On Monday, January 21st, Many Hands was thrilled to see the opening of the First Thousand Days Program at our newest campus in Maliarette, Haiti. The day was clear and beautiful as the moms and children, ages 0-12 months, approached the Equipping Center. One could feel the nervous excitement as the staff interacted with the families, explaining how to use their name badges and showing them where the activities would take place.
The first day was deemed a success by all. Craig Gabhart said, “Everything is going so smoothly! It seems as though this program has been running for a whole year – not a single day!”
As the week progressed, the program participants quickly adapted to the sign-in methods and the meal schedule. Moms gathered to help each other with a new vitamin regimen for themselves and the children.
As playtime and toys were introduced – a spirit of community and sharing was evident in the way the families interacted.
“I see this program running very well. The women are interested [in what is being offered here]! They’re coming on time. They’re doing the [volunteer] service. They’re very interested.” – Gelene, Program Assistant
Liz Clarke, Education Manager, says, “We believe that every child in this age group deserves to be fed and deserves a healthy start to life. We know the foundations of that are food and a healthy spiritual life and home life. [Such as] a safe home and healthy family, which we can’t provide, but we can provide food and medicine. And we can provide an environment where people can at least encounter God and encounter Truth and His love. Whether they choose to experience that in a way to bring it back to their own homes – we can’t control that. But hopefully there can be an impact that’s made in this environment that will be life-transformative.
“I’m just reflecting on that, had it not been for the people [who came] before me, then this [program in Maliarette] never would have even existed and God knew that. So it’s just a continuation of the process that God started a long time ago with Many Hands and this desire He put in us to serve children in this age group. We are excited about the chance we have, not only to have such a healthy program, but that we can multiply it and continue to bring this life-transformative opportunity to other communities.
“I’m sure, as time goes, we will continue to build and make it better – more effective in terms of how we reach people in love so that they can grow in love; understanding who God is and understanding how to love one another. So, essentially, [this will be] a place where community can be built. And we hope it to be a Christian community where people can experience God and can experience love and be loved.
“As the worship song we sang this morning said, ‘All the glory for Jesus.’”