House of Hope I and II, Haiti
The Ecumenical Committee for Peace and Justice (COPJ) is a non-profit, ecumenical, Christian committee that sponsors House of Hope in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. House of Hope is a program that benefits children laboring as domestic servants, assists young moms, single girls, and a few elderly women who have been abandoned by providing them with a safe place where they can learn social skills such as conflict resolution and a professional trade. To date House of Hope also has a broader program to promote peaceful resolution of conflict within the community through leadership development for community leaders.
House of Hope started House of Hope II in 2007 in the areas of Carrefour-Feuilles and Lasaline, two shanty communities of extreme poverty within Port-au-Prince. Children of these communities are subject to a modern form of slavery and live in constant danger and threat of rampant violence. It is believed that the grave economic and social circumstances of these communities necessitate the urgency of immediate intervention to assist these children.
In general, 2008 was a good year considering the country’s difficulties, and COPJ was been able to accomplish most of their objectives for House of Hope.
To end homelessness among children – In order to accomplish this objective, a process of dialogue and exchange has been initiated through the following activities: a workshop on homeless children, a solidarity movement, and radio debates. The safety net has been strengthened for better results, even though funds are not available to send most of these adolescents to school.
To promote a culture of peace – This year focused on the towns of Lasaline and Carrefour-Feullies. During 2008, two seminars were held about peaceful conflict resolution and economic/social rights. Over 100 young people were reached with the two seminars, including 17 single teen mothers.
To shape good Christians and honest citizens – House of Hope has selected the theme “A good Christian should be a good citizen.” A plan has been implemented for the reading and study of the Bible and for basic instruction in order to develop a love for the country, respect for the environment, and the whole of God’s creation. They are learning that serving God and serving others go together as one cannot love God without loving others.
To take control of their lives – There is much focus on academic achievement with a 55 percent success rate on the State Exam. The teens at House of Hope also learn crafts such as sewing and crocheting. There is still plenty to do to completely accomplish the objectives. In 2008, House of Hope helped more than 90 adolescents living in poverty and modern-day slavery to go to school but there are many more children still unable to go to school. Approximately 17 single teen mothers learned to sew, crochet, and cook in 2008. Another 28 youngsters learned a profession and 27 abandoned elders lived with dignity.
The goal is for House of Hope I and II to reach complete sustainability. Staff and volunteers work hard everyday to fulfill this goal.