Haiti has a little place in the hearts of the Clyde community.
The Clyde Christian Bible Church is organizing Heart for Home Haiti April 8, a fundraiser dinner and variety show at the Clyde Community Hall to help fund a vocation school in Port Salut, Haiti.
After a devastating earthquake rocked the island country in 2010, Clyde Christian Bible Church’s pastor Chris Lantz was concerned with the devastation and the church donated to the relief efforts.
Not long after, Lantz’s old Bible school classmate, a Haitian named Ricot Leon who was deserted as a child, approached him with his vision to build a vocational school for other orphans in Port Salut, Haiti.
In 2013 the church organized the first Heart for Home Haiti fundraiser for the school and Leon’s foundation, Heart for Home based out of Calgary. The charity is funded out of partnerships with ministries, businesses and individuals.
“When children come out of the orphanage, there’s no place for them to go and no education for them,” said parishioner Dennis Carbert, whose wife Barbara is organizing the Clyde fundraiser.
Barbara, who performs with the Rotary Dinner Theatre and sings at churches, came up with the idea to put on a variety hour, with volunteers from the church supplying food and beverages.
The evening will top off with entertainment from Rotary Dinner Theatre performers, a chorus, as well amateur singing, musical and comedy acts.
The supper starts at 6 p.m. to be followed by entertainment at 7:45.
“My wife runs around the theme of chilli and salads, not really a Haitian meal but down to basics, simple food to portray a little bit of the Haitian lifestyle,” he said.
Tickets are $20 a plate at the door, plus silent auction items. All proceeds will go to the vocational school.
The goal is to raise between $3,000 to $5,000 from Saturday’s fundraiser.
Carbert said the church went to Port Salut in 2013 to prepare 12 acres of land and dig a drainage ditch for the site, and he and his wife went down in 2015.
He explained that most of their job is to raise money, quoting another local humanitarian Leo Seguin of Rainbow for the Future, “It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up.”
“The Haitian people do most of the building themselves because they’re tremendous bricklayers and rock masons,” he said. “They have outstanding workmanship there.
“The point is it’s their country. We’re just trying to help them get going.”
Various churches go down to help on different phases of the project, some who have recently completed the washrooms, showers and septic systems.
The next phase is to start on the building, but Carbert said it’s a matter of funding. The project hit a setback when Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 cyclone, directly hit the area and killed up to 1,600 Haitians.
“After the hurricane last October, the building fund was depleted,” he said. “Some of the funding that was earmarked for the construction went out into the community and helped the community rebuild their modest homes.”
Ricot Leon, the founder of Heart For Home said there is transitional centre in place that will be able to host up to 50 students in the dormitories. Currently four students are attending the centre.
Leon said in the 2016-17 year, the students will take five basic courses: technical agriculture (and animal husbandry); English as a second language; theology; driver’s aid and computer literature. Electives are also offered for business and accounting, power tools, auto mechanics, and home economics.
“When the technical school is operating, students from the community and surrounding (area) will have the option to pay for the trades available: electrical, plumbing, masonry, mechanic, etc.,” Leon said. “Such will help with subsidizing the operational cost for teachers and other bills.”
The cost per individual is $1,200 U.S. per year, which is initially raised through sponsorship. Revenue from the student’s crops and products will be divided into a student trust, teacher salaries, and future student subsidies.