Empowering moms in HaitiPublished 11:14pm Monday, May 6, 2013
A team of five local women will be reaching out to Haitian women when they journey to the impoverished Caribbean nation next month.
The four young moms and one new grandmother will be supporting an organization called Empowering Haitian Moms, run by missionary Stacie Ulysse and her Haitian husband. Team leader Megan Brueseke knows Ulysse personally.
“This has been something on my heart for a while,” Brueseke said. “Stacie went to Haiti right after the earthquake, and ever since she’s been really passionate about Haiti.”
The organization aims to support mothers in the Haitian area of Montrouis so they do not have to give up their children or leave them along for many hours at a time while they work, which are both common in Haiti, Brueseke said.
“Some women in Haiti will give their children away because they don’t have the resources to care for them,” she said. “A lot of them spend their whole day trying to sell fried food on the side of the road.”
Brueseke organized an event to sew dresses for children out of old materials and spare fabric several months ago. At first, she intended to send the dresses to Haiti, but then felt the Lord was leading her and other women to deliver them personally.
In addition to the dresses, the women will be building benches from kits, building tarp homes, delivering needed physical items like mosquito nets and cloth diapers. They also will show the women gardening techniques they can use to feed their families and earn an income.
But most importantly, the team will be able to share love and encouragement with the mostly single mothers and their families, the women said.
“All of us are moms,” said team member Karisa Bitner. “We know what it’s like to care for our children. For me, that’s kind of a big thing when it’s something so personal and dear to me.”
Team member Brooke Caballero said it is the duty of people who have knowledge and resources to pass it along to people who don’t.
“We want to let them know they are treasured and there is a purpose and a plan for their life,” she said.
Christina Surber of Suffolk’s Cypress Chapel Christian Church said children in Haiti can be sent to school for about $300 a year — about minimum wage for a week’s labor in the United States, but difficult to come by in Haiti.
“To them, that’s years and years of labor,” Surber said. “They just need the basic necessities to help.”
Pamela Sparks, the grandmother on the team, said the trip is an opportunity not to fix everything wrong with Haitian mothers’ lives, but just to let them know they are loved.
“Though it is for sure I cannot always fix anything, I can do what Jesus does, which is to enter in to someone else’s life and circumstances and come to know their hard places and their hurt and celebrated the triumph of knowing Jesus in any circumstance,” she said.
Surber said the trip is sure to change people on both sides.
“We’re going to serve, but we’re going to bring back life changes for us,” she said.
Items or financial contributions can be given to Community Church at Western Branch, 1935 Jolliff Road, Chesapeake, VA 23321 (where all the women except Surber attend church) or to Cypress Chapel Christian Church, 1891 Cypress Chapel Road, Suffolk, VA 23434. Write Haiti Mission Trip in the memo line.
To donate directly to Empowering Haitian Moms, visit www.empoweringhaitianmoms.org.