At an non-profit organization like Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, sustainability is not traditionally a major goal, and often falls by the wayside in order to cater to immediate needs, of which there are many in a country like Haiti. Organizations usually focus on solving problems in the short term, such as providing food or housing to those without, or immediate emergency medical care, with minimal outlook into the causes of the problem or the fact that many people will “relapse” without follow up care or treatment.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel has always had a different approach to the problem, and has worked to tackle the root causes of the problem of stigmatization of HIV/AIDS in Haiti, rather than just treat the symptoms of the national problem. By not only fostering children who had been ostracized, but educating families, schools, and communities about how HIV/AIDS was actually transmitted, they improved the situation of all people with HIV/AIDS in Haiti, even if they had not directly sheltered them. By providing medical, psychological, and educational care, those impacted by the disease were able to live much more normal and social lives, and faced lower levels of discrimination due to the widespread public health education that was occurring.
As time went on, funding for the outreach program slowly diminished, and due to dependence on outside funding, the community programs from Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel had to be put on hold. Their focus shifted to the foster home and keeping the children properly cared for, as well as leaving space for more children to come as needed. Danielle refused to see the same thing happen to the foster home, and has realized that every year, funding is more and more difficult to come by. By working to build the self-sustainable farm at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel orphanage, we can greatly reduce the need for outside funding and provide all the sustenance necessary to feed the children and staff, as well as sell excess produce and livestock to local grocers for a signifiant annual income. Once the sustainable farm is up and running, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel will no longer be at risk of closure annually, and this will ensure the longevity of MAEC for decades to come.
To learn more, get involved, or sponsor the sustainable farm at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel d’Haiti, visit our website at www.HoneyForHaiti.org, or visit on on Facebook and Instagram, @HoneyForHaiti.