How is Haiti Different?

The ILP program in Haiti is similar to other ILP programs. You receive training, support, opportunities to serve, opportunities to travel…all of the essentials that past ILP volunteers have loved about their experience abroad. There are however a few ways that this Haitian program is unique from any other ILP location.

Your students are orphans. In all ILP schools, the children come from a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from lower to upper class. In neighboring D.R. the students are underprivileged and come from very little means. Haiti is very similar to that, but with a step further. All of your students will come from extremely limited means and are orphans. In addition to teaching all the children at the orphanage, children from the surrounding neighborhood will also have an opportunity to participate in ILP classes you teach.

You live at the orphanage. ILP volunteers will live on the top floor of the orphanage compound, children live on the bottom floor, and your Local Coordinator live in another wing of the orphanage building. It’s like one big family here and you’ll become part of it! This gives you an opportunity to spend much more time with the children you’re serving, even outside of classroom. Volunteers in every country commit to teach up to 20 hours per week, but if you’re looking for opportunities to spend even more one-on-one time with the kids, Haiti is the perfect place for you.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It’s likely that you’ve never seen poverty like you’ll find in Haiti. Natural disaster after natural disaster has left this country in ruins with the locals continually trying to get their most basic needs met. 4 out of 5 Haitians are homeless and/or struggle to find the next meal for their family. To put it into perspective…the unemployment rate in Haiti is more than double what it was during the Great Depression in the U.S. One of the most well known disasters was the earthquake in Haiti’s capital city in 2010. That disaster alone created nearly 1 million documented cases of cholera and nearly 100,000 are still without homes today, living in refugee camps. Many outside organizations have come into Haiti to give relief aid, but there is still great need here.

Exploring and travel is more limited for ILP volunteers. Likely linked to the poverty we just mentioned, infrastructure in Haiti is not the best to support travel and tourism. Roads, long-distance transportation, electricity, and public services necessary to accommodate travel and tourism are not always reliable. In other countries, volunteers are usually free to travel just about anywhere in-country within normal ILP travel rules. Our volunteers’ safety is always a top concern, and this is especially true in Haiti. Because of the infrastructure deficiencies, volunteers in Haiti will still be able to arrange travel as out of the country during vacation periods as normal (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Turks & Caicos, are just a few close by…), but travel within Haiti will be more limited and require additional support. You will be able to visit some of the main areas of interest (Such as Les Cayes or Cap Hatien) if travel to those areas is safe, but travel rules will be more restrictive to help keep you safe.

Get To Know The Orphanage

In 2001, Fritzner and Carole Morlant founded the orphanage “Foyer Coin des Cieux (FCDC) which means “Corner of Heaven Home”. The orphanage started out of necessity as Carole Morlant, a Social Worker, started accepting children into her home who were in the most desperate need of love and care. One by one, the Morlant household began to grow. As part of a need to expand, the couple applied for and obtained status as a formal orphanage in Haiti.

Most people in the world know about Haiti as a result of the devastating earthquake in 2010. What few may not realize was that prior to the earthquake there were over 250,000 orphans with an untold number more following the earthquake.

One of the most pressing needs for these children is education and as important, language. The key to success in Haiti is fluently speaking the English language. With educational needs met, these children have opportunities to be meaningful contributors in the grief stricken nation.

There are a number of individuals working to assist Foyer Coin Des Cieux. Ken & Coppelia were introduced to Fritzner and Carole as part of a missionary reunion for those that served in St. Marc. Ken Agle was the first LDS missionary in this city in 1983. His experiences there have never been forgotten. As part of a reunion for those that served in this area, Ken came and met with others including Carole Morlant, the organizer of the event. At that time, Ken saw the amazing work Carole and her husband Fritzner were quietly doing to help so many children in spite of their own challenging circumstances.

The obvious need has been great, but the Agles have also seen the potential opportunities as a result of their professional experience. The Agles work with hundreds of U.S. financial entities, many of whom utilize outsourcing to augment their services. The Agles see a potential pathway to economic independence for individuals in Haiti if the key aspect of language can be realized. The effort to “teach an individual to fish” is central to the goals and aspirations of the Agles as they look to do more than give fish. With the potential of mobilizing business opportunities, that often are diverted to other nations, to Haiti, the Agles see a full potential cycle of impacting the poorest nation in the western Hemisphere. It is clearly not a quick fix effort, but laying the foundation for this effort over the next generation can be a powerful result for generations to come.

There are many small steps that are needed to complete this effort and none of these steps can be completed by any one individual. It will require many to help, but it can be accomplished and the goal of helping those in the most dire of circumstances is what life is about. We hope that others will join us in this effort.