The Daughters at the Provincial House are very privileged this week to be hosting the board meeting of the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative, Empowering Haitians living in poverty.
Before the big earthquake in Haiti, the Vincentian Family was supporting individual business endeavors through micro-financed projects funded through Zafen. After the earthquake, four of the major branches of the Vincentian Family (The Vincentian Fathers, the Daughters of Charity, the Ladies of Charity and the St. Vincent de Paul Society) met to develop new approaches to address some of the socio-economic needs caused by the massive disaster. Utilizing the first hand knowledge and expertise of their membership in Haiti, these groups formed the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative. The organization is now comprised of four distinct approaches to alleviating poverty:
Zafen: an internet based mechanism to generate capital for entrepreneurs who lack traditional sources for loans and to support beneficial social projects.
Vincentian Social Businesses: Currently VFHI supports three businesses:
- The Sewing Guild has 175 women involved in sewing various items that they sell.
- With support from Caritas and ASHUADE (Asociación Humanitaria de Ayuda al Desarrollo), the VFHI was able to build a bakery, La Espiga, that will eventually employ 60 local people.
- A fish farm (Tilapia) which will enable employment from maintaining the ponds to breeding and harvesting the fish, to the sale to markets, restaurants and families.
Chemen Lavi Miyò (CLM), “Pathway to a Better Life” Program: This program is for female-headed households who “carry the economy of Haiti on their backs.” It is an 18-month program that provides close support and training that enables the poorest women in the area to upgrade their living conditions, become food secure, enroll their children in school, and learn a vocation to create a sustainable income.
School Consortium: The VFHI Education Program is a two-pronged project that seeks to provide a hot meal to 3,500 children in fourteen schools and to raise the level of education in each school through teacher training.
For more information on the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative or to make a donation, please visit their website: www.vfhi.org