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Minute for Mission: Fair Trade Day

May 12, 2018

Cut metal artisan
Photo credit: Dottie Kelley

Haiti Education and Production Initiatives (HEPI) is a nonprofit organization begun in 2010 by members of the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery in South Carolina. Haiti had been a focus of the presbytery for a few years prior to 2010. HEPI’s foci are education for children and adults, and production. Creations of Hope is the production arm of HEPI.

HEPI supports Haitian men and women with the skills and marketing information to enable them to earn a living. Many people are familiar with the art that is created with 50-gallon oil drums. There are about 300 men in Croix des Bouquet creating products and HEPI works with about 50 of them. We provide advice about products that can be sold in the U.S., arrange for packing and shipping to South Carolina; and then sell the products through Creations of Hope. HEPI spends considerable time working with the women in LaChapelle who are learning to sew with electric sewing machines, knit, crochet and create Kumihimo braiding accessories. All products are paid for in full before leaving Haiti.

The presbytery has supported other work in Haiti as well. HEPI began working with Father Jean Jeannot Joseph, an Episcopal priest who is responsible for 17 churches and 14 schools in the Artibonite area of Haiti. Father Jeannot introduced us to the lay ministers of St. Michel’s Episcopal Church. The people of St. Michel wanted a building where they could worship in any kind of weather. Raising money to build a church was not a simple matter, but we persisted and the building now exists.

Our next project with Father Jeannot was the construction of St. Timothy’s Church/School in Boucan Carre. Raising money to construct a school was considerably easier than raising money for a church. HEPI continues to work at St. Timothy’s. We started a student sponsorship program where $20 a month provides children with uniforms and supplies and pays teacher salaries. In 2017 we constructed a kitchen so that the children would be given a hot meal before walking home from school.

Creations of Hope is one of the partners featured at the Global Marketplace sponsored by the Presbyterian Hunger Program at General Assembly this summer. Stop by their booth to learn more about this fair trade work in Haiti.

Dottie Kelley, Creations of Hope

Today’s Focus:  Fair Trade Day

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Catherine Lynch, PILP
Kathie Lyvers, PMA

Let us pray:

Holy God, thank you for leading us to our work in Haiti. It has been such a blessing to work with brothers and sisters in Christ who are loving and joyful. We have learned from these wonderful people that our time on earth is the temporary part of our existence. Our eternal life with you should be our focus.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 92; 149
First Reading Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29
Second Reading Ephesians 2:11-22
Gospel Reading Matthew 7:28-8:4
Evening Psalms 23; 114

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