Job Training

Haitians are intelligent and resourceful people, but extreme poverty has made regular school attendance rare. Fewer than 30% ever reach 6th grade, yielding a shortage of skilled labor and an overabundance of unskilled labor. And so, the poverty extremes persist. In Colminy, a random sampling in 2015 indicated that entire families, averaging 5 people each, exists on just $2/day.

Employment, as Americans know it, barely exists in Haiti. Life without a job is an all-day, every day struggle to turn something – anything – into cash or barter. For Colminy residents, that’s usually the tiny tomatoes, peppers, and onions gleaned from their depleted garden plots, then sold at city street markets among scores of others vending the same things.

HHC Solutions for Colminy

Fortunately, Haiti is also a land with great potential, a land where business people, teachers, medical personnel, skilled craftsmen, etc., working together, can overcome its greatest challenges – not with handouts, but by investing in Haiti’s people with training and employment. 

In a small way HHC has begun resolving the undereducated and unemployment problems in Colminy, changing the economic outlook for its eager young men and women by linking with Haitian organizations that provide skill training.

HHC has sponsored six young adults for training in construction skills through Extollo International. Collectively, they’ve learned to lay concrete floors, build block walls, install electricity, and weld. This equips them for a lifetime of employment, forever improving their lives and those of their families and community while rebuilding Haiti to earthquake and hurricane standards. HHC funds these student’s tuition and transportation to and from Extollo. Once graduated, they first work for HHC to improve their community while earning the tools of their trades. Thereafter, they earn an income when working for HHC. It was these workers who built all of Colminy’s shaded water station. Next, we plan to support students through carpentry training whenever its offered. Following graduation, one excited young man exclaimed, “I’m beginning to believe in life!”

More recently HHC linked with Fonkoze, a highly respected 20+ year-old Haitian organization which, among other things, trains adults (mostly women) in micro-business management. This course was offered to Colminy’s adults in November, 2018. Fonkoze provided workbooks with illustrations and accounting charts to complete. The instructor asked questions, wrote their responses on a blackboard and encouraged discussion. On the last 2 half-days, she took them on field trips to observe and critique existing micro-businesses. In the end, 12 participants had successfully learned to determine and manage marketing and strategy, pricing and competition, ROI (return on investment), etc. In February, we’ll check to see if any have started a new micro-business and/or have increased their incomes since taking it.

Amazingly, none of the students seem interested in accepting a micro-loan from Fonkoze. Instead, this course seemed to provide the impetus to form Village Savings and Loan Associations, something we’ve promoted but had failed to generate enough interest. Several are now anxious to begin! If that interest holds until February, HHC will help them organize and provide an overseer (as they requested), until they are able to proceed on their own.

HHC has ideas that can potentially create or add to existing microbusinesses. Nevertheless, we’re always opened for others’ ideas and/or training in various crafts and income-producing skills. We encourage anyone with know-how and abilities to join us on a short-term mission to teach these skills.

What Colminy’s women say they need most now are not hand-outs, but JOBS. We agree! So we’re especially seeking a successful Christian business person (or people) willing and able to invest in for-profit job creation and economic development initiatives – a proven way to make a long-term, sustainable difference. Businesses and jobs empower families and communities in a dignified way, and cause a powerful ripple effect. (For more info on “Business as Mission” refer to the book list below.)

Business as Mission books

  • Charity Detox, by Robert D. Lupton
  • Walking with the Poor, by Bryan Myers
  • My Business, My Mission: Fighting Global Poverty through Partnerships, by Doug Seebeck & Timothy Stoner
  • Tent Making: Business as Missions, by Patric Lai
  • Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Missions, by Steven Rundle & Tom A. Steffen
  • The Missional Entrepreneur, by Mark Russell

HHC [recently] sent 2 young Colminy farmers for 3-weeks of intense agricultural training. “We had an amazing time. We saw so many things we never knew before!” one commented. ASAP they hope to start a demonstration garden, where the entire community can’t help but see its success and ask how they can get the same results.  Success with replication …that’s exactly what Colminy needs to increase their incomes and end food insecurity!  Four hundred fruit trees will provide a great start to a magnificent “food forest!” 

HHC also sponsored 3 farmers to attend a day-long Food Forest Seminar. We are looking forward to hearing how this also enlarges their vision.