As most of our friends, family, ministry partners...& readers know, we are proponents of addressing the orphan population in Haiti in 3 ways: Prevention, STABILIZATION & Reunification. Well JOB CREATION is a big part of that! While there are plenty of places to get "trained" in job skills here in Haiti, it really doesn't matter if there isn't a JOB to be HAD. It's simple logic.
While we would typically like to be primarily creating jobs for moms & dads in impoverished situations to be able to provide for their children, our first business as ministry project is an outstanding opportunity that ends up being a little different than that.
You may not know, but both Ted & my brother, Bob both have backgrounds in IT. IN fact they worked together many years ago in Sacramento in UNIX system administration. Ted went on to specialize in IT security and upper management in several well known companies. Bob became a developer/programmer and now owns his own business solutions firm. While Ted & I have had several brainstorming sessions on business development that included the area of computer programming we had never discussed it with Bob or pursued it here while doing business research & development up until now. When our situation changed last month, Bob contacted us with this message: "I recently had thoughts of whether starting a training/outsourced software development office in Haiti might be useful...I've been thinking about this for a couple weeks and haven't figured how it might all work but your email made it seem like a good time to start talking about the possibilities..."
Ted has just spent the last month looking at those & has found incredible resources at every turn. He has interviewed more than a handful of individuals with those skills, in fact one just returned to Haiti after completing his Master's Degree in the US on a Fulbright Scholarship in Computer Science. When they stumbled into each other at the local technology school, this young man shared with us later that he was at his low of discouragement that he had this degree & no jobs to be found after several weeks back home. The school is FULL of hopeful youth, who have very little likelihood of making a decent living in their chosen profession after graduation.
So, we are working together with Bob & his company FastFoundry to develop a small nucleus of programmers that will hopefully be the beginning of a larger company before long and eventually give birth to an entirely new industry here for Haiti.
How does that apply to ORPHANS? It's a very good question & the answer is multifold:
1 - It changes the local economy! More workers with living wages means more consumers for the small businesses where at-risk parents are usually trying to earn an income.
2 - This will be developed as a Haitian "social enterprise". None of us are trying to gain anything from it, so all profits will be funneled into other ministry opportunities such as businesses that DO create jobs for at-risk families or maybe even a form of long term sustainability for maternity care.
3 - Part of the business model will include extensive training. We intend to develop a transition program component that will allow prospective youth that are aging out of their orphanages to go through a program that will prepare them for a job in this field.
4 - It allows us to go through the steps to creating/incubating our first business as ministry here in Haiti and to learn the ropes while working in an arena where Ted already has experience & connections.
We will update this post or add new ones as things continue to unfold.
WAYS to partner on this MINISTRY/PROJECT:
- Provide a laptop ($600 each x 4)
- Provide a monitor ($200 each x 4)
- Provide basic office furniture for an initial employee ($250 each x 4)
- Cover initial start up monthly expenses (x 3 months)
- Initial internet set up expense ($250)
- Donate computer equipment (Mac, MacBook, iPods, iPads) for app development projects
- Donate solar panels for steady power source
- Design & programming professionals to assist with training
- Business ethics & leadership training/seminars
- Long term ministry teammates (Haiti based) for youth transition program &/or business management development.
PLEASE contact us directly to discuss project partnership, ministry opportunities further or to arrange for actual item donations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project financial DONATIONS can be made to International Hope & Heritage (IHH) with "Haiti IT Project" in the comments section.
Thank you for all of the ways that you walk this road with us -