The young men of Cite Soleil slum who participate in gang life are actually in many ways good young men. But they are men who are desperately poor and who have little – if any – self-esteem, convinced that they have little value or worth. There is as much as an 80% unemployment rate in Site Solei. There are very few opportunities for them. The majority of them have little or no education. Many of them are humiliated and embarrassed when they are asked to sign their name.
They have not received much love in their short lifetime.
Hands Together has been working in the Site Solei slum since the fall of 1996. In the first early years, we received a great deal of advice to simply ignore the young gang members because any association with these young men would permanently tarnish the reputation of Hands Together.
We were told that they were crazed and very dangerous. There was a very popular documentary called The Ghosts of Site Solei that portrayed them as evil and dangerous gangsters. Their leader Tupac was portrayed as a psychopath who was intent on simply causing violence.
But slowly the staff of Hands Together began to see another side of them. These young "gangsters" would be seen helping the elderly, organizing soccer games for young boys and with a great deal of joy and enthusiasm distributing packages of food to the needy in their communities.
This past July 4th, we held a graduation ceremony for our Becky DeWine school's first graudating class of 129 students.
Without the dedicated efforts of Fran and Mike DeWine and our DeWine family of donors, we would not be able to share this good news. Both were present at the ceremony and Attorney General Dewine gave the closing address.
The ceremony was presented by Bishop Mesidor WaWa (Diocese of Fort-Liberte) and contributions were provided Bishop Yves Marie Peon (Diocese of Gonaives).
Fr. Tom Hagan, president of Hands Together, delivered a message to the graduates and parents discussing the great mile stone these children have achieved and reminded the gradutes of the fundamental belief that they are truly loved by God.
"From the creation of the school to surviving the earthquake, hurricanes, cholera outbreaks, and the everyday violence of Cite Soleil you have formed a community in God’s love."
Our 2013 Annual Report is now available in PDF format. Click here to download.
The Hands Together 2013 Annual Report provides the most current information on our work in Haiti. It's a great summary of the work that began 28 years ago and a testimony to the sacrifice, commitment, and vision of Fr. Tom Hagan, Hands Together Founder and President. We hope that by sharing a little of our story with you will strengthen the bond between the many struggling people of Haiti and all of you who have done so through your prayers and support. Most of all we wish to leave you with an honest, accurate, glimpse at the harsh reality of work with the poor.
Table of Contents:
A note from Fr. Tom -pg 3
About Hands Together-pg 4
The Becky DeWine School - pg 5
Keeping it all running -P-au-P - pg 9
The Reality of Cite Soleil - pg 10
Other P-au-P outreach programs - pg 12
Outreach beyond P-au-P, HTG Projects- pg 16
Keeping it all running-HTG - pg 22
Donor Support - pg 23
Catholic Mission Appeal Support - pg 24
Financial Summary - pg 25
Trustees - pg 28
Top Ten Needs - pg 29
Many Haitians suffer from acute malnutrition and very serious health issues. We operate a 3 room mobile medical clinic to bring health services to the ones who need it most. We provide over 11,000 school meals and elderly nutrition. We focus on preventive health and early intervention. We donate supplies and equipment to larger existing organizations whose primary purpose is medical and health related.
Education is the best way to overcome the evils of poverty and affirm the dignity of every human being. We run schools for more than 11,000 of the poorest children in Haiti. Our educational programs in the slums and agricultural training efforts rural areas give people hope and the ability to improve their life.
Hands Together believes that Haiti's hope for a better future lies in Agriculture and environmental change. We focus much of our energy and resources on promoting agricultural development, educating people on protection for the environment, and providing potable water and irrigation wherever we can.
Many people in Haiti endure inhuman suffering. We follow an ethic of "spontaneous charity" that is dictated by the most urgent needs of those closest to us. We seek to provide mercy wherever we can help prevent death or severe hardship.