters, and if anything matters, everything matters.
  4. You can continue to leave a Legacy in Haiti with your holiday shopping, and your everyday purchases. (Pure Charity is a revolutionary way to turn our necessary spending into generosity. Every purchase you make at major retailers will give you more money towards this project.)
  5. Invite your friends to join the Generation of Generosity, let’s keep this moving.

Help Us Tell the Story

This whole project started with a group of storytellers sitting in a place where we were moved by the stories that surrounded us. Stories can make a big difference, and your story can help  move the needle in the fight against poverty. Here are some ways that you can get involved:

  • Share this story with your family and friends, through social media, talk about this project at work and school, tell people why you think it’s important
  • Sponsor a child in Haiti and talk about what it means to you

For now, we’ll leave you with this…

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
~ Nelson Mandela

We can build a school today,

and transform a community in Haiti forever.

 

Update

Phase 1 – The Door for $3,000 = FULLY FUNDED

Phase 2 – The Foundation for $10,000 = Back the project here

 

faith, Haiti, social justice
  • http://twitter.com/LoveFeast ChrisAnn and Kristin

    We know that one person at a time, one brick at a time, this school will be built! Can’t wait to follow the journey.
    ~Chris Ann & Kristin

  • Sarah

    Yeah! I’ve been waiting excitedly to hear what the project was going to be…..and I am so excited about contributing to the school!

  • Jen Hatmaker

    Hooray, friend. Love walking right up close beside you in this. I kind of want to hold your hand.

  • Tara_pohlkottepress

    big.fat.hot.holy tears. mama sized tears, cause these are all of our babies. oh, sarah {and team}. this. i feel the quaking. the dream breaking through.

  • Beth

    Have you read Kent Annan’s books: Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle and Aftershock?
    Kent is the co-director of Haiti Partners. He is humble, smart, hard working, honest. Haiti Partners is about real partnership and education is their main focus.
    Aftershock is his honest lament to God in the suffering after the earthquake.
    Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle is a raw and honest account of his first years in Haiti – living simply, maintaining his marriage, getting to know the people, struggling with culture shock.
    I should gently encourage you to read these books but really I want to BEG and persuade you to read them. I have no doubt you’ll love them.

  • Nicole Hutchison

    Bless you and the work being done in Haiti, a place and people very near and dear to my heart. I just returned from Leveque on my second mission trip in 13 months through UMCOR and UMVIM. Both trips involved reconstruction efforts, a school and a Methodist church. I got to visit the site of the Methodist School in Puit Blains where my team and I worked in 2011. It is complete and 850 students attend (elementary and secondary). I look forward to returning and worshiping in the Leveque church when it is complete. Last month, the team and I also visited Mission of Hope and The 410 Project, a deaf community in Leveque. It was the most amazing afternoon spent with new friends.

    God is good! God is great!

    Blessings to you this day,
    Nicole Hutchison
    http://nicoleandkevin.wordpress.com/

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