Also: Mario’s Full Interview
Q: What drew you to CHP?
Barb: Haiti is our neighbor and one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, and I felt the injustice of that disparity. I wondered about what we could do. I found out about CHP when there was a push for the school around 10 years ago. I was taking a course in social justice at St Mary Magdalene and CHP did a presentation. Our church had a huge push towards building the school in Petite Trou. There was a lot of energy for the project and we all pitched in. After becoming aware and participating in this capital campaign, my husband, Tim and myself really became long term supporters of CHP because it is a sustainable program philosophy. We are drawn to that.
Q: How long have you been involved with the organization?
Barb: 10 years.
Q: What is your main interest these days with the Colorado Haiti Project?
Barb: Today my main interest is the vocational program, because it is specifically working with the women in the community. I had the opportunity to visit the school three years ago. The vocational sewing program was just starting. And it was clear that there was such a need for mentoring on business development. We spent time with the women and their exposure to the methods and practices of running a business was extremely limited. Today, I hear the stories of education and development with this program. The students have begun training in entrepreneurship and have joined a national Artisan Business Network. They are enthused and have a much better understanding about how to grow a business. Now we are dedicated to this program.
Q: How has working with this organization impacted you personally?
Barb: It is satisfying to help move the programs forward and to see momentum build among the students.
Q: For those who are on the fence about getting involved, what would you say to inspire them to become involved with CHP?
Barb: CHP has set up an avenue to know our partners in Haiti. It is very personal, very direct. It is a small organization that allows you to know where the money goes. And above all, it does feel like we are partners in the growth and health in the community of Petit Trou; all of us, supporters, volunteers and staff here in Colorado and the community of Petit Trou, the women in the vocational program, the students at St Paul’s, all the health providers. It is amazing to think in terms of all of us pulling together for this community.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Barb: Well, there is a quote that inspires me and makes me very hopeful in our work in Petit Trou. It is by Adrerane Roud “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.”