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Blog

The Jasper House Haiti blog is designed to share stories, updates and testimonies that raise awareness, create dialogue and bring enlightenment to those seeking to become more involved in the advocacy and abolition of injustice. 

 

Investment.

Maria Atkinson

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When you think of what allowed you to arrive in the position you currently are what comes to mind? 

Getting your education? 

Receiving a specific opportunity? 

Or, also thinking of the people who made a difference in your life. Those who believed in you, deposited in you and made an investment. 

For many of us, our mentors, teachers, parents, grandparents, and others, are the ones who were the most influential in helping us reach out full potential. 

Having people who believe in you, who see the greatness in you even when you can't see it in yourself is primarily what helps you achieve success. 

For many women in Haiti, having someone who believes in them, sees their potential, and champions them to be all they can be is largely nonexistent. 

How can you begin to believe in and realize your own capabilities and capacity when no one is encouraging you or speaking life into your circumstances? 

At Jasper House Haiti, we see the direct impact and result that comes from investing in the lives of women. 

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Castelie

Castelie was just 17 years old when she first learned of the Jasper House Haiti Women's Academy of Learning two years ago and knew this was an opportunity she wouldn't pass up. 

Castelie chose the culinary arts vocational track and excelled immediately. She dreams to have her own restaurant or cafe where she can serve people like she has learned to do at Jasper House.

But even before having the opportunity to open a restaurant, Castelie began making food at her house and selling in her neighborhood to provide for herself and her mother. 

Rain or shine, Castelie will be in class determined to succeed and become far more than a status quo.

“I thank God that He allowed me to find Jasper House - before I was just at home, I was not going to school. Thanks to Jasper House, I have learned so many things professionally and educationally- because of Jasper House I have discovered I am empowered.”

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Roseadline

When Roseadline first came to Jasper House, she barely spoke and never smiled. 

Today, she is strong and confident in herself and abilities. She believes she is capable and expresses the change she sees in herself because of the love and care she has received. She is one of the primary artisans and production manger for our social business, R&E, and prides herself in her work. 

"I dream that God would bless Jasper House so we can grow and be able to help even more women. I dream for our business to grow so we can be able to give more job to women in need. My hope is that I can continue to perfect the skills I have learned at JHH so I can provide for myself and not worry for tomorrow."

These are just two examples of what happens in the lives of a woman who has been invested in. 

When you support Jasper House Haiti, you aren't merely paying bills or seeing your dollars go into a black hole without seeing any results. 

You are directly affecting the lives of real women like Castelie and Roseadline, women who are waiting for a door of opportunity to be opened so they can reach their full potential. 

When you support Jasper House Haiti you are investing in the lives and futures of women and their children. 

You are breaking the cycles of poverty and abuse and writing a new story for a better tomorrow. 


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Written by: Maria Atkinson, Founder/CEO Jasper House Haiti

To read more of her thoughts, emotions and musings check out her blog, Going Forth.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow is For Women.

Maria Atkinson

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At Jasper House, the words, “Demen Se Pou Fanm” have become a mantra for the women in the healing centre + academy for learning. Taken from the root of the English phrase, “The Future is Female” and transformed into Haitian Creole, translating to “Tomorrow is for Women”.

 

This phrase has become a chant for the women, capturing the strength of their voices, and reminding them of their power, and the leadership they possess.

 

All around the world, from a young age, women have had to struggle to compete for their rightful place.

Wherein a man is already standing, a woman has to strive to achieve.

For the women in Haiti, they are at a disadvantage from the time they are born.

In a male dominance culture, women have to work harder to prove their own worth and value.

The reality of the situation is—most times; they are not seen as equal.

 

Even if they are educated.

Even if they are working.

Even if they are raising children.

Men still view them as less.

 

This is the majority.

Are there men who see women as worthy here? Yes.

But the place of a woman in Haiti is oftentimes overlooked.

 

At Jasper House, we seek to rise above this.

The purpose of all of our programs, restoration, and healing, is so that women may find their inner strength, beauty and worth.
That they would never again, have to be seen as “less than” or as someone who is not worthy of their true value.

 

Women in Haiti do not need a handout—they need an opportunity.

They need other women (and men) coming alongside them, to create jobs and skill sets that they can learn, to better their future.

They need education, and tools, which will help them rise above their current level of knowledge.

They need encouragement, just like we all do, and reminders of their own inner worth—their power, their strength, and their perseverance.

 

The circumstances most of the women in our programs face are not something that should ever have to happen.

But, because of the male dominance culture, and the lack of education, women are treated poorly. They are not seen as equals, and men who do not have appropriate ways of releasing their emotions use them as an outlet.

 

Lack of opportunities for education in Haiti result in women feeling less than their true value.

A woman here is more ashamed to say she does not know how to read and write, than she is to say she is a prostitute.

This is the level at which life without education permeates, and de-values women.

 

But, this is not where their story has to end.

At Jasper House, women are finding their worth again.

They are seeing their value.

They are rising above, and learning tangible skills and education that will carry them on to change their country.

 

So we continue to push forward—we continue to chant, “Demen Se Pou Fanm” as a mantra echoing the strength and resilience of these women’s stories, and the life change they are experiencing.

 

Will you join us?

 

Story of freedom.

Maria Atkinson

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Imagine for a  moment you are born into impossible circumstances. You enter the world lacking a father seeing as he passed away before you were born, your seventeen year old mother does not have the means to care for you, and sadly, passed on the life dooming illness of HIV. 

This is the story of Wendi*, a young woman currently living in our transitional, restoration home. 

Wendi grew up in her aunt’s home where she was  physically and sexually abused for most of her life. Wendi lived as a restavek, a term used to describe children living enslaved to domestic servitude, who are forced to do housework, are abused and not placed in school. 

For sixteen years, this was Wendi’s life. 

At age sixteen, Wendi decided to leave and went to live with a different family member. She spent nearly a year there and her life began to improve, when tragically, her health took a turn for the worst. After discovering that Wendi was HIV positive, her family wanted nothing to do with her. 

Sick, abandoned and alone, Wendi ended up in a charity hospital in a town called Miragoâne, hours from her home. 

However, destiny was at work. 

At this hospital, social services were contacted about Wendi. They came and met with her and told her about a program in Jacmel who could help her.

That program was Jasper House Haiti. 

Four months later, Wendi is health, happy and thriving in our home. She has found hope, healing and most of all, transformation of her mind and heart. Wendi praises God and knows that years ago when she prayed for Him to deliver her, He heard her cries and answered her.