All too often, we are asked how dangerous it is to work in Haiti.
Since the start of our organization, we’ve brought guests to Haiti with us just about every month. Safety and security are often times the top concerns and are the barriers for guests to join us.
However, what our team and board have experienced with our families in Menelas has given us a very different perspective. Haiti is beautiful and diverse. There’s so much more to Haiti than what we’ve read in the headlines.
As we accompany our families out of poverty through good, dignified jobs, we also realize that the lack of jobs in Haiti has had so much to do with how Haiti is perceived. The barrier to entry begins with the view that Haiti is not a country people travel to for fun, let alone to do business.
We wanted to help our friends and supporters see what we’ve seen, experience what we’ve experienced, while also learning from their perspectives. So, we thought the best way to do this is to see Haiti at 5 miles an hour, from one coast to the other, thus the birth of our annual Run Across Haiti®.
The Run Across Haiti® was created to broaden perspectives around the world as a place to be explored and celebrated. We also saw it as a way to create jobs. Who better to show off the country than its own people? We’re proud to have WORK family members work on the crew. Aside from direct employment, the Run also provided 245 work days and contributed $90,736 to the local tourism industry in 2018.
This past May, we raised over $250K for our families in Menelas. This funding supports over 250 family members with our wrap-around service, enables us to launch new programs that create jobs, and prepares family members for jobs. In July, we'll launch three new cohorts of job preparation classes while ensuring our kids have a safe place to go this summer.
Since the first year, our vision for the Run is to be completely led by a Haitian crew, providing a seasonal job and an opportunity for our families to be at the forefront of our Run. We have grown from 3 Haitian crew members in 2016 to 14 Haitian crew members in 2019, including doctors and nurses. We are currently training more of our family members to crew with us on the Run in 2020. Among other things, they’re learning about what runners need to endure a 200-mile run, gaining a deeper understanding of their country, and a few are enrolled into English classes. We also welcomed three new Haitian-native runners for the 2019 Run, one of which was the 1st finisher.