Rethinking an FIH Orphanage… But Continuing to Support the Children

Things are changing rapidly concerning Forward in Hope and the orphanage.  On a recent trip to Haiti, Paula Mulqueen met with government officials in Les Cayes concerning our quest to obtain a license for the boys in our care and ultimately for the orphanage and community school we planned to develop with this in mind.  She received news from this official that the person we hired as caretaker and director for the children was also working for another non-governmental organization (NGO) and his ultimate aim was to build the orphanage on his own land under the auspices of their support.  The official who spoke with Paula expressed his consternation over this and cautioned us to discontinue any further support.  He said that he has no intention of providing a license to us at this time, thus giving us the additional impetus we needed to pull out of an already undesirable situation.

At the same time this was occurring Paula made the acquaintance of a woman who has a social service agency in Les Cayes and provides services for the children of Fon Frede.   This woman expressed a strong interest in working with us in the future and reassured us that the boys we had until recently supported are part of her service area and could continue to be provided for, although in a somewhat different manner.  During their discussions, she and Paula agreed that it would ultimately serve the Fon Frede community better if we changed our focus somewhat to one of a children’s community and education center in order to support entire families in developing their children into responsible adults.  She feels that there are far more opportunities in Haiti currently for the children who reside in orphanages than there are families with children who remain in their own home.

Our next step has been to consult with Pam Reidy, who is the founder of the Worcester NGO called Spirit of Hope for Haiti.  She has provided us with much needed encouragement and guidance in moving through this change.  Thus we are moving forward, though with a slightly different direction in mind. We are not yet sure exactly how this initiative will develop as we are only in the planning stages but its appeal for the children of this rural area in Haiti, and for ‘our’ boys is plausible and heartfelt.