Our Mission

The mission of Haiti Plunge, Inc. is to educate, challenge and empower both American and Haitian youth in social, educational and agricultural sustainable development in rural Haiti. The organization is committed to enabling young people to make a difference with their lives and be of service to others.   

Empowering women to support their families' food security 1 garden at a time.
Raised Gardens for Women
 
This project has been developed to empower disadvantages women in rural Haiti to take an entrepreneurial and innovative agricultural opportunity to support their families' food security and financial stability. Teams of youth and young adults will work with Haitian women and their communities to build raised garden beds and together learn about the benefits of this agricultural technique. Our organizational mission will be fulfilled by proving that young young people can make a difference in the wolrd, one garden bed at a time.
 
Although HPI has been working with the nine villages in the rural mountains of Haiti for over thrity years, the patriarchal nature of the Haitian culture remains strong. Women generally do not have a say in community affairs and are mainly responsible for taking care of the home. This includes raising the children, collecting the water and going to the market with food grown by the men in their subsistence gardens.  This project gives women more say in the foods they serve to their families and allows the women to have additional income.

The original project goal was to build 50 raised gardens for women living deep within the mountainside of Haiti. The Hait Plunge was able to build 37 with a $10,000 grant from the Two West Foundation, as well as several others from donations by generous friends of the program.  As with any project in Haiti, cost over runs are a reality because of the circumstances.  From the onset of the project in 2016 the cost of the wood for the gardens has more than doubled.  HPI will continue to build the raised gardens but will use cinder blocks which are less expensive.  Building with blocks presents its own set of problems especially when trying to transport 120 cinder blocks to the home of the women. Each block weighs 20 lbs. 

A survey was conducted with the women in August 2017 to see just how much the gardens benefitted the women and their families.  30 women had three harvests and 7 had two harvests of the vegetables they grew:  carrots, beets, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, lettuce, and squash.  A few experimented with broccoli and cauliflower.  They used all of the produce to feed their families.  A few would occasionally sell vegetables to the HPI teams because they wanted us to taste what they grew.  When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in Oct. 2016 all of the major crops grown in the family gardens were destroyed.  The only gardens that survived the hurricane were the raised gardens.  For some families that was their only food source. The Haitian population living in the mountains grow all their own food.  For 18 months previous to Hurricane Matthew Haiti suffered from a drought.  Food was extremely scarce.  Many survived on roots. 55% of the children living in our villages suffer from malnourishment and diseases related to it.

Women have also learned how to compost which is absolutely necessary to enrich their soil for each new planting.  HPI received a grant to build a community compost bin which will be accessible to all the women in the village of Brely for their gardens. The plan is to build one large compost bin in each village for the women to access.

Each garden cost $300 USD to build, which includes the materials to build the garden plus the start up seeds and a water collection barrel.