Operation Starfish - HBC Group's Commitment to Impact and Improve Lives in Haiti

by Karen Briscoe
June 21, 2018

Food For The Poor (www.foodforthepoor.org) and Church of the Nativity's Operation Starfish (www.operation-starfish.org) have worked together since 1998 to develop 11 nativity villages in Haiti. These village projects include more than 1,400 housing units, along with water systems, sanitation facilities, schools, healthcare, and small businesses. Operation Starfish was founded by a native of Burke, VA and is named after the Starfish Story - http://operation-starfish.org/about1/.

Our very own Jennifer Olivera introduced this charity to the HBC Group, and has herself made the trip to Haiti over the last few years. In 2017, HBC Group sponsored the construction of a home named for Jennifer. In 2018, she'll be going again and HBC Group has committed to build another home for the community.  We welcome your support and help.  If interested, contact HBC Group for more information on how to contribute or click this link - https://champions.foodforthepoor.org/team/173443

Their goal for 2018 is to head back to Despuzeau, 40km east of Port-au-Prince, and continue to help in any way they can. The ways in which Operation Starfish aims to help is through constructing and painting housing, school construction and outfitting, starting animal husbandry businesses run by locals, and building a community center.

About 2,500 people currently live in rural Despuzeau. They largely live in mud and stick huts with dirt floors. Many do not have beds, so they sleep on the dirt. When it rains, they gather in a makeshift church building because their huts leak and become muddy. Operation Starfish plans to continue to build more houses this year. Each house includes two rooms, indoor toilet, outdoor attached kitchen area and solar lighting. Existing structures will be demolished and the occupant will own the land and house free and clear after 3 years occupancy. This year, a wonderful agent from our office, Tim Heil, generously donated enough for an entire home.

About 280 children are currently receiving instruction for half a day in a combination of locations: a church building, an open shed, and a dilapidated former sewing school structure. The building are in very poor condition and there are no bathrooms or electricity. There are many more children who could attend school but cannot afford the small amount needed for tuition, books, and uniforms. Groundbreaking for the new school occured in 2017.

90% of the population of Despuzeau live with an income of less than $2 per day. Jobs are scarce. Most families subsist on 1 meal per day - usually rice, pea soup, and maybe a few cut up vegetables. After input from the community, Food For The Poor recommends an economic empowerment project with egg laying chickens, broiler chickens, pigs, and cows. A co-op arrangement will provide jobs and income for about 80 families.

Most community meetings, visiting clincis, and social events take place either outdoors or in the church building, which is also used for school sessions. This structure is not in good condition and does not have toilets or lighting. A community center is needed to provide space for meetings, vocational training programs, shelter during storms, and social events. Such a center would be operated to provide jobs and revenue from rentals.

The team of agents at HBC Group at Keller Williams would be delighted to assist with your real estate needs, whether selling or buying a home. The group of active and experienced Realtors® in the Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and Washington, DC marketplace consider it their mission to improve and impact lives. Please contact via the means most convenient for you: www.HBCGroupKW.com, 703-734-0192, Homes@HBCGroupKW.com.

Karen Briscoe is a partner of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Realty Group (HBC). The HBC Realty Group has been named to the Wall Street Journal Top Realtor® Team List. Over the years, the group has sold over 1,000 homes valued at over $1 billion...
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