Haiti (MNN) ― Who taught you how to boil an egg? Or balance a checkbook? Was it a parent or other family member?
Tens of thousands of kids were orphaned in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti three and a half years ago.
For these kids, life goes on and their teenage years are fast approaching, if not already here.
But without the models of their parents, how will they learn independence?
Kids Alive International has a two-fold ministry providing housing and education to Haitian kids. “Our goal is to help them continue their education to complete primary school and move on to secondary school, but then also to give them skills that allow them to find employment as they become independent,” says Jeff VanDerMolen with Kids Alive.
Kids Alive recently got the funding for their first Independence Home. Three 18-year-olds will move into the new Independence Home later this year.
VanDerMolen explains, “This is kind of a half step out for the kids. They’re living under their own care but on our property, so under oversight of our staff. They’re living on their own, they’re cooking on their own, they’re beginning to be independent, and it’s a first step for them toward full independence.”
The recent funding also allows for a fifth Children’s Home in the Children’s Village. These Children’s Homes start with a set of “house parents” and then are filled with kids who have been orphaned, abandoned, or abused, composing a “family.”
“Many of them were from an area of Port-au-Prince…on the coast there that was affected by the earthquake,” says VanDerMolen. “As they lost families [and] homes, they really came from a situation where they had nothing. They’ve come into a stable location, they have parents who are with them every day, they’re going to school every day, [and] they’re working on their education. Their future has really changed.”
These families also have devotions and attend church, and several children have come to know Christ in the Children’s Village.
Growing up and finding a job in Haiti can be intimidating with 40% unemployment. It’s even harder if you’re part of the 74% who didn’t finish primary school.
Through Kids Alive, children are given job skills and encouraged to finish education. Ultimately, Kids Alive would like to build eight Children’s Homes and four Independence Homes in Haiti. Over 80 kids would live in the Children’s Village.
Pray for the kids and teens in the Homes. Pray for them to know God’s love through the ongoing care of Kids Alive.