Many Hands is excited to announce the construction of a third Equipping Center in Haiti. Jean Boule, two miles northeast of the main Sylvain campus, is the newest location for the center. Programs will focus on the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life, offering support to both the mother and the child through the First 1,000 Days program.
Tim Brand, CEO at Many Hands, said, “This provides daily feedings, health checks, educational opportunities, and spiritual development for attendees. It [the center] also is the base of operations for future community development, including safe homes, leadership development, power to the parents, and educational support.”
Brand said, “These Equipping Centers allow us to close the gap between us and those we serve, by physically being in their community on a daily basis. We’ve seen how this can work in our previous two communities, and we are excited to be able to add this third location to reach more people.”
A construction crew starts digging the foundation.
Because a primary mode of transportation in Haiti is on foot, Many Hands’ hope is for the center to be accessible to the people it serves. The ‘zone’ of Jean Boule is a combination of five small communities. Christi Gabhart, Director of Benevolence at Many Hands said, “According to Many Hands Haitian management staff, this is a zone that has not benefited from an outside organization.” The Many Hands team created community assessments to determine this location such as water availability and demographic makeup of families. Gabhart noted, “The zone of Jean Boule [has] an abundant number of young families, which translates to many pregnancies and babies, which is our target in this program.”
Over the last five years, Many Hands has seen the effectiveness of these Equipping Centers in strengthening families. In an interview about the First 1,000 Days program in Sylvain, Haiti, Jean Ronel Joseph, a Many Hands Chaplain in Haiti said, “According to what people said, we would have a lot of malnourished kids, they used to die malnourished, and that would continue. But now because of Many Hands being here, we don’t have any cases of malnutrition in Sylvain.
The land sits at the foot of a mountain.
The Jean Boule center hopes to serve 90 people in the first year. Brand said, “Over the next five years, it is our desire to walk with these families through pre-school and kindergarten, encompassing another 75 children. When it is all said and done, that will be 335 direct people.” Many Hands also plans to add concrete floors to families’ homes, which would serve around 1,500 people.
There are many needs in this new community that have been brought to attention. This new equipping center will focus on the areas of pre and post-natal care, creating a strong foundation for children born into our families, safe homes, and educational support. Christi Gabhart shared the heart behind this choice, “When you spend all your energy day after day just figuring out how to get the next meal for your family, there is little energy or desire left for a big plan for the future. This is where [Many Hands] hopes to be able to ‘hold the vision’ for the development and growth of these precious children so that one day, the goals for each day can go beyond survival.”
The community praying during a preliminary community meeting held by Many Hands at a local church.