St. Francis DeSales Volunteer Program
The St. Francis DeSales Community - HT SFSV's are individuals with a deep Catholic spiritual orientation and a dedication and willingness to serve the very poor, to sacrifice for the poor and to share in the daily struggles of the Haitian people. HT SFSV's serve as advisors and mentors to our existing Haitian staff.
We are looking for "comfortable practicing Catholics" with experience in one or more of the following areas: education & teacher training, administration, auto mechanics/fix anything person, water well drilling experts, or agriculture and sustainable development people.
Lay Volunteer Community Description - (updated November 2011)
HT SFSV's live together and support one another in daily life. They possess a great love for the poor and desire to use their God given abilities to serve others and help this world. Participants live and work together in Haiti, practicing the simple spiritual principles of love, compassion and service. HT SFSV's embrace a Catholic spirituality that recognizes that the poor are central to the ministry of Jesus and we must put them front and center in our own lives.
Daily life will include specific time for prayer and devotion and Mass. It is an active lifestyle-- assisting our Haitian staff members and working to improve our workers and the quality of our programs. But it flows from a deep spiritual strength that comes from prayer and our relationship with God. Evening reflection sessions are designed to help members share their experiences and help one another seek to carry out Hands Together's mission to help the very poor.
Specific Volunteers Needed
- Educators - people with experience and expertise in training teachers and implementing simple curriculum and classroom management. Our schools lack well trained teachers and we need people to help them and our administrators.
- Administrators - people who can oversee the daily logistics and operations of 7 campuses, 300 staff people, large feeding program, a mobile clinic, and all the management and bookkeeping that such programs demand. We have local Haitian staff to do the actual work, but need mentors and people to teach and design simple systems for management.
- Builders and Mechanics - Everything breaks all the time in Haiti. We need individuals who "can fix and build" anything. Especially useful are diesel mechanics, general contractors, well drilling technicians.
- Doctors, nurses, Physician's Assistants - with the addition of our new mobile medical clinic we seek medical personnel to assist our Haitian doctor.
HT established 50 acre farming and agricultural training compound - The Clarke Agricultural Project - and seeks individuals with extensive knowledge of farming and farm management to oversee the irrigation, planting and development components of this site. This person would work in tandem with a staff team of Haitian agronomists and other U.S. volunteers. This person needs to manage the heavy equipment, water irrigation systems and overall daily operations of the farm. The site will host peasants for 2 years to work the land and receive hands on training and share in the profits of crops cultivated and sold.
Who Is Eligible?
Hands Together seeks highly motivated practicing Catholics full of joy and optimism who are striving to authentically live their faith. The candidate must be between the ages of 22 and 70 years old. We desire candidates who can communicate in French or Haitian Creole, but will consider those who demonstrate a willingness to learn Creole.
Candidates must first submit a written application and resume. If there seems to be a possible fit between Hands Together and the candidate, we will invite her/him to participate in a 7-14 day mutual assessment trip to Haiti. Candidates must pay their own assessment trip transportation costs - but room, board, and in-country expenses are covered by Hands Together. This in-country assessment experience allows the candidate to witness firsthand the work of Hands Together and the conditions of Haiti. Upon completion of the trip to Haiti, candidates must allow 1 month to pass before any decision for long term service is reached. If accepted Hands Together will pay air fare, room & board and a modest stipend.
Term of Service
Candidates accepted for volunteer service are invited to spend 90 days (renewable upon evaluation) in Haiti as a Hands Together volunteer. Candidates wishing to renew his/her service after their initial 90 session, may be invited back after an evaluation by the volunteer committee. Hands Together will pay the airfare for renewable sessions.
Benefits & Compensation
Upon completion of each 90 day session, volunteers receive a $500 stipend. (From this, candidates may offset their airfare and insurance costs). Hands Together provides room, board and in-country travel expenses.
SFSV's Traditions and Program Philosophy
Our volunteer programs are designed to help Americans better appreciate and understand the plight of the poor and disadvantaged in Haiti. Hands Together volunteers interact, work and live with the poor of Haiti. This philosophy stems from our belief in the innate sacredness of each human being that comes directly from a loving God. We recognize that we are linked to all people and that we are responsible for our own space and time - to be of some service and usefulness to those who enter our space and time. Emphasizing a great respect toward the people we serve, we practice a philosophy of service that encourages immersion into the culture and whenever possible, to affirm the dignity of the Haitian people. We design projects and programs in Haiti to be "Haitian-run", and our volunteers primarily provide advisory and training roles.
HT volunteers not only tap into the deep and lasting joy that comes from giving of oneself, but they also gain a stronger sense of their own tremendous worth as someone whose blessings and God-given talents are shared with this world. Every year, Hands Together enables Americans from all walks of life to directly experience the lives of some of the poorest people in the world.
There are certain basic tenants that provide the foundation for all Hands Together volunteer programs.
- We believe in a philosophy of service that primarily emphasizes respect and dignity toward the people we serve in Haiti.
- We believe that serving as a volunteer in Haiti is a privilege.
- We recognize that volunteering with Hands Together will be physically and emotionally demanding.
- We embrace a spirituality that emphasizes a belief and trust in a God who loves us all equally (i.e. Americans and Haitians together).
- We do not engage in political causes, controversy, debate or other advocacy issues that can divert us from our primary purpose of working alongside our Haitian brothers and sisters and helping the poor.