Home to Generations

Posted by Bronson Enriquez in NEED Magazine, Uncategorized Edit

Photos | Bronson Enriquez

I traveled to Haiti with regular contributor Paul Corbit Brown to shoot a story for the magazine. We were flying into the capitol city of Port au Prince, and spending the first night at a boy’s home. I figured it would be a guest house behind an orphanage or something. Just a place to sleep before heading north to Gonaives, where the organization we were covering helps people affected by Hurricane Gustav.

I didn’t expect the beautiful home we found on arrival. The building itself is gorgeous, and all of the walls inside are decorated with fantastic artwork. A miscommunication regarding travel arrangements resulted in our spending two extra days there. Despite the time crunch this created, I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know more about this wonderful place.

We quickly discovered that it is much more than an orphanage. It is a home and family for twenty boys who once lived on the streets or as slaves in someone else’s home. The number of boys is kept small in order to assure that every child receives the best care possible. Beyond the basic necessities, the boys are provided with tuition for school and instruction in the arts, including painting, dance and music.

Art is used to teach the boys a sense of self worth. The Resurrection Dance Theater is a professional dance group made up of the young men of St Joseph’s that tours the world performing traditional Haitian dance. This is one way that they pay the expenses of running the home, and for the performers it creates a real sense of ownership and pride.

The most remarkable aspect of St Joseph’s is the social ripple effect it creates. Many of the graduates go on to give back to the next generation of children facing the enormous obstacles they have themselves been helped to overcome. Graduates of St Josephs now operate two other homes in Haiti: Wings of Hope and Trinity House. St Joseph’s is run by Bill Nathan, a young man who graduated from the home after being rescued from child slavery.

Bill Nathan’s story is featured in a book titled: A Crime So Monsterous: Face-to-Face With Modern-Day Slavery www.acrimesomonstrous.com

St Joseph’s Home for Boys is creating change by raising healthy, stable young men with the tools to succeed in life. The fact that so many choose to help others is a testament to the success of these homes.

To learn more visit www.heartswithhaiti.org

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