Hope in Haiti
James Valdè has come a long way since we met him last year. Raised by an unemployed single mother in the crime-ridden slums of Cité Soleil, James and his siblings have had a very rough life so far. 16 year-old James often lived and worked the streets, begging for money and washing car windows, hoping to have enough pocket change to help feed himself and pay for his school fees. This dangerous work almost cost James his life last year when he was hit by a taptap—the local transportation. Thankfully, James received the necessary surgery, saving his leg and his life, due in large part to generous REBUILD donors whose contributions helped offset the costs of his medical care.
Now, James’ life is completely different. This year, he is a REBUILD Apprentice and enjoys a full academic scholarship along with artisan technical training and life skills classes on Saturday. At his weekly tutoring session, James works on his 6th grade math and language subjects. He is excited to be in school and knows what an amazing opportunity it is, “You can’t go anywhere in the world without school. You need it,” gushes James.
With the generous support of the Foundation for Hope and Grace, REBUILD globally is also able to address the root cause of James’ struggles: his mother’s unemployment. After obtaining a micro-loan for safer housing, James’ mother is now a full time artisan at the REBUILD shop. A portion of her salary goes toward paying off her loan—the rest goes home with her and her family.
The Valdès are an amazing example of the holistic approach REBUILD takes on community development when supported by entities such as the Foundation for Hope and Grace. We know that poverty, slavery, hunger, homeless children, and education are all huge problems in Port-au-Prince—we also know that all of these issues can be addressed by providing the opportunity for gainful employment and family reunification. By giving James an alternative to living on the streets and investing in his education; and the living-wage occupation of his mother, together, the Foundation for Hope and Grace and REBUILD have created a lasting and meaningful pathway out of poverty for their entire family.
Contributed by Julie Colombino of Rebuild Globally!