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 February, we raised over $250K for our families in Menelas. In addition to supporting our existing wrap-around services for over 200 family members, it also allowed us to take on 3 new families from Marc Noel and Carmitha’s block—the Mercier family, the Vilsaint family, and the Altidor family. In March, we began the intake process with our new families and today, their kids are in school, everybody is healthy and have access to medical care, and our new heads of households are in our job preparation program.
We’re currently training more family members to join us on the Run in 2019. Among other things, they’re learning about what runners need to endure a 200-mile run, the history of their country, and a few are enrolled into English classes. We’ll also welcome a few native Haitian runners onto the team in 2019 and we can’t wait to hear what they think about the experience.