Current Projects

If These Walls Could Talk!

If you have been to Maison Fortune you know that our young boys are housed in three original buildings towards the back of our campus.  These buildings each can accommodate 18 children in bunks with lockers for their personal items.  These three buildings also provide many “firsts” for the boys who find themselves in our care.   They provide a bed to call their own, a leak proof roof, and a place to fall asleep with a full belly.

If these walls could talk, they would also tell stories.  Stories of our first 30 boys who took up residence in 2004 when the campus was first purchased.  Stories of watching little boys play, pray and begin to grow into young men.  They have watched chess tournaments won (and lost) and have been witness to many soccer games!  They also provide light by which to study for an upcoming exam, and place to keep a few belongings safe and sound so everyone has something to call their own.

To this day these three buildings continue their service to our campus.  Providing shelter, watching our boys grow and allowing them to sleep safely away from the street.

But they are also showing their wear.  They need our HELP!! They need YOU! 

Over the years standing up to winds, floods, and hurricanes the ground around the buildings has started to wash away and the walls have started to crumble at the foundation.  With the help of a local engineer we have determined that one of the best ways to sure up the walls and allow the building to keep our boys safe will be to fill in the area around each building with a concrete pad.  This solution is multipurpose.  In addition to reinforcing the buildings foundations it will cut down on the dust and the mites that live in the dirt – currently the main playground area for playing and studying … this is our chance to change that.    Laying down concrete will give our boys higher ground on which to play their games and be better for their health.  This enhancement to save these original three buildings while allowing for alternate safer playing spaces is estimated to cost $30,000.

We appreciate your consideration to make a specific donation to this important project and keep our buildings telling stories of the boys they house and keep safe for years to come. Please give to the needs of MFO today!

Maison FortunéIf These Walls Could Talk!
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Latest News from Haiti and MFO

We want to THANK ALL OF YOU who have reached out to inquire about the current protests that are occurring in Haiti and how you can help.

First and foremost we want to assure you that our children are safe in Hinche, and currently we have security as well as food reserves on campus.  The unrest in the country is changing rapidly and we are in constant contact with the Leadership Team at MFO – and following all news coverage very closely. As this situation continues to evolve, our focus is to provide support for Jean Louis and the MFO family to help them through this very difficult time.  If you would like to learn more and follow an informed news report, a consistent source has been reporter Jacqueline Charles from the Miami Herald on the Haiti News Page at the link below:  https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/

We will continue to monitor all activity and provide updates that we can get from the  MFO Leadership Team. We ask that you pray for safety and solutions to prevail for the people of Haiti.  Thank you all for your constant support and prayers for MFO.

Maison FortunéLatest News from Haiti and MFO
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Day 4: Ashley Runs Haiti

“Go as far as you can see. And when you get there, keep going.”

Day 4 Update . “We have made it to St. Raphael. Ashley has run straight since we left Cap-Haitien around 12:30 early this morning. It’s been the longest straight stretch so far without a big break. And she is absolutely dominating today’s run. Maybe it’s the nicer weather today – a cool overcast day with a breeze instead of the rain or sweltering heat we’ve seen so far. Or possibly that she got everything she needed last night to actually recover: rest, food, sleep in a real bed. Or maybe it’s the simple fact she knows we’ve hit all the big check points before Hinche where we’ll meet up with all the kids at the end of the run.


When she first told me she wanted to do this… I’ll be the first to admit I made the mistake of doubting the whole thing. “It’s too dangerous” I told her. “The conditions are so different down there.” And it’s not that I assumed she hadn’t thought about these things, and maybe I was being a bit too glass-half-empty… but it sounded impossible to me. It sounded like too big of a feat for any one person to try and tackle. But I realized, very quickly, that Ashley is not your average person… She’s been forged from a different mentality and an inner strength that’s more powerful than anything I’ve ever known. No mountain is too high, and no challenge is too great with her.


It makes you check yourself and recognize how easy it is to say something isn’t possible, or worse maybe – that something isn’t worth the risk of simply trying. I think the majority of us probably only have ever witnessed about 10% of what we are truly capable of. This week, we are all witnessing what it looks like when someone puts their full 100% in the game.”

Source:  https://www.facebook.com/AshleyHornerFitness/

 

The AshleyRunsHaiti campaign for the education of the MFO children has surpassed the original goal of $25,000 and is currently at $57, 369 (Raised by 934 people).

Thank you Ashley for your commitment and amazing strength.

Maison FortunéDay 4: Ashley Runs Haiti
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Over The Mountains And Through Haiti…Ashley Horner Surpasses Her Goal!

With each step I take, I already know I will never be alone- Tomorrow it begins; a journey that will be stamped on my heart forever- Ashley Horner17799158_1446794298678509_7496490116408939980_n

17499085_1445573138800625_6608013554408851587_nYesterday, Maison Fortuné Orphanage donor and pro fitness competitor Ashley Horner set off on her 230 mile run around Haiti to raise money for an entire year of MFO primary school funding. We are excited to announce that on day two of Ashley’s journey she has surpassed the $25,000 goal and the donations are rolling in!  Way to go Ashley!

To help you understand the magnitude of this journey, here are some excerpts from the on-site coverage of this feat that you can read on:

Day 1: We’ve passed through a few small towns now. The congestion of the downtown areas makes for chaos and confusion, especially with our convoy of 2 motos, 2 vehicles and Ashley on foot of course. But the roads aren’t exactly set up to easily take “detours” here, so we truck right through it. Ashley’s wearing a Buff to try and help with the immense amount of smog and exhaust she’s breathing in as every car passes. She came back to the car and said, “This heat is no joke…” but thankfully the sun is going down and the air is cooling right along with it. Hannah hopped out around Mile 5 and together they’re keeping a slow and steady pace. Starting off too fast will likely lead to problems down the road. We’re keeping her hydrated, stopping just for several seconds to wipe off the sweat, sip some water and keep going.

 

17522693_1435994616422243_7963963337010569447_nDay 2: Around 4am this morning, we rolled out our sleeping mats and found a safe clearing at the top of the hill outside of St. Marc. We knew our driver needed to get some rest for the long day we knew today held. Ashley got a little rest, but she mostly kept saying how she wanted everyone else to get some sleep. Doesn’t surprise me one bit, that the girl running over 200 miles across Haiti is still putting everyone else first. She woke up and shook off the stiffness and aches from yesterday. Hannah brought her cupping tools to try and get some circulation to Ashley’s hamstrings. She ate some Mountain House granola, got some aminos in her, and is off running again. Hoping to make some serious miles before the heat of the day hits.  ☀️ We are getting updates from the orphanage and all the children are praying for Ashley’s safe finish for her run. They can’t wait to run the final mile with her when we get close to Hinche. We are getting updates from the orphanage and all the children are praying for Ashley’s safe finish for her run. They can’t wait to run the final mile with her when we get close to Hinche. 

I‘m not sure who in their right mind would ever guess that running across a country would be glamorous. But this just goes to show that even though the body is capable of some ridiculous things, it’s definitely going to show its struggle. We stopped for a foot check 17800167_1436136709741367_5409549068842841254_nbecause Ashley was saying she felt some blisters forming, but we had no idea how bad they were going to be. Two big ones on the sides of both feet, and some serious damage to the toenails of her left foot. We made a big mistake of not changing socks when we got some rest this morning, and she’s hurtin’ now because of it, but just moments after getting bandaged up – she hit the road again. It’s getting pretty hot. Almost midday. We are somewhere between St Marc and Gonaives. Everyone is feeling the heat, with nowhere to find shade or cool off. This is a straight stretch of road and I can sense Ashley is bracing herself for the reality of the mountains and climbing that lie ahead of her. We haven’t even gotten to the serious elevation here…. not even close… No guess yet on when we’ll hit the mountains. But I’ll continue to keep you all updated. She keeps asking, through multiple “I’m fine… I feel good” or polite requests for snacks or water – how the fundraiser is doing. I cant emphasize enough how much this means to her. She is putting her body through the wringer, pushing to limits I can’t even fathom, to be able to set foot in the Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation and be able to tell the children their school costs are completely paid for for a full year. Please if you can spare even just a few dollars – it all adds up. -eva

The emotions are overflowing. This is incredible. We were just pausing to collect ourselves and plan out the next few hours to save energy during the heat of the day. And all of a sudden @erin_crooks_ texts me and says “You reached your goal!” I thought it had to be wrong…. Our goal was $28k…. but we are pushing forward. Why stop there with the generosity and compassion pouring out from every person reading this… you are part of this now. We’re all in this together.  Let’s shoot for TWO whole years of school for these kids. Ashley is still running… we still need your encouragement and support.

Click here to donate:  https://www.razoo.com/story/7axccf

 

 

 

 

Maison FortunéOver The Mountains And Through Haiti…Ashley Horner Surpasses Her Goal!
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Surround Yourself With Good People-Good Happens!

When you start out with a vision of doing good things and you surround yourself with good people- GOOD HAPPENS!

When I came back to my home country with the vision to “make sure children without access to education could obtain one”  – I had no idea that so many years later the work would extend so far beyond the four boys and one room house I started with.  I also never imagined and that the people I’ve met along the way would believe in me and be the reason we are able to go so far.

JeanLouiseGroupBeing the Founder and Director of Maison Fortune Orphanage I have a unique role that has become more than I had ever imagined.  When visitors come now what they see is a very different picture than the photos we took 15 years ago.  Now in addition to the smiles on the children attending primary school, they also see high school girls making their dreams a reality through education, and University students looking ahead to graduation and starting their own businesses.   Thank you for making this a beautiful reality for over 200 children in our current care and the 70+ who have moved beyond our care and are now finding their own way.

In additional to kids it is my unique position to also see our facilities.  Today I want to highlight those of you who have also shared that vision over the years have contributed to our Capital and Building Funds.   Our children are only as safe as their environment allows them to be and that is
Roof1why your special support to our buildings, infrastructure, and security is so important.  Over the years our buildings have been painted, generators bought and fixed, pumps installed, wells dug for a constant safe water supply, and roofs have gone up for shelter from the storms.  All of these projects are prioritized, budgeted, and done with local companies and labor.  When you give to our capital fund you are enhancing the lives of our children but also lifting up our Hinche community.  I can’t thank you enough.

This year we have been renovating and building a new kitchen area.  This is only possible with additional giving beyond our operational needs and we are so appreciative.  With our new space our children can study out of the rain and our cooks can prepare meals while it rains!  Our transition to gas cooking is nearly complete and we are grateful!!  We will be saving money going forward by not buying charcoal and saving the environment at the same time!  With your support we no longer need to procure 150 lbs of charcoal each week to keep our fires hot!  Thank you! Thank you!

Lastly, while we have been working together to change the lives of others, you have also changed mine.  In a time where the world seems to be turning inward I am grateful to know the exact opposite is true.  Alongside each other we will always be stronger, Thank you.

-Lefort Jean Louis, Founder and Director Maison Fortune Orphanage

Maison FortunéSurround Yourself With Good People-Good Happens!
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Going The Extra Mile(s) For Our Children

It’s easy to tell people about the Maison Fortuné Orphanage, but the impact is always so much greater when people experience the culture and children for themselves.  Every time that we see a volunteer light up as they SEE and UNDERSTAND the potential that these kids have for Haiti’s future – our resolve for the mission to raise future leaders of Haiti becomes stronger.

Last year we welcomed an extraordinary visitor – well-known fitness expert and business owner, Ashley Horner. While at the orphanage, Ashley fully embraced the culture and gave her heart, soul and mind to the children of MFO – as if they were her own. On her way home, she knew that there was more to be done and that the adventure together with her MFO family had just begun.
Ashley immediately hit the ground running (both literally and figuratively) with plans to help the MFO children in an extraordinary way. On April 3, 2017, Ashley will lace up her shoes and embark on a trek through Haiti. From Port-Au-Prince, up to the mountains on the north side of the island, past the beautiful coastline of Cap Haitien, and back south where the roads are no longer paved to return to the little town of Hinche, where the boys and girls of MFO will join her for the last mile ofher 230+ mile run.Ashleu Runs Haiti

Why is she doing this you might as?  Here is an excerpt from Ashley’sblog that will help you understand:

“It all starts with education, deep rooted from the very beginning and built from the ground up.And releasing them back into the community to become the leaders of Haiti. What I witnessed during my time in Haiti were traditions passed on from generation to generation and many of those will never change, this is what makes Haitians so beautiful and unique. What I also saw, were so many unfinished or non-logical solutions started by ‘American volunteers’ that did more harm than good. What they need is education for the students, encouraging them to attend Haitian university, educating the Haitian doctors, educating the teachers. And the infrastructure will change. This is why at Maison Fortune education is the number one priority, and this is why I have set out on this journey to raise a lot of money for the Maison Fortune educational funding.  My goal, with your help, is to raise $28,000 for the elementary school.  Believe me when I say the boys and girls are so so smart, they simply need the tools of education to put them back into a country that needs them.”

 

We are grateful to have Ashley in our MFO family, and invite you to join her in support as she embarks upon this journey through Haiti toward creating more opportunities for our children!

 

 

 

 

Maison FortunéGoing The Extra Mile(s) For Our Children
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New Roof For Our Boys’ Dining Area & Kitchen!

We are having a roof raising! Thanks to the support from our Capital Fund contributors we have been able to start the long awaited Dining Hall and Kitchen renovation project.  As our oldest building on campus, our kitchen was in dire need of some love and care. This year’s rainy season revealed the full extent of the damage to the roof’s structure, when the space leaked as if there was no roof at all! The children use this space to eat, read, study, do homework, play games and attend mass, and we are so excited to finally be renovating this crucial space for them.

BEFORE

roof renovation project holes kitchen haiti orphanageroof renovation project kitchen haiti orphanage

Construction is currently underway to replace and reinforce the structure of the covered dining area as well as the kitchen building. The renovation will solve many problems on our boys’ campus by also adding a drainage space between the roofs of the kitchen and the dining hall. The area is being reinforced with concrete and will drain out the ditch to the back side of the orphanage to avoid any standing water problems.  We are hopeful our dining and kitchen facility will be up and ready for use for our special Christmas and New Years dinners, as these are two big holidays in Haiti!  We are looking forward to the holidays and hosting the guests that will be joining us at the orphanage!

UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

Maison Fortune Orphanage Roof Haiti Under Construction 2Maison Fortune Orphanage Roof Haiti Under Construction 1We will update everyone with completed photos once the roof renovation project is completed! Thank you for your continued support and generous donations!
Maison FortunéNew Roof For Our Boys’ Dining Area & Kitchen!
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Clean, Consistent Water For Our Girls’ Campus – Special Projects Update

In response to Hurricane Matthew, many relief efforts have been focused on solving the dangers posed by contaminated water and broken water supply lines. Hundreds of NGOs and large corporations have gotten on board with the cause to provide Haiti with clean water supplies to offset this acute water shortage. Nestlé Waters North America, for example, pledged to donate $1 million in bottled water products to support disaster relief efforts following the Hurricane.

Special Project #1: Girls’ Campus Well

While it is wonderful to be supporting the immediate need for those hit hardest by the Hurricane, bringing in purified bottled water will be a short term fix for a long term problem. We are all too aware of this, as our girls’ campus has been without a consistent source of running water for quite some time now. Our well is currently powered by a submersible pump which is subject to corrosion from the hard water supply and is no longer functioning.  It is our hope to dig a deeper well to 220ft, which would reach the water table where the water is safe for consumption.  The pumping mechanism for this well would be manual and will allow the girls campus to have safe and consistent access to water long term. The total estimated cost to dig the well and purchase the pump would be $15,000.

water-pump-haiti-rust

Our existing water pump, covered in hard deposits and rust.

manual water pump well haiti

Proposed manual pump example.

We are very excited to share that we have recently received confirmation that a wonderful donor will be helping to cover the costs of this project! We will be bringing in a professional plumber the week of Thanksgiving to assess the situation of the existing well set-up and assess the long-term sustainability of various options.

Another risk factor we must keep an eye on following Hurricane Matthew is the spread of waterborne illnesses. Cholera is back in Haiti and it is something we address every day.  Right now, we have an American Doctor staying at the campus and he is monitoring our children for symptoms. He is also looking into the possibility of vaccines being sent to Haiti by Partners in Health.  Dr. Robinson is a welcomed asset to our campus and we are very grateful for his time residing at the general hospital here in Hinche. Our very own doctor for the children, Dr. Charles, also works tirelessly to ensure that the children are kept in good health and we are taking preventative measures to be able to recognize cholera early.

Special Project #2: Boys’ Campus Landscaping & Kitchen Upgrade

Our dining and kitchen area is the oldest building on the boys’ campus, and sadly it has begun to show its age. The roof has holes and other structural damage which prevents the children from safely gathering here. They use this space to eat, read, study, do homework, play games and attend mass. We need immediate upgrades to this structure so it can be underway now during the dry season.

img_7830img_7824img_7822In addition to upgrading the structure of the pavilion and kitchen building, we will begin the conversion from coal to gas cooking for our kitchen this fall as well! This change will be cleaner for our staff and children, as well as for the Haitian environment on a bigger scale. We are very excited to have received funding to make this move toward clean propane cooking a reality!

img_7836img_7833IMG_7838We also have a proposal to help reduce the standing water around the boys campus during the rainy season as well as address the amount of dirt and dust during the dry season through paving more parts of the boys’ campus.  We will accomplish this by bringing in concrete to the campus to provide for proper drainage and safer areas for play and study.  This landscaping plan is needed to help make our campus safer from mosquito borne illnesses as well as to ensure we can keep our trees healthy to provide shade from hot sun.  The concrete will also help reduce the dust and dirt that leads to many respiratory problems with our children during the dry season.  The plan for the concrete landscaping and kitchen improvement will cost approximately $26K, and we still need additional funding to cover the costs of this special project.

dirt path boys orphanage paving project

Dirt entryway to the boys’ campus, showing where erosion occurs due to high traffic and lack of a paved concrete path.

We could not provide for these sorts of larger improvement projects around our two campuses without the constant support of our amazing donors. Your tax-deductible donation will make a direct impact to better the lives of the boys and girls of the Maison Fortuné orphanage. We operate our non-profit organization with minimal overhead costs to maximize the funds that are able to go directly to the food, shelter, education and programs for these children. Please consider giving to support these special projects online or by mailing a check to:

Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation
P.O. Box 3092
Chesapeake, VA 23327-3092

Maison FortunéClean, Consistent Water For Our Girls’ Campus – Special Projects Update
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A Call for Change – A Move to Clean Gas Cooking

Project:
Convert to Clean Gas Cooking — $10,000

Overview
On the campus of Maison Fortuné the day starts, as most do, with breakfast, then there is a mid day meal served to all the school children, followed then by dinner.  Gas-cooking-Picture2Our cooking staff of works non-stop on the weekdays and on the weekends the boys cook together for themselves.  As with all kitchens – it’s an area to congregate, share stories and hang out… but unlike your kitchen, our cooking flames are fueled by charcoal.  Each WEEK we procure 150 lbs of charcoal to keep our fires hot while the rice is cooked.  In Haiti charcoal makes up more that 60% of the consumed energy but it doesn’t have to.

The cost of charcoal to the island has been devastating – the deforestation, especially in the high mountains, has serious consequences: it causes soil erosion, which affects hydrological cycles and threatens the quality and availability of drinking water. It also causes longer periods of intense drought like Haiti experienced this past winter and has even been linked to rising levels of malaria incidence. Another effect is the destruction of the habitat of species endemic to the country and, more dangerously, makes Haiti vulnerable to natural disasters.  According to the New York Times, Over 98% of the Haiti’s lands are deforested and illegal charcoal is now flowing across the border from the DR where long ago their government banned the production of charcoal to protect its forests.

Gas-cooking-Picture3At Maison Fortuné we are striving to raise the future leaders of Haiti – many of them will find work in agriculture.  This means it is also our job, to make sure jobs in agriculture will exist in the future. For this reason and to begin to reverse the effects described above Maison Fortuné has decided to take the steps towards Clean Gas cooking.

The cost to not do so is far more than the $10,000 price tag it will take to make it happen.  We have researched the type of stoves needed and with your help we can make our clean cooking dreams a reality by the end of the 2016.  Maison Fortuné will set the example for others and work to ensure the future of Haiti’s lands in the process.

Gas-cooking-Picture4The Need

We are seeking 10 people to give $1000 each to reach our goal but any amount you choose to give towards our clean gas cooking appeal will be appreciated.

You Can Make a Difference

We hope you will consider an online gift or you can send your check directly to:

Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation
PO BOX 3092
Chesapeake, VA 23327

Maison FortuneA Call for Change – A Move to Clean Gas Cooking
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Our Wellness Program

Project:
Wellness Program – Ongoing Funding Need

Overview
The Wellness Program  started at Maison Fortuné Orphanage in August 2008 with an on-site medical clinic.  Since that time there has been much progress with the development of a relationships with the nearby Ste. Thérèse Hospital’s, Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health) staff and facilities, and the local MidWives for Haiti volunteers and groups.

Maison FortuneOur Wellness Program
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