The Start of It All
Several volunteers with Haiti Foundation of Hope have been traveling to Haiti for more than 30 years, long before the foundation was established. In 1996, a medical and dental team from Washington state traveled to the village of Terre Blanche in northern Haiti. Seeing the needs of people in the community and the absence of hope, team members began a program to feed the 65 children that attended the local school.
For the next 10 years, they partnered with the Haitian Free Methodist Church and saw the community change. The school grew to more than 500 students and 11 teachers, the building was expanded to include more classrooms and a cafeteria where students received a hot meal, a community well was constructed, health care was provided by a visiting nurse and traveling medical teams, a women’s trade school was established, and the church grew.
In an effort to continue and expand the work in Terre Blanche and northern Haiti, Haiti Foundation of Hope was established in 2005. Since then, the foundation has financed the construction of a medical clinic building with a second-floor dormitory, the employment of full-time medical staff, the construction of a secondary school building and a larger school cafeteria. Today, the school has nearly 1,000 students, each one receiving an education and daily lunch. The foundation is also helping people through a variety of other programs including micro-loan, community health, clean water and the women’s trade school.
Haiti was hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010. After the dust settled, the scope of the catastrophe became clear. Buildings had crumbled, more than 200,000 people had died and even more were injured and in need of medical care.
Some 1 million people were left homeless and searching for food and clean water. Most of the destruction was in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas, although the impact of the earthquake was felt throughout the entire country.
Within days of the earthquake, two board members with Haiti Foundation of Hope, Dr. Joe and Linda Markee, were on the ground in Port-au-Prince, volunteering at a hospital with a disaster relief team. A third board member, Dr. Steve Sethi, soon joined them. Plans moved forward to send already scheduled medical teams to Haiti in February and March.
Haiti Foundation of Hope received an outpouring of support through donations, gifts and prayers. With money received for disaster relief, the foundation was able to purchase life-saving supplies such as food and medicine to distribute to those in need. Money was also spent on fuel to transport the supplies.
Celebrating an Anniversary
In 2015, Haiti Foundation of Hope celebrated its 10 year anniversary. The foundation continues to have much to celebrate: the volunteers who give up their vacations to work in Haiti; the Haitian team members who faithfully serve year after year; the financial gifts of donors; the prayers of many; the leadership exemplified; growing programs that are helping communities; and most of all, changed lives.