A ‘beacon of hope’

IMG_7758CYVADIER, HAITI — Mora Frico and Jimmy Louigene grew up together, having first met as elementary school classmates in a local mission school. Their friendship deepened throughout secondary school and while each studied to earn a woodworking certificate from Ecole Atelier de Jacmel.

Now, after years of barely getting by, due to Haiti’s pervasive lack of employment opportunities, the two have a chance — and a viable plan — for a productive future, by creating a carpentry enterprise.

“The business [will] …transform our lives because it will make us independent and provide us with a stable job and eventually even provide other people in our community with work,” the two write in their business plan for the venture, developed with the help of Jean Christophe Lang, a successful local business owner.

Lang, proprietor of the Cyvadier Plage Hotel, has provided part-time work for the young men whenever possible, having them assist in repairing furniture and other projects, and is impressed with their skills, collaborative abilities and hard work.

That’s why he’s agreed to be Jimmy and Mora’s mentor, providing strategic advice and contributing to start up needs, including making available a shipping container, a smart way to quickly establish a secure and weather-proof structure for their workshop.

“Our project will be different from other[s] because it will target specifically young Haitian professionals in Jacmel with a standardized product [affordable furniture] made in Haiti at a better price [than imports],” they say. “Our equipment [generator and power tools] will enable us to work and keep deadlines when others cant.”

The partners also will tackle local construction work opportunities, since much rebuilding continues in the wake of natural disasters, including last year’s hurricane, and the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Their need: a total of $13,000 for tools and materials. Through VK Haiti donor investments, that’s the amount the partners have now received. 

By investing in Mora and Jimmy’s business, VK Haiti is helping the the friends realize their ambition of economic independence, for themselves, their families and their community. And their success will also contribute to the renewal of a country that has endured so much.

“Our dream is that in the near future, every household in Cyvadier will have at least one piece of furniture made by us that they could not afford before,” the two write. “Every time a young person successfully enters the work market, it serves as a beacon of hope… We want others like us [to know] that hard work does pay off.”


VK believes in Mora and Jimmy’s potential and their vision. And our approach to helping them succeed is very different than traditional aid programs.  Many initiatives overlook the critical elements of self-determination and sustainability. Those imperatives are the foundation of VK’s mission, along with the evidence-based belief that making one-time direct cash investments is the most effective way to alleviate poverty.

That’s how  Jean-Baptiste-Joseph, a former auto mechanic, started a successful transportation service. He used essential startup capital provided through VKHaiti to launch his now growing enterprise. We’re confident that Mora and Jimmy also will be successful entrepreneurs.

In a country with little access to opportunity — Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, and more than half of the population lives on less than $1 a day — startup funding is especially scarce.

But you can provide positive transformational impact by helping to fund Jimmy and Mora’s business. They’re determined to succeed and VK Haiti is committed to helping them.

Please join us in continuing our work for lasting change in Haiti.