Reaching Out Volunteering Abroad

Herb Jordan (KUC member) with Three Angels school principal

Charles Alix in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Author
Herbert Jordan

Reaching Out
Volunteering Abroad

Kenilworth Union Church’s generosity, through Outreach, is creating hope and progress for needy children and parents at the Three Angels Relief School and Orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

My first exposure to Haiti was the 2010 KUC mission trip, just eight months after the massive earthquake. Twelve of us, led by Sarah Garcia, learned a lot about the value of helping others in great need, and also the value of our friendships in Christ. The Haiti experience brought our blessings here in the KUC community into clear focus. Continuing my volunteer work at Three Angels was a natural next step.

Three Angels is a Christian Academy for 300 Haitian children, and also serves as an orphanage for 13 babies who have been put up for adoption by parents who are in desperate circumstances or deceased. The organization is recognized throughout Port-au-Prince for its excellence in education, Biblical instruction, English language training, and loving character building, and also its practical benefits of providing nutritious lunches for needy children.

The impact of Three Angels, and KUC’s support to Three Angels, is particularly important given the extreme needs of so many Haitians.   Although the island is just a short flight from Miami, and next door to the Dominican Republic, Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Poverty and lingering effects of the 2010 earthquake leave most citizens living hand-to-mouth. Unemployment is hard to measure, but most agree it is around 40 percent.  A typical Haitian day laborer earns $6 to $7 US per day, and these are the ones lucky enough to find employment. Health care for most is an unreachable luxury, as is formal education.

A primary goal of Three Angels is to become a self-sustaining organization, and to help more Haitians become self-sustaining.   To that end, Three Angels has developed a jewelry-making program that employs about 20 neighborhood ladies who have learned artisan skills in cutting, rolling, and lacquering paper into beaded necklaces and bracelets which are sold for a small profit through a variety of channels, including churches and non-profit groups in the U.S.   The program teaches a skill to these women, and also builds confidence in their ability to provide an ongoing source of income for their families.   A new community center is currently being built to enable expansion of the jewelry-making business and English language instruction. Additionally, Three Angels has been developing a ten-acre farm near the Port-au-Prince airport to grow fruits and vegetables that provide a sustaining source of nutrition for the school and orphanage. In a 2012 mission trip to Haiti, KUC members worked at the Three Angels farm and erected a large plant shelter creating shade to enable new plantings to succeed.

KUC’s gift to Three Angels is providing a critical source of support for many Haitians who are in daunting circumstances. In turn, Three Angels is using our support to help it become self-sustaining such that it can be an ongoing source of help and hope for many years to come.

For KUC volunteers going to Three Angels on mission work, expectations are simple.  All you need is  patience, sunscreen, and a heart open to the unexpected joys of serving others who live in very difficult circumstances.