We now know what we want to do, provide a backpack full of school supplies to children in developing countries. How do we go about setting up a non-profit? What country are we going to start in? How do we find trustworthy people already in country to connect with? How are we going to accomplish what we want to do? Wow, deciding what we wanted to do was really easy compared to implementing it!
After purchasing How To Form A Non Profit Corporation, we were on our way. Filing forms with the Secretary of State, writing Articles of Incorporation, submitting them to the Corporation Commission, publishing them, and more and more brainstorming. With all of that done, the panic and self doubt set in. The project gets put on the back burner in part due to the self doubt, but also in part due to the fact that I am a single parent of a teenager, a licensed foster parent, and was working full time in the finance industry. All excuses that really did not prohibit me from following my dream, but real enough for me to think that I just could not do it. How can I, a single mom living in Arizona, make a difference in the world by helping children gain access to an education?
Fast forward to December 2012 and it’s clear that this idea is not going to go away. Over the course of the past 16 months my daughter and I have revisited the dream off and on. I have read more inspirational books and added more “heroes” to my list. People that have started their own projects because they had a true desire and passion and they were brave enough to follow their dream. I have done more research, looked into crowd-funding, free website options (to keep the costs to a minimum), how to blog, etc. Most of my effort, however, has been trying to decide where to implement our idea. I have done so much reading on the plight of Africa that initially it seemed like the place to start. But because Africa is so big and there are so many countries that could benefit from our idea it became a daunting proposal. Not to mention, I knew that to really get an idea of the needs of the children, I would have to travel to the country that I chose and experience it first hand. Reading, researching, and watching every documentary that I can get my hands on were a good start, but real life experience will give me the best understanding. Airfare to Africa from where I live is expensive, plus the cost of lodging, airport transfer fees, food, etc., coupled with the fact that I am planning on funding this fact-finding mission on my own and I knew I could not start in Africa.
One day it came to me and I couldn’t believe I had never thought of it before! Haiti. I knew that even before the earthquake devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, it was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. There was a terrible orphan and human trafficking problem prior to the earthquake and the situation was exacerbated following it. An estimated 300,000 people lost their lives that day, another 1.5 million found themselves homeless, 4,000 schools were either damaged or destroyed (90% of the schools in Port Au Prince alone), and according to UNICEF, the education sector was facing challenges prior to the earthquake. With 50% of the population living below the poverty line, education is not a priority. With the cost of school fees, uniforms, and school supplies many Haitians can not afford to send their children to school when they have trouble putting food on the table.
Haiti it is!