Haitian Student Sponsorship at Bethesda
What began as a Sunday School project in 1994 has matured into Bethesda’s favorite global mission. The names of the students change year by year. Right now they are Daniela (11 years old) and Widelet (7 years old). But no matter their age or name, Bethesda is always pleased to get pictures and reports about our sponsored Haitian students.
The organization is Ventures in People Foundation, Inc., and their website is viphaiti.org Their vision is to “undertake projects that bring hope to the Haitian people through programs that promote health, education and community.”
According to their website, “Haiti is the poorest nation in our Western Hemisphere with an average annual income of $300! Poverty, malnutrition, starvation, disease, substandard housing, unemployment and illiteracy are a way of life. Though an impoverished country, Haitians are proud and desire to achieve to preserve their dignity and provide for their families.”
One of the many ways in which Ventures in People has made an impact on Haiti is through the introduction of 4-H in 1996. What began as two 4-H clubs with 20 members each has grown over the past 20 years to include 27 community-based clubs with nearly 2000 members.
Everything about Ventures in People is oriented towards self-sufficiency for the Haitian people and towards an economic recovery a long time overdue. Haiti may have won its freedom and an end to slavery in 1803, but, as CBS news puts it, “before withdrawing in 1825, France had demanded reparations for the loss of its economic and human property of 150 million francs – about $21 billion in today’s money. Twenty-one billion dollars . . . a crushing debt which, though later reduced, Haiti would not pay off until 1947. As a result, the young country never really got on its feet.”
That’s right. It’s only been 69 years since Haiti paid off its gigantic debt which it did so over ‘only’ 122 years, which – considering the interest and all – is about a quarter of the time that I would have imagined. (If you have student loans, you may know what I mean.)
This seems to be one of the worst travesties in the annals of the Western Hemisphere which has unfairly burdened Haiti throughout its history, and it’s just another reason why we should extend our help to this Caribbean nation. It is with joy that Bethesda continues to sponsor students there, year after year, and we believe wholeheartedly that the education of these children is a worthwhile investment in Haiti’s future and the betterment of the world.