As a part of an ongoing conversation about Haiti and the challenges we face in our fight against poverty, REBUILD globally has interviewed two members of the Orlando community who have championed and supported our cause from the very beginning. In these interviews we explore common misconceptions about Haiti, how to overcome them, and ways in which REBUILD globally can further its impact.
Our Community Partners
Dr. Case Thorp and Carol Hafer both represent the Missions and Evangelism team at the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (FPCO) and this past fall made their first trip to Haiti to visit the deux mains designs workshop and meet our team. FPCO has been a supporter of REBUILD globally from the very beginning and it was a huge privilege to finally host them at our home away from home in Port-au-Prince. During the three days that Case and Carol were in Haiti, they witnessed our production process, heard personal stories from our craftsmen about the journey leading up to their employment with deux mains designs, and experienced first hand what it means to be in a country that is generally defined by its challenges and failures, not by its opportunities and triumphs. REBUILD globally conducted “before and after” interviews that outlined their expectations, experience, and their biggest takeaways. Continue reading to hear about their journey!
Before: What are three words that come to mind when someone mentions Haiti?
Dr. Case Thorp: Corruption. Bill Clinton. Earthquake.
Carol Hafer: Poor. Corruption. Aid.
After: What three words would you now like to share that will help shift people’s perceptions on Haiti?
Dr. Case Thorp: Hope. Hard workers. The power of the gospel.
Carol Hafer: Hope. The Human Spirit. The Power of Opportunity.
What are your biggest takeaways?
Dr. Case Thorp: My biggest takeaway was how the spirit of Christ is so alive in that shop. The faith of the workers is openly praised and embraced and allows them to be more full humans especially because of the dignity, the fellowship, the community, and the way in which they are able to work and how the work produces goodness.
Carol: I think that biggest takeaways for me were conformation, reinforcement of the businesses mission model and just that your approach is the right way to help people. Another huge takeaway was the progress that has been made in such a short time. You have employed a lot of people and have done a lot of work in such a short time and a big takeaway was to see the ownership, pride, and work ethic that the craftsman had.
Has your view on poverty in Haiti changed?
Dr. Case Thorpe: I did gain a greater appreciation for how aid has done so much damage with an intent to do good and how an aid dependent society is perhaps sometimes even worse off than an impoverished society because it’s so much harder for entrepreneurship and hard work to breakthrough. I appreciate how intentional REBUILD globally is with thinking through this issues systematically so that then the shop itself, the workers, and the way in which they are paid helps them break that cycle and build solid middle class families.
Carol: I think that if you had any doubt about Haitians being hardworking that going over there would totally dispelled that. The have a real culture for looking out for each other.
REBUILD globally is committed to the sustainable development of Haiti and it is our responsibility to help shed a new light on Haiti, its culture, and its people. Yes, Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and many of its people live in unacceptable situations. And yes, charitable aid, especially following the earthquake in 2010, has been misused and has revealed corruption problems that exist in the political and social realms. However, Haiti is much much more than what is generally portrayed in the media. We would like to thank Carol and Case for sharing their thoughts and for allowing us to further understand what we have to do as a company to increase our impact.
REBUILD globally witnesses the hard work, the resiliency, and the passion the people of Haiti showcase everyday and we want to share this wonderful culture with the world. We will continue to educate our partners, supporters and our community about the Haiti that we know to be true through local partnerships and collaborations.