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  • Writer's pictureScara

How OWE Plans to Break the Cycle of Poverty at Damabiah

Updated: May 20

An Unsettling Reality: Violence and Political Unrest in Haiti

Lack of food, shelter, supplies, expertise, infrastructure, and civil unrest are only some of the massive challenges Haiti faces. The current situation in Haiti is bleak for most citizens. Moreover, the political uncertainty, broken economy, and gang violence has created an extremely unstable and frightening reality for the general population. Many educational systems, factories, and hospital systems have closed in the past year due to the gang interruption.

Scarcity of Opportunity and Resources:

In a healthy local economy, people can create goods or services, sell the product / provide the service, and thus, generate an income. In Haiti, most of the population cannot find paying work, which means there is no opportunity for a functioning local economy.

Economic Crisis & Inflation:

Job opportunities are minuscule, and those in the workforce are being paid, on average, $4 per hour, which equals out to a mere $160 dollars per week.

Over the past year, the cost of food, gasoline, and other necessary items have inflated by 100%+, so money buys less. For example, the bi-weekly food and supply deliveries OWE has been providing since January 2019 have gone from $500 every two weeks to about $1,000 every two weeks.

No spendable money = no opportunity to buy and sell goods / services.

So what is the solution?

Join the workforce? What work force!?

Businesses are lacking in Haiti; it is nearly impossible to get loan from a bank; and people are afraid to invest in Haiti because of its overall insecurity. The hatian economy is in many ways non-existent

Stay in school? But what school!?

Between April and May 2022, about 859 schools in Port-au-Prince revealed that 31% had been attacked by gangs, and over 50 of these schools had to close their doors to students due to the continued risk of violent attacks. Moreover, many schools have been completely occupied by gangs or are serving as temporary accommodation for families displaced by violence.

Run away? Where?!

It is very risky to travel from Haiti to the U.S. and other countries. Hundreds of Haitian migrants have died enroute to a better life. Migrant interdiction and mandatory detention are key components of U.S. policy toward Haitian migrants.

Rely on outside assistance?

Many communities have been supported by outside philanthropic organizations. When COVID hit and political unrest worsened in Haiti, many of these organizations discontinued their funding and programs (i.e. schools ran by philanthropic organizations were shut down, orphanages were closed, and hospitals stopped functioning).

This current system creates a cycle of dependency that is often detrimental. They are short term solutions and lack a plan to provide sustainability and independence.

Join a gang?

Gangs in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince are rounding up homeless and at-risk teens who are increasingly being used as foot soldiers in gang wars that have forced schools to close and engulfed neighborhoods. Unfortunately this is becoming the increasingly most advantageous option for desperate citizens.

The Bottom Line:

Solutions do not exist in the current Haitian reality.

We must help to create a new reality:

Connectivity is key:

Virtual connectivity will create new opportunities to expand community, access virtual learning programs, and create remote work opportunities for Damabiah Orphanage and its surrounding community.

OWE's 4-step process to break poverty cycle at Damabiah:

Step 1: Educate - Establish classes for english, business, & technology. (in progress)

Step 2: Virtual connectivity infrastructure - solar power expansion to support 20 person computer lab with wifi connectivity. (Est cost = $40,000)

Step 3: Remote work training - virtual education programs to learn marketable skills.

Step 4: Virtual work placement - Freelance work, & corporate partnerships to create paid positions for community adults.

This new reality will create new connections both locally and internationally.

Connections to other Haitians:

  • Local community

  • Bartering opportunities

  • Spiritual connectivity

Connection to new education sources:

  • WiFi to enable various educational programs

Connections to other economies:

  • Remote work for French speaking individuals

  • Freelance opportunities

  • Tech jobs / coding / programming / etc

  • English speaking support roles

  • Entrepreneurship

OWE’s Call to Action:

Our first milestone is to raise $40,000 for solar power expansion, a computer lab, wifi connectivity, and shipping logistics.

With your help we can create a new reality that will open up new opportunities for growth and prosperity for our community in Haiti.

To contribute to the cause, please click the button below.

Thank you for all of your love & support. 🙏

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