As part of the Passionist Solidarity Network support for projects affiliated with the two U.S. Provinces, a new pilot program in Haiti designed by Fr. Hugo Esparza CP has been funded with a $5000 grant.
The grassroots initiative called Konbit Pierre Toussaint, is a program that will enable young Haitians to serve their community and to receive human, religious and professional formation. Fr. Hugo says the project is "inspired by the Passionist Volunteer programs in the USA to create the same opportunity for young Haitians. We started our pilot program with seven young men and women. All of them are formers volunteers at our Kids-Youth Program called Little Stones. All seven of them will volunteer for 10 months part time"
The Project is aptly named for the now Venerable Toussaint who was born in Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave. Pierre died a free man and one of New York City’s most well-known Catholics. In New York, plantation owner Pierre Bérard made Toussaint a house slave and allowed his grandmother to teach her grandson how to read and write. It is fitting that Fr. Esparza's project in Haiti will work with young men and women as "alphabetization agents" who are aiding adults that need to learn or improve their capacity in reading and writing. Konbit is a Creole word that reflects rural life in Haiti. A Konbit is a coming together of friends and family members to work in each other’s garden or farms.
Watch this video of Fr. Hugo report on his work in Haiti during the 2019 Holy Cross Provincial Chapter.