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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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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…And We Couldn’t Agree MORE!

The faces and smiles of our MFO family speak volumes to ALL that YOU, the corner piece of our puzzle, have done to grow MFO in 2018.

Here are a few highlights that will bring a smile to YOUR face as we get ready for 2019!

Our Scout Troop — Catherin Flon, named after the women who sewed the first Haitian Flag, celebrated their third anniversary!
Every year, our Scouts enjoy activities including: leadership training, an overnight summer camping trip and weekly Saturday meetings.
Our 6th grade class had a perfect graduation rate – with all 26 students moving on to the 7th grade! This Fall we welcomed our newest crop of preschoolers numbering 38 in ALL!
Our Primary School continues to accept local residents without cost – this means families in Hinche don’t need to choose between providing education or food to their children – they can have both!
We have 86 high school students, with 6 expected to graduate to their Final Philo year in June 2019.

MFO is a busy place! All of this is happening plus our daily operations are running full steam ahead…three meals a day, laundry washed and dried, shoes on the feet and most importantly making sure all water wells are in working order, latrines are safe, and our clinic is ready to care for our kids AND keep them healthy!

Speaking of Latrines – due to your most gracious giving and support of our emergency appeal, we have completed installing new toilets and a shower area for our Girls Campus! You’ll be pleased to know that we have also received a special grant for security upgrades to ensure our Girls’ well being and provide them with a secure campus.

As we get started on our 2019 adventure we are grateful to have you joining us and can’t wait to share our stories of smiles and hope!

THANK YOU for making these dreams come true for all of us!

Maison FortunéA Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…And We Couldn’t Agree MORE!
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My, How Time Flies!

A Note From Mary Kwasniewski, MFOF Executive Director

When I was younger, I always thought it was strange when adults said “Time flies!” Now as an older adult myself, I say it all the time, including this month when I was reminded that I’ve been part of the Maison Fortune family for more than four years! Wow, time flies!

Mary K. with Mama

Ashley Horner, Jean Louis, Mary K.

Jean Louis and Mary K.

Oday was nine when I started and now he’s thirteen years old, in the sixth grade and growing a little taller each time I visit. Gilberson was in fifth grade; he’s now in ninth grade and an amazing math whiz! Mary Denise was in eleventh grade and now she is studying to be a nurse at University Notre Dame in Hinche. Tchi Tchi was the “new boy” four years ago – one of the first boys I met when I arrived. He is now in the third grade and so many new boys and girls have followed behind him.

Mary K. and Oday

Mary K. and Gilberson

Mary K. and Mary Denise

Mary K. and Tchi Tchi

In the process of working with Jean Louis to move our children to a better future, I often find myself thinking about priorities. We can’t fund everything. We can’t be everything these kids need. So I think, if we can just do one thing, what should be the one thing we do for Haiti’s future leaders?

We should give them hope.

Hope is what Maison Fortune cultivates. We don’t make the kids smarter; we don’t make them faster or stronger. But we do take away fear. Fear of where the next meal is coming from. Fear that they won’t be able to go to school. Fear that they won’t have a safe place to sleep that night. We take away the fear and doubt and replace it with hope, so they can learn, play and grow. Like kids are supposed to do.

Time flies — Haiti’s leaders are coming — don’t miss out — become a part of it! I hope you will join us!

Give Hope Today!  

Maison FortunéMy, How Time Flies!
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We Need Help: Girls Campus – Septic System Repair Project

Last week we had an unforeseen event at MFO — our Girls Campus septic system failed. The system that was in place was not built to handle the number of girls we currently have at MFO. This system failure has impacted the lives of the girls and the staff at the campus. We started immediately to build an additional septic system, but this is a new, unexpected expense, and we simply don’t have the resources to solve this problem on our own.

 WE NEED YOUR HELP! The cost to repair the septic system is $10,000 – or only $111 per girl!  With your help we can make sure our girls have a safe and sanitary place to call home and become Haiti’s future leaders!

We are asking all of you once again if you or someone you know can please help us repair the septic system for the girls. On behalf of all our girls we are once again counting on your generosity and thank you in advance for you willingness to help with this worthy cause. You can donate DIRECTLY to the Septic Repair Project using the donation form below.

Background Information

In early 2008 the leaders of Maison Fortune Orphanage opened the doors for 10 girls affected by adverse situations in the community. In Haiti, the education of girls is often viewed as a secondary priority — at MFO we wanted to set the example that girls are Leaders too! In 2013, as our girl population grew we permanently moved to the location we now call the Girls Campus. Today at MFO we care for 90 girls, we have added new space for beds, purchased more mattresses and maintained the facility with new paint and concrete repairs.

When you have the comforts of a home and fresh meals each day, it’s easy to forget that many people around the world do not. Our children at MFO have many needs, and we work diligently to manage, monitor and allocate the funds that come from our supporters to the most critical projects to ensure the safety and welfare of our children. Sometimes, however, just like at your home — life can throw you some curveballs!

Please Donate to the Septic Repair Project

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Maison FortunéWe Need Help: Girls Campus – Septic System Repair Project
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We’re Off To A Great Start!

unnamed-1This time of the year not only is a time for celebrating but also the time to welcome VISITORS to our campus. This is a key part to our success and our ability to keep offering the services we do. When our story becomes your story we all win!

The orphanage becomes a second home to individuals reaching out to learn more about our mission to larger groups that are seeking an organization to help.The MFO boys and girls cherish the love and time volunteers spend with them during this season. Personal experiences lead to the best stories and we are thankful that upon returning to the states so many of you share our story with others!

We have many plans in store for 2018:

· assisting in the successful graduation of 5 MFO Alumni completing their senior year in college,

· renewing our commitment to education for our primary school ensuring we continue our high standards,

· and we will begin to look at ways to reach out into the community to make sure children that don’t need to be in our care can be placed back with family members or other primary care givers.

With all of this on our plate we also will continue to work to meet the daily needs of food, shelter and security for all of those in our care. The help of volunteers who bring not only their time and love but also supplies of clothing, hygiene items and toys this work is not only possible it is happening every day! We are so thankful for our community and we look forward to 2018 – our 18th year of service together to the Haitian Community!

Maison FortunéWe’re Off To A Great Start!
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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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Greetings from the Maison Fortune Foundation Board

 As some of you may know, my name is Ryan Kenrick and I am the President of the Maison Fortune Foundation. During a recent lunch with the MFO Foundation’s fearless Executive Director -Mary Kenrick-web-FamilyKwasniewski – Mary challenged me to write about what continues to draw me to Maison Fortune.  I’m a 34-year-old attorney with a wife and young family, so naturally I bristled at yet another task to add to my never ending “to-do list.”  Nonetheless, I accepted Mary’s challenge and spent some time asking myself a series of questions about why I stay involved.  It was a worthwhile exercise and really re-energized my commitment to the Foundation.  Today I thought I’d share with you two of the most important questions I asked myself…

  • Why do I believe in Maison Fortune’s mission? As the President of the Foundation I think about this question a lot.  Haiti is a complicated country with complicated problems, but fortunately, the answer to this question is simple.   I believe in Maison Fortune because we focus on educating Haiti’s youth.  In my eyes, educating our residents is the single most important thing that Maison Fortune does—period.   If Haiti’s circumstances are ever going to change then it’s the educated Haitian youth that will drive that change.   A common criticism of American NGO’s is that we think we have all the answers.  At MFO we know we don’t have all the answers.  Instead, we believe that if we give our kids the educational tools they need then they will come up with the answers for themselves.  This is what drives us to put a premium on education at Maison Fortune.  In our primary school we teach 291 kids (this includes over 176 local kids from the neighboring town).  We send another 96 kids to high school and 23 of our young adults are currently attending university or technical school.    I firmly believe that the education these young people receive with the support of Foundation will make a difference in their lives and their communities.
  • Are we making any progress? The answer is unequivocally, yes!  When the Maison Fortune Orphanage first started in 2002, Jean Louis (the founder of the Orphanage) only had the resources to focus on the most basic needs of our kids—food and shelter.  We’ve come a long way from those humble beginnings.  With the financial support of the Foundation, Maison Fortune has grown into a quite an impressive operation.  We now have two campuses providing a home for over 175 boys and girls.  In addition, over 700 meals are served on these campuses every day (this includes meals to the local kids who attend our primary school).  With their basic food and shelter needs met, our kids can focus on their education and they are excelling at every level!  Perhaps this is most evident in the 23 young men and women who have finished high school and are currently studying in universities and technical schools throughout Haiti.  These future leaders of Haiti are truly at the cusp of becoming contributing adults in the Haitian society—and best of all, they know it!  When you look at them you can see it in their eyes.   When you listen to them talk about internship opportunities and career paths you can hear their confidence and hope.  This is absolutely progress and it’s what gives me the motivation to keep supporting the Foundation.

Whether you’re a longtime supporter or a new friend to the Orphanage, I challenge you to spend some time today thinking about your own involvement.  You can and you do make a difference in the lives of these kids.  It’s important to reflect on this from time to time.

As always, I’d like to thank you for your thoughts, prayers and support.

Maison FortunéGreetings from the Maison Fortune Foundation Board
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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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