Our Story

 

In 1984, a Haitian man named Emmanuel Alexandre was sent to Gonaives, Haiti, to be a missionary supported by the Pleasant Valley church of Christ. Around this time, a group of doctors and health personnel from Little Rock, Arkansas, began annual medical relief visits to Gonaives that year to help and encourage his work. These events linked the Pleasant Valley church and several of its members to Haiti, which paved the way for the establishment of Haiti Christian Development Project.

Mecical Care

For several years these medical relief visits to Gonaives, Haiti continued. Overtime, the medical work team was overwhelmed with requests by local Haitians for educational assistance. For the cycles of poverty to be broken and families to be taken care of, the local people needed to be trained themselves how to look after medical needs and start successful businesses. To meet the Haitian government’s requirement for benevolent work, the Haiti Christian Development Project (HCDP) was founded in 1990 as a 501(C)(3) non profit organization.

Shortly after, the Gonaives Christian School was begun and by 2003, the new campus was completed as the school became self-supporting. Currently, over 1400 students, grades 4-12, attend the facility which has distinguished itself as one of the most competitive and outstanding institutions in the city.

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In 1999, another man from Haiti named Pacius Gueston joined our team. Orphaned at a very young age, he was raised by a nun in Haiti who helped to instill in him values, a strong desire for education, and a tremendous work ethic. Pacius would eventually be baptized into the church, educated on development in the United States, and move back to Haiti to help his people. During his time in the United States, Pacius met Dr. David Smith, a founding member of HCDP. David was moved by Pacius’ story and desire to move back to his country to work for his people, so he asked Pacius if he would consider partnering with HCDP in Gonaives, the city where Pacius grew up. After David and Pacius struck a partnership, Pacius immediately set to work building a development farm that could be used to teach others near his home important development skills. In the following year, the Bois Marchand teaching center began. Scores of farmers and other Haitians seeking training have come there to learn appropriate agricultural technology and animal husbandry.

At the teaching center, important techniques including organic gardening, drip irrigation, and animal husbandry are taught freely to those who want to receive an education. A variety of animals are raised on the farm including goats, chickens, turkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits, and cattle. Once animal care has been taught and demonstrated, these animals are often bred to pass on to the surrounding villagers so they can begin keeping there own livestock.

Defeating Cholera

In addition to agriculture, water conservation and purification techniques are taught to the local people. HCDP has even sponsored a community health worker to visit surrounding villages and give the instruction of water sanitization, among other critical health promotion skills.  Strategically located wells are drilled, water purification tools and methods are passed along, and recently our first rainwater harvesting system was implemented in order to provide Haitian villages with a clean water supply. These campaigns have been especially important in recent years as outbreaks of cholera, spread by contaminated water, continue to plague the people.There were 352,033 cases and 2,927 deaths in 2011, and the number of cases in 2013 in Haiti was more than the rest of the world’s put together.

In 2004 a micro-credit program was begun. Starting with only 15 participants, this program grew and in 2009 involved more than 165 individuals. With an emphasis on training and accountability, more than 99% of the participants have been successful. In addition to the basic business training, weekly group discussions have provided additional training in literacy, Bible knowledge, health, and family life. This program has had an enormous impact on women, who have developed trade skills and found renewed dignity in their education. Along with improved economics, there has been a notable improvement in the health, education, and nutrition of the entire family units.

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We continue to pray as an organization that these improvements lead families on a never ending journey to know Christ and improve all of their relationships because of it.

In May of 2015, Harding University graduate Kolton Thomas joined HCDP as a project manager to begin exploring new projects and improvements for the organization. Together with the board of directors and Pacius Gueston, the organization continues to build upon a strong foundation in Christ so that our friends in Haiti won’t simply have more, they will be more. And our hopes are high for Haiti that they will continue on the path toward healthier families and a growing, thriving, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.

Thanks for reading about our history. Please continue to pray for our organization and donate today to support our development projects in the Artibonite Valley region of Haiti.