Oasis of Hope
As many of you know, we have a documentary about our ministry and the kids in Haiti. It is a video description of what a normal day in their lives looks like (Click here to purchase tickets to the premier on May 21 at 7:00pm at Murray Hill Theatre) and it will be our first fundraising event in over a year!
The title of our documentary is "Oasis of Hope" and it describes the idea that our kids in Haiti are getting a lot of things that other children in that country are not able to find. Here are some things that seem to make All Things New an "Oasis of Hope" in Haiti.
- 3 meals per day. In Haiti, 50% of people are undernourished, 1 in 5 children are malnourished, 1 in 10 are acutely malnourished, and almost 8% of children will die before the age of 5. When we met the kids at ATN they were eating about 5 meals per week at the orphanage.
- School. Haiti's literacy rate hovers around 60% compared to the 90% average in Latin America. Less than 40% of children who start school will make it to 6th grade, and less than 1% will graduate from high school. Most of our kids are on track to graduate and every one of them will finish at least 9th grade (finishing this grade allows you into the best vocational schools).
- Electricity and shelter. Only about 11% of Haitians have consistent electricity. Most Haitians live in shelters that have been built with very little professional help and with very little concern for safety.
- Poverty. In 2020, Haiti ranked 170 out of 189 countries in the human development index, and I have to believe that number is worsening. 60% of the population survives on less than $2/day and at least 70% (if not more) work in the "informal" economy of Haiti. The Gross National Income (GNI) of Haiti is about 90% lower ($1500 compared to over $14,000) than the average Latin American country. We are working every day to figure out how to change this for our kids for the long-term.
Very, very few of us have ever had to truly live in "survival mode" for any extended period of time. The type of "survival mode" where you have no idea how you are going to eat, where you are going to live, and how you are going to change your situation. Every single one of the 22 children at All Things New along with the other 10 that we take care of have been there and lived that. They have known what it means to struggle to survive.
The funny thing is, hope for our kids did not come from 3 meals per day, good shelter, consistent schooling, or "financial peace." Sure, they stopped living in fear of not having those basic needs met, but that's called survival, not hope.
Especially in the beginning, when the kids were getting to know us and we were getting to know them, you could tell there was not a lot of trust. Over time, however, that trust was built and it became clear to them that we were there for them no matter what. They could mess up, do things that they shouldn't, and even get angry with us and we would still love them and we would still take care of them.
At some point, our kids started having actual, legitimate, HOPE. Maybe for the first time in their lives, they understood what it meant to think about their future. It is really great that we have been able to provide for their current physical needs, but it is a completely different phenomenon when you can begin thinking about your future and knowing that there is, at least potentially, something to look forward to.
Do not misunderstand the name or the point of the documentary and believe that we offer our kids hope by taking care of their physical needs. It is not true. We offer our kids hope because they have a future to look forward to and opportunities that they would have never had anywhere else.
Thank you for being a part of our story and one of the reasons that this documentary could be made and that it could be entitled "Oasis of Hope."
One of the main purposes of this blog and email is to hopefully communicate to everyone who reads it how important the upcoming Documentary/Fundraiser is to ATN. Due to the pandemic, we have not had a fundraiser in LaGrange or Jacksonville in over a year, so this fundraiser will be taking place in a few different venues over a few different nights. Our Premier event will be on May 21 at Murray Hill Theatre in Jacksonville at 7:00pm.
Here are the other opportunities for you to be a part of our documentary/fundraiser this year:
- A virtual option the night of the event (details TBA later)
- Saturday May 22 at Arlington Baptist Church in Jacksonville.
- Sunday May 23 at First Baptist Church in LaGrange, GA.
- Wednesday May 26 at Clearview Chapel in LaGrange, GA.
- RiverTown Church TBA