In 2010, a historic and catastrophic earthquake rocked Haiti, killing over 220,000 people. Shortly after, Hurricane Sandy plowed through.
The WELS Christian Aid & Relief organization immediately responded. These WELS members had an opportunity to support our Caribbean neighbors, seeing how many children, families and communities were left in need after the natural disasters. But, relief funding is only intended to be temporary, to help get a community back on its feet post-disaster.
When the time came for WELS funding to end, congregation members from St. Paul, MN worked hard to set up a registered charity. They would continue to raise and channel the funding required for the Lord's work in Port-au-Prince and across Haiti. Lee & Linda Petersen and Rev. Terry Schultz & Mary Schultz, along with Darryl & Pam Folkens, Tom & Judy Kuster, Michael & Jas Klebig, and Kathleen Menke were instrumental in the founding of Branch Lutheran Schools as a stand-alone charity. The registered nonprofit, “Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti,” was born.
The work at Branch Schools has been blessed; the grassroots project continues. Thirteen years later, there are now over 1,100 children in six schools that are eating nutritious meals & learning crucial numeracy and literacy skills, and growing daily in the knowledge of their Savior Jesus Christ.
Amidst high inflation & difficult times, political corruption, floods, earthquakes, poverty, and gang-related crime roiling through Haiti, children are grateful for the opportunity to go to school. And teachers and academic staff are paid competitive salaries. All of this is encouraging for the next generation of courageous Haitians.
All because of the generous givers to Branch Schools. This #GivingTuesday raised over $48,000 for our Haitian neighbors in Christ. The work continues and is blessed. Thank you!
--Lauren Frey, guest blog author.
Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti, Inc.