LEARNING TO HELP THEMSELVES: Local Rotary club aids Haitian orphanage in journey to self-sustainability

Money raised by the Westshore Sunrise Rotary Club helped pay the medical bills for nine-year-old Francy (right). He lives at the Divine Hand Orphanage in Haiti, one of two supported by the local club. Photo courtesy of Doris AbrahamMoney raised by the Westshore Sunrise Rotary Club helped pay the medical bills for nine-year-old Francy (right). He lives at the Divine Hand Orphanage in Haiti, one of two supported by the local club. Photo courtesy of Doris Abraham
An outbuilding at the Divine Hand Orphanage in Haiti was constructed earlier this year to house a bakery. The project was funded by the Westshore Sunrise Rotary Club. Photo courtesy of Doris AbrahamAn outbuilding at the Divine Hand Orphanage in Haiti was constructed earlier this year to house a bakery. The project was funded by the Westshore Sunrise Rotary Club. Photo courtesy of Doris Abraham
LEARNING TO HELP THEMSELVES: Local Rotary club aids Haitian orphanage in journey to self-sustainability
LEARNING TO HELP THEMSELVES: Local Rotary club aids Haitian orphanage in journey to self-sustainability

It’s a country that hasn’t been in the spotlight much lately, a change from last fall when news of the devastation Hurricane Matthew caused in Haiti was flooding homes around the world.

But while many have forgotten about Haiti or have moved onto the next news cycle, one group of West Shore humanitarians continues to work hard to support two orphanages filled with Haiti’s forgotten children.

The Divine Hand Orphanage, near Port-au-Prince, was the subject of the Westshore Sunrise Rotary Club’s latest fundraiser earlier this month.

“The garage sale was a success … We raised over $2,000, which will entirely cover off the remainder of the bakery project,” said Rotarian and Langford Fire Chief Bob Beckett.

That project is Rotary’s latest to help the Divine Hands Orphanage become self-sufficient. Previous projects, such as a chicken coop, continue to thrive and provide alternative food sources and sometimes even income. This bakery will help orphanage director Doris Abraham keep food on the table.

“It’s multi-purpose, it allows her to make bread for the orphanage and allows her to sell to the village,” explained Beckett.

But while funds were sent down earlier in the year to help cover the startup, one boy living at the orphanage went into kidney failure and needed emergency medical treatment. Some of the bakery funds were diverted to help with those costs.

However, the other reason more funds were required is much more positive. “The project grew because of the potential,” Beckett said, adding the money will help cover mixers, supplies and other equipment as well.

They’ve even built a separate structure to house the operation. It was built next to the orphanage’s security wall and has a pass-through so strangers don’t have to enter the property.

Besides helping to meet some basic needs, Beckett added the project will also teach the children some valuable life skills.

The whole project is made possible, he said, by the continued support of the West Shore community. The garage sale and barbecue fundraiser would not have been possible without the volunteer work of Carol and Bruce Brown, and the continued generosity of Glenwood Meats owners Rick and Bal Fisher.

If you missed it, Goldstream Gazette reporter Katherine Engqvist accompanied a Westshore Sunrise Rotary team of volunteers down to Haiti last fall. Read the four-part series here.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

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