Unsurprisingly, we find that the people of Camp Marie are not too unlike ourselves! They want not just to survive, but to thrive. They want a better life for their families and their children. They want to build a stronger Haiti - the land of their passion. And they want not just to be in the ranks; they want to be at the helm of all that it takes to achieve their dreams. They do not want a handout; they want a hand up. They know that the road is long and that it involves much: education and training, hard work and personal sacrifice, strong leadership, and a wholehearted trust and reliance on God. In as much as we show a desire to work alongside them towards a mutual goal, they are eager to welcome us into their midst.
In our conversations with the Camp Marie community, we have, together, identified some key needs that emanate beyond the town to include the entire region and country:
Teamwork and leadership skills
A place for community activities
Disaster preparedness and shelter during times of disaster
Project Living Hope’s four key areas of job skills training, community development, athletics, and disaster preparedness will directly address the community's self-assessed, current needs.
Already, we have launched a youth sports program at Camp Marie to tackle the need for teamwork and leadership skills as well as Christlike mentors. We have also begun an English language training program, as English is a valuable skill for securing employment in Haiti. These two programs already have grown widely popular, causing a demand for more coaches, adequate soccer fields, English teachers, and classrooms.
Project Living Hope has a vision to begin various vocational training programs in the coming years. There is a clearly defined need in the region for skills in culinary, masonry, welding, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and agriculture. Successful training in these skills will require both classrooms for the academic portion and also a kitchen and shop for hands-on practical application.