I never anticipated that a mission trip to Haiti in March of 2011 would be the catalyst of God using my passions, education, and faith to develop The Sustainable Hope Project. It has amazed me to see how clearly God has directed my path; although I feel ill-equipped, the Lord has provided for me to pursue this project every step of the way. A need I identified in Haiti was later investigated for a research paper in an environmental public policy course, giving me a starting point for this project. My ideas were then molded and refined by wise professors, proposed to the Caswell Leadership Fellows board, and are now an organized effort to help the people of Titanyen, Haiti. My hope is to provide sustainable waste management for Mission of Hope and the community of Titanyen by sponsoring a recycling collection center to be placed in Titanyen.
Why recycling? Because in Haiti, there aren’t garbage collectors who come to people’s homes to pick up their trash. People are considered blessed if they even have a home, considering 80% of people live below the poverty line and 40% are unemployed. The majority of municipal waste is burned or dumped in the ocean, if dealt with at all. Trash fills villages, hillsides, entire valleys, and canals. Waterways clogged with trash cannot flow properly, providing breeding grounds for bacteria and disease, and causing flooding when storms occur. People who chose to burn their trash are continually filling the air with cancerous particulates, ultimately hurting their health, and decreasing the health of local livestock.
While in Haiti, I noticed the majority of the trash that littered the land and canals was plastic products. Plastic which could be recycled into new products. Little did the people of Haiti know that one of their many burdens could in fact generate income! Non profit organizations, such as Ramase Lajan, have developed businesses models which provide plastic and metal waste management, thousands of jobs, and hope for communities that recycling centers are placed in.
It’s my goal to provide the people of Titanyen & Mission of Hope with sustainable waste management which will benefit their environment, health, and economy. I plan on partnering with Ramase Lajan to place a center in Titanyen. This a daunting task requires me to secure land for the center, raise $25,000 in funds, and find people in Haiti to permanently oversee the center. Although I am dedicated to this project until the funds are raised and the center is installed, I must set goals which can be completed by the end of my Caswell Fellowship program. Because I am not sure if fundraising will be complete by May 2013, I also hope to develop a curriculum for Mission of Hope teachers to educate their students about the importance of recycling and sustainable waste management.
I ask for your prayers, that God provides me with a mentor for my Caswell Program and provides the funds for this project to be completed with His timing. I cannot wait to see God’s glory displayed through this venture!