The last eight years Imagine Missions has built relationships not only with those who were originally involved in the orphanage (children’s home*) we formed to support, but with our neighboring community in Despinos. Through these relationships, we have become more aware of the systemic problems Haitians face.
Two-thirds of adults in Haiti do not have a formal job. This is why we have continued to help families that do not make enough money to support all of their children in various ways, whether it’s giving a parent part time work, inviting a student attend school for free, or as a last resort, taking in a child as one of our own
God planned for us to be part of a family. While those in our care are part of an extremely large family, there can be a lot of spared heartache if parents can find regular, reliable work and sustain themselves and their families. Haiti’s economy has been unstable for decades, and while no one person or organization is responsible for an entire nation's economy, there are ways we can work together to actively improve Haiti’s economy. While we cannot directly employ more people than we already do (~100), we can work to partner with local business. Imagine Missions can help by switching to locally sourcing all supplies possible. This helps stimulate the local economy instead of filling it with American goods. While some goods are a little more expensive in Haiti, others run at about the same price or are even cheaper than in the United States.
We are starting a new “Love Local” program and will no longer send shipping containers of supplies and Christmas gifts. Next Christmas, we will be collecting donations from sponsors so that we can purchase Christmas gifts for the children in Haiti. Your holiday gift will not only be to an Imagine Missions child, but also a gift to the local business owner who will have the benefit of increased sales to help support his or her own family.
In addition, we are asking teams to bring the $40 they would used on a ‘checked bag’ of supplies donated from America to instead buy supplies locally in Haiti. Those that love to donate supplies to our visitors’ trips can instead donate additional dollars to be spent on goods in Haiti, again blessing our community in a tangible way. We still love involving many across country borders to be a part of this Love Local effort, just as many have stayed involved in donation collection for our Children’s Home over the years. We encourage all to join us in adjusting the ways we used to help to better fit this new Love Local model. For example, gently used items that supporters would typically donate to fly down to Haiti can instead be sold to second-hand boutiques or garage sales to raise money for donation so we can keep ‘Loving Local’ well.
We feel that we can make an ever bigger impact on our community if we continue to find new ways to help, and that means supporting and walking alongside Haitians in different ways. By supporting local retailers through our commitment to “Love Local”, we will have a truly positive impact on the local economy.
One way you can help us kick off this initiative is by donating to a fund to help us buy new shoes from local vendors for all the children in our care! The winter months have proven rough on their play, school, and church shoes, and they are ready to don some ‘summer shoes’ for work and play! Donate to our general fund and leave a comment on your donation that says “Love Local Shoe Fund!”
We’re so excited to be better partners with our community and can’t wait for you to join us in #lovinglocal!
*along with our shift towards loving local, we are shifting in the ways we refer to Imagine Missions-specific purposes and programs to communicate our utmost love and respect to the Haitians with whom we carry out our mission. Stay on the lookout for future posts further explaining the terminology we hope to utilize moving forward. In the meantime note our recent practice of referring to the orphanage as the Imagine Children’s Home.