From Here to Haiti, Ltd. — WHO WE ARE
It all started at the end of January 2010. A few weeks following the terrible earthquake that shook the small island of Haiti, a small town priest from the village of Les Abricots, Pere Claude Lavalas, pastor of Marie Reine Immaculee wanted to repair his damaged parish church. He sought the help of his friend Mica… who sought the help of her friend Chantal… who sought the help of her friend… me… who said, “Sure, a small village church will not take much to fix the roof…” I never imagine that this simple “yes” would lead to who we have become.
From Here to Haiti, Ltd. (FHTH) is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation doing repair work of non-governmental buildings in Haiti. FHTH seeks to create local employment opportunities and promotes self sufficiency for the people of Haiti through that repair work. Because of the religious layout of Haiti, most of our requests are from — but not solely — Catholic and/or Christian organizations. We are young, having been incorporated in October 2010 and concentrate our work in the provinces.
FHTH is proud of its accomplishments. In just 2 ½ years, three churches are repaired – two of them with new roofs, two schools have new five-stall toilets, two schools have internet access and the start of a computer room, a church has a new bell tower and another school has a new paved school yard. Thanks to those projects, over 150 Haitians enjoyed temporary employment and the lives of countless children have improved.
As of this posting we have over 15 projects of varying sizes in the works and as you can imagine requests for projects are received faster than they can be executed. This past April we replaced the roof of St. John the Baptist the parish church of Anse d’Hainault in the Grande Anse department. We are now raising funds to repair St. Marie Madeleine chapel of La Source in the diocese of Jacmel.
We are an all-volunteer organization, we pay for our own travel expenses and room and board is provided by the place where we work. This allows all the money we raise to fund the projects. We raise funds by asking individuals, holding art exhibits, dinners, walk-a-thons and by speaking and sending requests for grants to organizations and corporations.
Our methodology is transparent, simple, yet very efficient: When a request for work comes to us, we communicate with the requester as to ascertain if this is a project that fits our corporate purpose. If it does, we open it to the Board. If the project is approved, we visit the site, take pictures dimensions and assess the work. We then start fundraising. In tandem, the requester calls for as many workers from the community as it will take to do the work in about a week. When the project is funded, we order the materials from Haiti – helping the local economy — and have them delivered to the site. Then we travel to the site to do the work with the community. At the end of the work, all workers are paid the current labor rate. Projects are processed on a first come, first served basis. However, sometimes, funding for projects are expedited by donations from community members living locally and abroad in which case they rise to the top of the priority list and planning is immediate.
We sometimes work with other organizations to accomplish a project. The latest was the Pew Project. A church in Brooklyn closed and there were 104 pews made available. We worked with Food for the Poor to have the pews shipped to a church in Limonade, a town in the North of Haiti. Volunteers gathered to fill two containers with the pews and ship them over to Haiti.
If you would like to volunteer, or to make a donation, please contact:
Patricia Brintle, President
1446 Utopia Parkway, Whitestone, NY 11357