Together with our partners, HRI serves children and families impacted by extreme poverty or natural disasters who lack nutritious food, clean water, education, sanitation, and transformational opportunities (N.E.S.T.).
HRI is responding to crisis, building resilience and creating opportunities that treat and prevent the short and long-term effects of hunger and malnutrition for vulnerable families, institutions, schools and communities.
Extreme poverty coupled with lack of access to clean water, decent sanitation, good hygiene practices and poor education are the most common root causes of widespread hunger and malnutrition throughout the world. HRI is actively implementing a holistic approach to tackle these contributing factors as we strive to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. HRI nutrient-rich meal programs, combined with medical support, access to clean water and education, and trainings on nutrition, sanitation and hygiene ensure people no longer suffer from the various effects of hunger and that they receive the basic nutrition they need to learn, grow and thrive.
HRI’s approach moves beyond providing nutritious food alone; HRI removes the distress of where the next meal might come from by providing families with the tools to adequately plan for months and years to come so they can break the cycle and minimize their risk of hunger and malnutrition, which often results in the abandonment of children in orphanages.
HRI personalizes its approach for each family, institution, school and community based on individual needs, culture, assets, gifts and dreams. Whether it is home gardens for rural families or vertical gardens in urban cities, HRI teaches caretakers how to grow fresh, healthy food for both personal consumption and to sell at market.
N.E.S.T. OVERVIEW YEAR-TO-DATE
Here is a brief overview of the N.E.S.T. work we accomplish together with our partners daily:
➢ The past few years HRI significantly improved the nutritional content of the food we distribute to the orphanages and schools we serve as proper nutrition is critical during child development.
Orphanages now receive:
○ Wheat Flour
○ Salted Fish
○ Clean Water
Schools now receive:
○ Atole (highly nutritious local form of oatmeal)
➢ Clean water continues to be a primary focus for all institutions and communities we serve. In some areas, we are able to dig proper water wells to provide safe drinking water. However, in many areas, the water tables are either contaminated, the water too salty for consumption, or not sufficient, in which case it becomes necessary to buy water and have it brought in.
➢ HRI provides medical support as well as sanitation, hygiene and nutrition trainings to benefit 1,500 children and staff in HRI supported orphanages. Trainings benefit several schools and communities we work in as well.
➢ In addition to basic food, water and medical care, HRI leads many life transforming trainings, projects, programs and opportunities that benefit the children. We work with each orphanage, school and community to identify their greatest needs and then work with their primary sponsor(s) to complete each goal. Building dorms, latrines, installing clean water systems, water filters, buying new beds/blankets, building activity centers, summer camps, computer workshops, holiday parties are just a few.
➢ The latrines built by some of our missions teams are vital as women and adolescent girls now have a place to grow and mature with privacy, dignity and self-esteem.
➢ HRI hosts invaluable trainings to women in rural Guatemalan villages. One training is on administering first aid. As a result of one of the trainings, two women saved the life of a man who fell from a bridge and sustained potentially life-threatening injuries. These trainings not only save lives until the victim or patient is able to receive professional medical attention in the city, but they also help build self-esteem for the women and youth. We are currently looking at establishing several small groups to provide basic first aid in small villages who lack medical care; these brigades would be properly trained and equipped with useful tools, so they can help until other aid arrives.
➢ HRI continues to assist when disasters strike, like Volcan Fuego that devastated Guatemala. HRI provided assistance to families beyond the epicenter who lost everything.
TRANSITIONING TEENS TO INDEPENDENCE
HRI helps youth living in orphanages integrate back into society with a plan, hope and confidence. For far too long, teens who age out of institutions when they reach 18 years old leave hopeless, struggling to survive on their own. Most have spent two thirds or more of their young lives in an orphanage where everything is provided for them. When they reach 18, teens are suddenly on their own or thrust back to the impoverished families who abandoned them long ago – unable to support themselves. Many children end up being dumped back to the streets to fend for themselves once they reach legal age.
Hunger is a daily reality for children and families in Haiti. Children go to school hungry, not knowing if there will be food on the table when they get home. Parents go to work with little energy, fearing they may not earn enough to support their family with basic necessities. It is then that parent(s) in Haiti often abandon their children in orphanages. In fact, over 80% of the 30,000 children in orphanages in Haiti today are actually “economic orphans”, meaning their parent(s) cannot afford to raise them, so they are abandoned at orphanages.
This cycle has been the norm for far too many generations in Haiti. Many times, teens aging out of orphanages repeat the cycle they grew up in, eventually leaving their children in an institution too due to extreme poverty.
HRI aims to stop this chronic cycle of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and abandonment. We do not abandon the children in the orphanages we support a second time in their life. Instead, we work with each of the older orphaned teens individually to help them integrate back into society and achieve self-sufficiency through psychosocial support, life-skills education and micro-enterprise training. When teens age out, our goal is for them to leave institutionalized care with the skills they need to lead independent, fruitful and dignified lives.
Job creation is an important element for long-term success. HRI provides training, micro-loans, and ongoing support, enabling teens to launch their own small businesses to generate consistent income.
TRANSITIONING TEENS TO INDEPENDENCE OVERVIEW YEAR-TO-DATE
A handful of teen orphans close to aging out of the orphanages (almost 18 years old) have become ideal examples of how business training, start-up support, mentorship and encouragement goes a long way. Thanks to their sponsors, these teens in the small business program have developed avenues for self-sufficiency, dignity and hope for their future. They are doing extremely well, showing great initiative and will be ready to move out with dignity and hope once they turn 18.
➢ Several of the older orphaned teens in HRI supported orphanages have undergone special trainings for small business development, finance and more.
➢ Thanks to their sponsors, 20 teens received small micro-loans to launch their own small business. This investment empowered the teens to work, make profit, save money and learn extremely valuable life skills to succeed independently.
➢ Several successful small businesses were launched and are profitable today, including:
○ Selling used clothing and shoes
○ Selling cell phone credit (which is how phones are used most in Haiti)
➢ Teens in the program have shown great initiative to grow their small businesses beyond the original plans. For example, one group of teen boys is saving part of their profits from their phone credit business so they can hopefully soon open up their own video game / arcade store where clients will come to play video games for a fee.
➢ One female beneficiary is about to move out due to her age. Thankfully, because of her sponsor who supported her start-up funds for her business, she will move out with a job, money saved and the ability to meet all of her personal needs without fear of what she will eat or where she will sleep.
BUILDING TEEN LEADERS
Entrepreneurship Program Provides Dignity, Hope & Futures
HRI believes we have a larger responsibility to see the children we support succeed beyond the orphanages. Investing in teen orphans empowers them to work, prosper and transition to independent living with dignity and hope.
HRI hopes to add 30 teens to this program very soon, including 15 teens about to age out of orphanages and 15 teens from the Children First community.
Just $250 sponsors the training and start-up supplies for one teen to launch their own small business. This gift will completely transform their life!