12 stories of the lives your gifts are helping to improve

Maize and palm fruit trees offer hope to Esi and her two children

Esi’s husband passed away last year leaving her with a small plot of land and two young children to support. Esi is a palm fruit tree farmer, but because Esi had no resources available, she has been cultivating and harvesting only peppers. Today, Esi is benefitting from an iF Foundation initiative which includes intercropping her plot of land with maize, plantains and palm fruit trees. Esi is now part of a coop of farmers cultivating and harvesting palm fruit and other crops. Esi continues to work long hours in the hot sun, but now she is able to better provide for her children and have a sense of accomplishment.

Regaining a sense of dignity through job opportunity

Six days a week, Jonathan travels over five miles by foot to the iF Foundation jewelry making business in Odumase, where he oversees the painting and baking of the handmade beads which are used for creating necklaces and bracelets. Jonathan was born without a right leg and manages with the assistance of crutches. In rural Ghana where jobs are scarce, if you are disabled there is very little opportunity to earn a decent living. In order to provide for his family, Jonathan was pulling weeds for landowners, but was not even earning enough money to provide food for his children. Now, with a stable job and a steady income, Jonathan’s children are going to school, have the medical care they need and are eating more nutritious meals. Jonathan says that before working at the jewelry factory he felt a great deal of self pity. Now, Jonathan has self-respect and is living with renewed dignity.

A dream comes true for Julina

Two years ago, Julina was struggling to keep her bakery open. She continued to work long hours realizing that the only way she could provide for her family was to make her business successful. Julina’s culinary gifts and determination was just not enough. She needed additional capital so she could purchase better equipment and make improvements to her facility. Julina received her first no-interest loan from the iF Foundation. After paying off the first loan, Julina received a second loan to start a restaurant and catering business. Julina was able to hire additional workers enabling her business to become more productive while providing much needed jobs to young girls in the Greater Accra region. Today, along the busy streets of Accra, it is not unusual to find young girls selling bread freshly baked by Julina and her three daughters. Thanks to Julina’s hard work and economic empowerment provided by the iF Foundation, families once struggling to survive can now plan for a future free of poverty.

Single mom earns respect and an income selling cassava

Altagrace has been selling cassava on the streets of Cap Haitian since 1999. Before the iF Foundation Cassava Factory opened in Carre, Altagrace had to travel many miles to purchase cassava for resale. Any profit that she might have earned was used to pay for transportation. A single mother of three school age children, Altagrace needed a better way to purchase cassava. Thanks to the iF Foundation Cassava Factory, Altagrace is now able to purchase all of the cassava she requires from one location. Her customers look forward to buying cassava from her because of the high quality and every day she is acquiring new customers. The small profit she is earning goes towards school tuition for her three children and she is now starting to build a three room house for her family. Altragrace is very proud that she is able to support her family and hopes that one day she and some of the other cassava vendors can form a “cassava vendor association” to increase profits

Patrick Euzebe, Father of six takes pride in his work as a yucca mill operator

Patrick Euzebe and his neighbors have always dreamed of having a cassava factory with a yucca mill in their local community. Thanks to a partnership with the iF Foundation, the village of Carre now has a cassava factory where local farmers can bring their yucca to be milled and then baked into cassava. Patrick is the main operator for the yucca mill, which grinds the yucca into flour to be used for three different types of cassava. Patrick’s dedication and hard work are exemplified by the high quality of the cassava being produced. Farmers needing to mill yucca and women purchasing cassava from the factory for re-sale agree that Carre’s factory produces the best quality product in northern Haiti! Patrick receives a small salary for operating the mill enabling him to provide education, healthcare and better nutrition for his six children. The factory and mill are providing a much needed service to the community too. Local yucca farmers and cassava vendors can now find the services they need to earn a living in their own community. This is saving families time and resources while improving the village’s economy. Patrick and his neighbors look forward to the day when their children will be able to raise families in Carre, thanks to locally owned and operated economic development projects.

Pigs, Promise, and family commitment

Three year old Rood-Murlie lives in a two room house in rural Thibeau without electricity or running water. Her mom Daline, dad Frandy, eleven year old sister Youseline and two three year old cousins, Louis and Shally live in the same house. When Daline’s sister passed away in November 2011, the family without hesitation accepted Shally into their home. All four children attend school thanks to Daline and Frandy’s tireless efforts. Daline sells vegetables, oil and pasta at the local market and her husband Frandy drives a tap-tap (taxi). Daline and Frandy also manage an iF Foundation supported pig farm near their home, supplementing their modest wages. Pigs raised and sold for meat can translate into better healthcare, proper nutrition and education for families like Rood-Murlie’s struggling to survive in rural Haiti. Daline and Frandy have a strong commitment to their family and to their community. They know that by working hard they can demonstrate to their children and to their neighbors that it is possible to create a pathway out of poverty while planning for a brighter future. They hope that when their children become adults, they too will be able to work with a focus on sustainability, growth and planning for the future.

Empowered with the proper tools. Favor Zometey is once again fishing on Lake Volta

Favor Zometey is a fisherman living in Akrusu Saisi along the banks of Lake Volta. Before partnering with the iF Foundation, Favor was unable to fish because his fishing nets had enormous holes, his wooden boat needed major repairs and he did not have the resources to buy what he needed to be successful. Thanks to the iF Foundation, Favor now has access to a new boat equipped with a 25 hp outboard motor, new fishing nets, hooks and a life vest. Every week, Favor brings in an abundance of fresh fish to sell at market. In addition, Favor’s wife smokes some of the fresh catch, preserving the fish to be sold at a later date. The income Favor and his wife earn is used to provide for the needs of their five school age children. The children are now so happy to be able to go to school with their friends and to plan for the future.

Sisters Anna & Marise, light a pathway out of poverty

Anna Louise Blaise lives in Tovar, Grison Garde with her two school age daughters and sister, Marise. Anna and Marise both work at the iF Foundation Candle Factory. Anna’s job at the Candle Factory is enabling her to send her daughters to school. School in Haiti is not free and without an income Anna’s daughters would have no hope of an education. Marise is using her income to buy sand and rocks in order to build a house of her own. In addition, Anna and Marise have earned the respect of their neighbors because everyone sees how hard they are working to improve their family’s livelihood and to help the community by locally manufacturing a much needed product. Before the existence of the iF Foundation Candle Factory, candles had to be purchased from Cap Haitian. Anna and Marise hope that the iF Foundation will be able to continue to locate and purchase enough paraffin so they can meet market demand. In Tovar, Grison Garde there is no electricity, so for Anna and Marise, the iF Foundation Candle Factory is helping them to light a pathway out of poverty.

Goats & Gratitude

Metellus and his wife are both teachers, parents of two young boys and goat farmers in Lory, Haiti. As teachers Metellus and his wife make less than $100 a month. Metellus hopes that goat farming will supplement his income and provide a pathway out of poverty for his family. Goats are sturdy animals and can endure the hot humid temperatures in Haiti. When cared for properly, goats can have two to three kids a year, making this a potentially prosperous venture. By raising and selling goats for meat, Metellus hopes to be able to generate enough income to educate his children, have access to healthcare and provide better nutrition for his young family. In addition, Metellus has earned the respect of the local people. They see how hard he is working to make the only goat farm in Lory a model farm for all of Haiti. Metellus takes a lot of pride in his work and is demonstrating to his community that with determination, dedication and commitment you can build a pathway out of poverty.

Empowering Young Haitians to Improve Local Ecomonmies

Philomene Dona was born and raised in Thibeau. As a young girl growing up, Philomene always dreamed of becoming a chef. After graduating from high school Philomene attended culinary school at L’Ecole Professionelle Banc du Nord in Cap Haitien. She then returned to Thibeau, hoping to find a job where she could practice her culinary skills. JM Restaurant, an iF Fooundation supported business and the only restaurant in Thibeau, had recently opened and was in need of a head chef. Philomene impressed the manager with her delicious recipes and now JM Restaurant is experiencing terrific success, serving delicious meals. Very often, young people leave their rural villages, in the hopes of finding employment in a bigger city. Philomene is now able to support herself, stimulate the local economy and dream of raising her own children in the same village where she was born.

Living with Dignity

In Ghana people living with disabilities often live a life of exclusion and survive by begging on the streets. Steven Odonkor lives in Odumase with his wife and 2 school age children. Six days a week Steven makes the ten mile journey, by bus and on foot, to the iF Foundation Tie Dye Batik business where he is employed. The ability to work for a living has provided Steven and his family with economic independence, but more importantly a life of dignity. The Tie Dye batik business is one of two partnership projects with DISOP (the Disabled, Sick Orphaned and Poor).

Single mom finds joy and financial independence selling cassava

Mme Fritz Jean is a single mother with two young children. To support her family, Mme Jean purchases cassava from the iF Foundation cassava factory in Carre and then re-sells what she has purchased for a small profit. The money she earns goes to pay for her children’s education. Before the iF Foundation cassava factory opened, it was very difficult for Mme Fritz Jean to find cassava locally. As a matter of fact, there was a time when Mme Fritz jean’s 14 year old son couldn’t go to school because she was not able to find any cassava to sell. Her son was forced to help the family by pushing a wheelbarrow through the street, transporting goods for others. Mme Fritz Jean says that although selling cassava on the street is not easy, she can do it with joy knowing that her children are now able to attend school.