Believe in Haiti (501c3) is devoted to keeping Haitian families together through love, education, and service, while empowering individuals to rise above their current poverty level.
Justin and Whitney, who are the co-founders of Believe in Haiti, lived in Haiti in 2012 and have been continuously involved since that time. While in Haiti their family had the opportunity to meet and work with the people of St. Roch. It was through these efforts that the need for the current organization was discovered. Whitney and Justin, along with the local liaisons began the current feeding program to help provide for the physical needs of the people of St. Roch Haiti. Whitney is a Registered Nurse and worked in Haiti with the people on acute medical needs and medical education. Justin worked in Haiti as an engineer and together they are intensely aware of the situation in Haiti. They have seven children that they are raising and have been "Mom & Dad" to many others through the foster program in the US and Haiti. Their passion is keeping families together with the hope that through their efforts with the feeding clinic and school sponsorship program they can ease the burdens of Haitian parents who are faced with losing their children on a daily basis.
I recently had the pleasure of making a trip down to Haiti with some friends. From earthquakes and hurricanes to poverty and hunger, Haiti is a country with enormous challenges and opportunities to make a difference. It was an incredible experience to spend some time there. I loved every minute of it. Our gracious travel guides, Justin and Whitney Henwood, are the founders of a wonderful charity called Believe in Haiti. The mission of the organization is to keep families together through love, education and service. Most Haitian families face food insecurity. School is expensive and many families can't to send their children. There is also an orphan crisis - fueled by economic insecurity and other issues. Believe in Haiti has helped alleviate these problems by operating a feeding program for children and providing school sponsorships so kids can attend school. While in Haiti, we visited two schools to check up on the students who are being sponsored. We were able to see the feeding program in action and supervise the construction of a shelter for the feeding program. We assisted a member of our group with distributing hygiene kits for his Eagle Scout Project. We visited an orphanage where we held and played with the children. We also visited local families and supported them in various ways.
In addition to these service opportunities, we spent some time on the roads traveling to and from the communities where we were providing assistance. Whenever we got in the car to go somewhere, I knew it was going to be a visual feast. The traffic in Haiti is a sight to behold. It is truly indescribable! On the sides of the roads we saw some of the most interesting sights! Busy markets, people selling anything and everything you can imagine and people walking around while balancing all sorts of odds and ends on their heads, large and small. We saw their houses, their churches, their businesses, and lots of trash. I have never seen so much trash in my life! My goodness. My eyes were wide open and my jaw on the floor with some of the things I saw. I have spent a fair amount of time in foreign countries, but each one brings its new wonders, sights, sounds and smells too! This is what makes traveling and getting to know a new culture such a joy!
Until next time.
We LOVED our trip to Haiti! I admit that I was extremely nervous about traveling to Haiti, especially because we were bringing our 13 year old son. However, from the moment we arrived I had no worries. We stayed in a safe area at a hotel that had drinkable tap water, air-conditioning and even wifi, and we ate in restaurants with good, safe food. We traveled to Haiti as part of my son's Eagle Scout project where he donated hygiene kits and soccer balls to the children of Believe in Haiti. It was such a positive experience for him! As Americans we have such a limited understanding of poverty. It was amazing to interact with the people of Haiti, to see their humor, energy, happiness and love. My son said "I've really learned to be grateful for what we have", but also commented that those things really don't bring happiness. I could feel my soul grow as we served and loved the good people of Haiti. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have traveled to Haiti and would love to go back. Haiti definitely has a soft spot in my heart. I highly recommend the experience!