Strong Families, Strong Haiti
Updated: Feb 22
In October, we held our first virtual information session and shared why orphanages are not the answer in Haiti, and thus why ESPWA is no longer an orphanage. This month we are offering our next round of 90-minute interactive virtual sessions focused on THE answer - empowering and strengthening families. These sessions will be hosted by our Overture team members in the US and in Haiti.
Join us for one of three interactive info sessions in January during which we’ll dive deeper into what it means to empower and strengthen families in Haiti, including discussing topics such as:
the importance of role models for families
how Overture provides personal and vocational skills training to parents
how these skills and programs equip parents and children to stay and grow stronger together as a family
Here is a recap of our previous session:
Why ESPWA is no longer an orphanage.
This was our first virtual meeting so that supporters could get to know Overture a little better and engage in conversation about the misconceptions of orphanages in Haiti.
Click here to watch the Overture video
Key questions discussed:
Q: Were the children at ESPWA true orphans or not?
ESPWA operated as an orphanage for more than 20 years where hundreds of children lived in residency because their families could not provide basic supports such as education, nutrition, safe shelter, and medical care for their children. Most of the children had one or more living parents and the others had close family members willing to care for the child.
One of the key facts that we learned is that parents didn’t want to relinquish their child to the orphanage, but felt they had no other choice.
Q: Why and how were families separated?
This is a deep problem that drives our work. When parents lack the capacity needed to provide for their family, children are relinquished to orphanages, placed in another home to work (restavek), become street children begging for food, or have conflicts with the law and find themselves in prison.
Family separation is an outcome of generational poverty – it opens the door for orphanage owners and traffickers to take advantage of extremely vulnerable families and children.
Q: How does generational poverty effect families and communities?
Generational poverty has devastating effects on families:
Education is hindered
Families become more and more unstable
Opportunities are limited for parents and other role models to set a positive example for their children…the next generations
Click here to read more about the topics discussed in October’s session
This leads us to this month's information session:
STRONG FAMILIES, STRONG HAITI
Overture International is committed to helping build stronger families and our approach ultimately builds stronger communities and a stronger Haiti.
Our goals for families:
Prevent the separation of families! The best way to do that is...
Strengthen the family by enhancing their capacity and offering opportunities for everyone in the family...children, youth, and adults
With a desire to equip parents and children to stay and grow strong together as a family, we have created programs that strengthen families in their own communities with a strong emphasis on educational programs:
For children, we support schools and sponsor scholarships
For youth, we offer the Young Adult Empowerment Program
For parents and other adults in the family, we provide workshops, self-improvement courses, vocational and business training.
Education opens the door to more opportunities and leads to stable homes and communities!
Our programs are based on the following beliefs:
For a child to really thrive, they need a quality education and a loving family
Parents are the #1 role model in their children's lives – oftentimes Haitian parents underestimate their influence on their children and see themselves primarily as a caretaker and provider
Strong, united families are the key to a sustainable community
Where families are surrounded by a sustainable community and an independent economy, they are able to become self-sustaining and free from aid
Where there is economy, children and families can envision a future that holds true promise, and thus they become motivated and driven to reach their goals
Overture and its partners have a shared commitment to bring resources to vulnerable communities in a sustainable manner in order to break the cycle of poverty and aid dependency.
What do we mean by sustainable and why is it part of our mission?
For families and communities to become stronger, they need resources they can rely on. Resources that provide help in times of crisis and opportunities that help them build capacity to become self-sufficient.
That’s why at Overture, we focus on sustainability within our own organization first, through our staff. Our in-country staff are Haitian and live within the areas we serve. They deliver our programs that empower vulnerable families and communities to become self-sufficient with the capacity to meet their own needs.
Problems and solutions are best identified by those with a deep connection to the Haitian culture and mindset. So, as we empower our staff, they are able to empower their neighbors and communities to find solutions to their individual challenges. They work together with local Haitian leaders to identify local goals, objectives, and outcomes most desired by community members in Haiti.
Our five strategies help us carry out our programs and services consistently, no matter what situation is happening – natural disasters, political unrest, and even global pandemics!
We focus on the highest risk families and communities who are ready to solve their own challenges.
We guide impoverished families and communities in assessing their own problems, identifying their own resources and developing their own solutions.
Our desired outcome for all projects is permanency. Leading to the overall goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and aid dependence.
Whenever possible, resources are purchased locally to support the local economy and local workers are hired to gain new skills and income.
We seek partners with mutual goals to create synergy in helping families and communities meet their goals.
Families and communities that work with us are inspired by hope and the outlook of success. Our programs motivate families to improve their family situation, becoming a virtuous cycle that benefits the entire community.
Working towards sustainability requires everyone to commit to long-term goals that require time, presence, and patience. At Overture, we are committed to serving families and communities for as long as it takes to build a STRONG HAITI!
How can you help?
Pray for our families, their communities and our staff.
Support our cause by spreading the word and getting involved in fundraising projects.
Help fund our programs that empower families and communities:
Family Empowerment Workshops in vulnerable communities
Scholarships for children
Farm Support for food and economic security
Business training and business startup support
Safe and secure housing
Strengthening families and communities is more difficult now than ever before. Will you step up and step in?