One Hundred For Haiti has been supporting the work being done by our friend and partner Morgan Weinberg at ‘Little Footprints, Big Steps’ in Les Cayes Haiti for the last few years, and this newest piece of news is an addition to that relationship which was possible entirely thanks to your support.
In January 2014, we visited the new rented safe house where Morgan has been living with the former slave boys, runaways, and orphans that she saves from the streets of Les Cayes Haiti. We heard Morgan mention that there was no barbed wire around the safe house, as there often is around houses and properties in Haiti. Morgan told us that people had been scaling the walls at night and stealing things from the compound and harassing or attacking the boys there. We were stunned…that these kids had been through so much and still their difficulties never seemed to end.
We asked Morgan if we could pay for barbed wire to be installed on top of the wall around the property. She said yes, but expressed concern about putting money into a rental property. We had an idea: what if we hired a Haitian worker to not only install the barbed wire, but also gave money so that the same worker could someday, when Morgan and the boys move out of the house, take down the barbed wire and more it to a new location? And thus this idea was born…it has now become reality.
This is the man we funded to put up and take down the barbed wire, and here are a few words from Little Footprints, Big Steps about him and what the process meant to him:
“The father of this family is the man we hired to put up barbed wire (all funded by One Hundred for Haiti). This was one of the only jobs he has had in months and significantly helped in him being able to send his children to school. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to afford his children’s education. He took us to visit his children and we wife; they were so grateful that we hired him. They really prioritized their children’s education and seem like great parents! We will definitely hire him when we remove & re-install the barbed wire!”
That’s a victory as far as we are concerned. And you made it happen. Thank you!
We searched the world for a Social Media Director, and we finally found the one we were looking for!
Meet Ashley Burton: Ashley fell in love with Haiti on her first visit in 2013 and returned for a summer in 2014 as Country Director with Sustain Haiti. Because the people there changed her life, she’s committed to doing anything she can to help them. She recently received her MPA from Virginia Commonwealth University and has a BA in political science from BYU. She’ll be using her experience with social media to increase awareness of and mobilize support for One Hundred for Haiti.
Have questions, news, ideas for Ashley or our team? Send them our way through our CONTACT page.
While we were in Haiti this spring, we visited the safe house for former child slaves and homeless children being run by our friend Morgan Wienberg. Morgan works for Little Footprints / Big Steps and has been directly supporting homeless youth in the city of Les Cayes in the south of Haiti for years now. She has lived with them, nurtured them, kept them safe, and seen them grow. The children she oversees live full time in the space with her. The compound itself consists of a central house in the middle of an open space surrounded by a ten foot high concrete wall.
In discussion with Morgan, she explained that while the safe house and the space they live in is generally safe, a lack of barbed wire on the walls around the compound means that people have been breaking in at night, harassing the youth, stealing from them, and being violent. We asked if having barbed wire around the compound at the top of the walls would help. Morgan said that the problem is that the house is a rental, and the landlord is unwilling to do any improvements to it as a result.
We have found that solving problems is often about disregarding limits: we asked if we could fund not only the barbed wire, and its installation, but also the removal of the barbed wire at any point in the future that Morgan and the children moved out of the space. Then the landlord could have his unsafe safe house back! Morgan happily agreed, and the plan was set in place.
For these boys, all of whom were on the streets before Little Footprints / Big Steps invited them to have a better life inside the walls of the safe house, life has not been easy. They suffer from post traumatic stress disorder at times, which is heightened by a lack of personal safety within the compound when there is no barbed wire. We are going to change that this month. You made this possible through your donations. More details to come as the barbed wire is installed.
Phase one of our Rural Water Project was funded today for the rural area of Ranquitte. We – meaning YOU – paid for Haitian workers in extremely rural areas to build ten water treatment tanks. These tanks will protect the water supply, currently coming directly from the ground from natural springs, from infecting people with cholera when storms disrupt the groundwater and reintroduce larger amounts of cholera into the water. We expect 15,000 people in Haiti to never have to worry about dying of cholera again as a result of this project. Thanks to our partners from Peacework Medical who originally built the first tanks in the area which we saw on our trip there a few months ago. Phase two will begin in the fall: more water tanks, more lives saved.
Gwen Whipple retired last year but decided to stay busy. The Seattle resident has a love both for fabrics and for the work One Hundred For Haiti is doing in Haiti. She recently decided to take her passion and transform it into a fundraising campaign for us. It was all her idea. Gwen makes handmade purses like the one shown below and has set a goal to sell one hundred of these for us. She has raised hundreds of dollars so far. We asked her recently about the campaign and where her idea came from.
100FH: How did you get involved with sewing and how did the idea of the purses for Haiti project come together?
GWEN: It started about twenty years ago when I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Sacramento. Betty signed me up for a quilting class. I had no supplies but it was so exciting and fun. Once I started going to quilt shows I found fun patterns for bags and purses. I still get to put the colors together (my specialty) but the projects get to the finish line quicker. I got inspired hearing Greg Bennick speak recently in a keynote presentation at an event. His passion for the people of the country was intoxicating, and drunk on excitement I decided I could do something. I knew I was going to keep making these purses so I thought, wouldn’t it be great for the proceeds to go to a fund where the money is clearly helping people pick themselves up and have a better life? The next thing was to broaden my exposure so, with my new goal of one hundred purses for Haiti, I began networking.
100FH: How long does it take to make one purse?
GWEN: I often cut the fabric out one day and do the sewing the next day. If I worked on it straight through, it takes about 5-6 hours including the button and beading. I always have 4-5 fabric combinations lined up. I love it when I get requests for theme fabric (“can you make me one with owls?” or “My friend loves elephants, can you make one with elephants?”)
100FH: Why is this cause important to you?
GWEN: I trust that this money is in good hands and helping brighten lives. It started simply with clean water now those same people are asking for help to help themselves through conditions most of us have never had to endure. Life is good for me, how could I refuse this simple request to help? It is a win-win-win. I get to feed the creative side of my brain, someone gets to walk around with a new stylish purse knowing that the money spent is going to a great cause, and One Hundred for Haiti gets a new stream of money to fund programs.
Gwen had this to add about the purses:
“They are 8 1/2″ X 13″ tube top purses with plenty of pockets. They have four inside pockets for pens and credit cards, two full-width outside pockets with buttons on front and Velcro on back. The tube top is available for the stuff you really don’t want exposed and folds down to reveal the embellishments. The strap goes across your body and fits nicely on your hip. It has room in the back pocket for a Kindle (a nice bonus). I use mine for my full-time purse. It works great for travel and gambling as it can swing around and sit in your lap while you are on your favorite machine your money is close at hand…your hand no one else’s!”
To contact Gwen with questions, email her at: email@example.com
We are officially registered with Amazon.com’s non-profit “Smile” support program. This means that if you use the following link for your shopping at Amazon (it is the same Amazon experience, just with a different starting link other than simply “amazon.com”) then a percentage of all of your purchases will benefit One Hundred For Haiti!
Please share that link with your friends who use Amazon!
Our Rural Water Project campaign to save 15,000 lives from cholera is underway and already making an impact. This photo, just in from the tiny rural village of Haute Pont shows the first completed water tank. This tank catches water from a local natural spring, and once filled to the top is treated to kill deadly cholera bacteria. The man drinking from the tank is doing so knowing that the water, for the first time in years, is absolutely safe to drink. We are working with local people to build the tanks under the guidelines established by those local people along with our friends from Peacework Medical (an outstanding all-volunteer medical initiative with extensive knowledge about cholera and how to prevent it). One Hundred For Haiti provide the funds, and local Haitians do the work on behalf of their own communities. They know how to build the tanks and more importantly how to FIX the tanks themselves.
In the last few years we have seen so many overpriced water projects in Haiti that are ineffectively managed on the local level: these are projects which get built, often at extremely inflated cost to donors, and then if they break they can’t be fixed by local people. The Rural Water Project is entirely different. Our project is inexpensive, highly effective, and easily managed on the local level. This empowers people, and that is of value at the highest level.