Haiti & Giving Back
Our Commitment to Education in Haiti
"We are blessed to be a blessing." It's a phrase I'd often heard but hadn't seriously considered until meeting Pastor Samuel Metelus in Haiti in 2012.
We first met in the rubble of the earthquake that had decimated Port-au-Prince two years earlier yet still littered the streets. Sam was caring for 50+ children orphaned in the quake while helping his father rebuild the church he pastored in downtown Carrefour. In that encounter, Dave and I realized just how blessed we were simply by virtue of where we lived, the education we'd been provided, and the friends and family who surrounded us, and we felt compelled to give back.
Between 2012 and 2016, we returned to Haiti 15 times to visit Pastor Sam, and even moved there for three months in late 2015-16! At the end of our extended stay, we returned to our church in Irvine, California with a plan (developed in partnership with Sam and his team) to create financial sustainability for the children's home and Sam's growing church in the south of Haiti. The vision was God-sized… to not only provide financial security but to change Haiti's trajectory by educating and inspiring the country's youth to become future leaders and world-changers through education. Together, we and Sam and Mariners Church embarked upon a five-year effort to fundraise for and build Collège Lumière, a premiere private school for grades pre-K through 13.
In 2021, despite Covid and all its challenges, we succeeded in raising the $1.5 million USD required to build, staff, and open this incredible school. Situated on 7.5 acres of farmland in Torbeck outside Les Cayes, Collège Lumière is 90% completed as of March 2022. Though construction continues on the science building and library, the school has opened its doors to its first 350 students! When finished, it will be 100% Haitian-owned and operated and will educate 1,000 students annually, providing more than 50 full-time jobs and serving as a symbol of hope and opportunity in the community.
Giving Back Is a Make & Made Fiber Crafts Priority
Make & Made Fiber Crafts is proud to donate 5% of its annual profit to supporting education in Haiti. Once construction of Collège Lumière is complete and enrollment is sufficient to support 100% of its programs (estimated to be in late 2022 or 2023), Make & Made Fiber Crafts will transition its financial support to scholarships to benefit local students who can't otherwise afford to attend.
In the future, Pastor Samuel and I have discussed establishing a weaving studio and curriculum for the Collège Lumière Trade School (which will operate at night after regular school hours). The goal of this trade school is to provide further education for those students who don't go on to university in practical skills like plumbing, woodworking, electrical work, etc.