Power of Volunteering: Haitian Volunteers Fight to Lift Village out of Poverty
Nearly every child and adult showed some sign of malnutrition and the level of energy was so low that many would not have had the energy to work even if there was opportunity. This was the scene of a remote mud hut village in Haiti June of 2014 - before the Hotes Foundation started its many programs. Targeting the most immediate needs of the villagers, we started a feeding program, garden, daycare, medical clinic, and put in showers and bathrooms.
Through these programs, the energy level and health of the village improved so much that after just three months, villagers began volunteering to help with projects to improve the village. We are happy to report that around 180 volunteers have since volunteered for well over 10,000 combined days in less than 2 years.
Asked why he volunteers, Martelly Ernest, a local villager, age 20, said this: "The Hotes Foundation works whenever they come here so why shouldn't I? I see that if all are working we could accomplish anything ... I want the village to look like New York!" Martelly has volunteered the third most of anyone in the village with over 180 days of volunteer time.
Some of the volunteers' projects include:
- Expanding the gardens to well over 10 times the original size.
- Cultivating crops in the new gardens to produce hundreds of pounds of food every week – greatly improving the nutrition for the whole village.
- Digging rain-water collection pits to water the gardens in dry weeks.
- Planted hundreds of moringa, rubber, and papaya trees to combat Haiti's endemic deforestation.
- Fixing the almost impassable dirt road so that services can come to the village by truck after heavy rains.
- Clearing brush to create a soccer field.
- Cleaning up the trash in the village.
- Clearing and organized common “clean” areas for kids to play in.
We are very excited the volunteers have followed our model of working hard for others and understanding the true value of volunteering - despite their poverty to work to help others in need. This community activity is key to lifting the community out of poverty and is having a visible impact to that end everyday.
Follow us to learn more about the Hotes Foundation's philosophy and watch the progress of transforming this village out of extreme poverty.