For seven years, we have been traveling to Haiti and immersing ourselves in the eclectic culture. We have been working with a remarkable woman, Marie Jo Poux, a retired nurse, who runs Foyer Espoir Pour Les Enfants (FEPE) Orphanage. Marie Jo has dedicated her life to rebuilding her country through education, one child at a time. The idea of FEPE (which means A Home of Hope for the Children) from Marie Jo herself, “is to raise children to be better citizens of tomorrow by loving them, providing them education, health and teaching them what is in the world also.”
During this time FEPE has been funded fully by donations. Imagine the reality of having no idea how you will feed 40+ children and their caregivers when mealtime is in two short hours. Marie Jo can provide you with countless accounts of how God has provided when there was nothing left to do but trust Him.
Understanding this, we have struggled with how can we help?What can we do to create a sustainable, monthly income for FEPE so that Marie Jo does not have to continually beg for money and rely on donations?
On an early December morning, as we sat in the yard of the orphanage enjoying hand-brewed Haitian coffee while watching the beauty of God’s creation rise and say hello, the idea came to us. A way to not only help the orphanage, but also just as importantly, a way to help the local economy and hundreds of local farmers.
In the late 18th century, Haiti supplied half the world’s coffee. Even as late as the mid-20th century, Haiti was the third largest coffee exporter in the world. All of the coffee grown in Haiti is high-end Arabica used in gourmet coffees around the world. Haiti’s coffee is particularly unique as the growing methods have not changed for over three hundred years allowing the plants to remain characteristically unchanged.
With this resource of unique, organic Arabica coffee right at our fingertips, The Giving Spot emerged. A coffee company that features 100% Haitian coffee; a place that shares the exceptional coffee experience that we have enjoyed for seven years. And more importantly, a place that will assist Marie Jo in her mission to educate, love and teach the children of FEPE by giving 50% of all profits from the business to FEPE. A place that will assist in stimulating growth and prosperity in rural regions of Haiti. A place, that we soon realized, could do so much more…
We are starting small by focusing our energy and resources on the orphans of FEPE with hopes of making a broader impact on the thousands of orphans who call the streets of Haiti home.
Haitian children face a myriad of challenges. Lack of education due to extreme poverty tops the list of these challenges. Haiti’s literacy rate is about 61%, compared to the 92% average literacy rate for Latin America and Caribbean countries. There is a severe lack of educational supplies and qualified teachers. More than half of all the teachers lack adequate training, with many having no training at all, and only 15% of teachers at the elementary level have basic teaching qualifications and 25% have not attended secondary school. Without education, children become adults without proper knowledge or skills to join the workforce. This contributes to the staggering statistic of poverty in Haiti. 59% of Haiti’s population lives on less than $2 US per day.
In order to break this cycle, the orphans of Haiti must receive an education. Education will provide hope for the future. With knowledge and marketable skills, the next generation will step out of the swallows of poverty.
This is why we are committed to providing you the highest quality coffee Haiti has to offer while giving 50% of all profits to FEPE to fund quality education for the orphans of Haiti.
We do not want The Giving Spot to merely be a charity. It is not about providing handouts. It is about creating opportunities. A chance for the children of FEPE, and Haiti, to create a better future for themselves. It’s about education and what education can do for them and their country. But The Giving Spot is even more than that. It is about working with our partners to create educational opportunities and jobs to children and women and men around the globe. It is about fighting poverty and slavery and human trafficking. It is about dignity. It is about a life worth living. The Giving Spot creates a place for you to come and share in the human experience and make life a little better for so many people.
Our WHOLE family: John, Meagan, Ezra, Levi & Rosie (goddaughter who lives at the orphanage we help support) in Haiti, August 2016.