Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday: Visit to Grace Village

On Friday, the Project Eden team visited Grace Village and delivered clothes, shoes, toiletries, and toys supporters in Chicago donated. The entire team was moved by the resiliency of the Haitian people and the compassion and care Bishop Jeune and his family have extended in order to provide a home for the thousands displaced by the earthquake.

Initially a compound housing a girls' orphanage, a church, and a school, after the earthquake Grace Village became a home for more than 14,000 people. The Jeunes administer Grace Village like a city. The residents pay 60 cents per household which covers the salaries for the security staff. Everyone is expected to keep the grounds clean and there is a curfew. The camp has been divided into blocks and the residents of each block meet once a week with the Jeunes and their staff to discuss their concerns about life in the camp and the rules everyone is expected to follow. Residents have even set up booths and sell goods to one another. The camp has reached capacity and cannot allow any more people to put up tents.

We commend Bishop and Madame Jeune for all they have done for the people of Haiti. It is a privilege to partner with them to do the Lord's work here on earth.

Thursday: Our Participants Say "Thank You" to PE

Thursday's graduation was the capstone to three days of hard work by PE and the attendees. And while our participants were thankful for all we shared with them, they blessed us with so much more. As a surprise for us, the participants worked together to show us their appreciation for the workshops. They sang a song for us and presented each PE team member with a unique gift. Finally, they prayed the Lord's blessing over us for our commitment to them and their success.

Project Eden members are humbled by their thoughtfulness and expressions of gratitude. We are grateful to God that we have been so blessed to have met and worked with each one of them.

Thursday: Graduation for Participants!

In Haiti, education is valued because so few have the opportunity to obtain it. Therefore, Project Eden held a graduation ceremony and gave all 200 participants personalized "Certificates of Completion." We also gave "Certificates of Service" to each of our 10 translators, who assisted us everyday. We could not have been successful without them!

Bishop Joel Jeune, Founder and Director of Grace International, a long-time partner of Project Eden, attended the graduation with his wife Doris Jeune, who was also a participant this week. Bishop Jeune oversees 200 churches and worked with Project Eden to spread the word about our program. We are grateful for his partnership and all the work he, his wife, and their team have done to make these workshops a great success!

Thursday: Construction Training (Day 3)

On their last day together, the Construction Team taught on how to develop a construction company in Haiti, step by step. The presentation covered all aspects of business formation including: writing the vision (in accordance with Habakkuk 2:2), creating the business plan, and filing administrative paperwork with the proper government entities. Our participants were surprised to see all the components that go into creating, planning, and executing a successful business.

In the afternoon the trainees were divided into three groups and were challenged to design their own communities. This mini urban planning exercise revealed what participants thought was important to include in a successful community: homes, hospitals, hotels, schools, airports, and stores. It was also interesting to see that they thought services like the fire department, should be located in the middle of the commmunity to provide equal accessibility to all residents.

At the end of the workshop, participants were excited about what they had learned and eager to put it all into practice.

Thursday: One-on-One Business Consulting (Day 3)

On the last day of the One-on-One Business Consulting workshop, business owners finally got the chance to sit down individually with a Project Eden Advisor and go over their business. PE Advisors pulled back the layers of their businesses and gave them strategies on how to expand and streamline their services.

These individual sessions gave participants the opportunity to discuss their unique challenges and ask questions in an intimate and safe environment.

Thursday: Be All You Can Dream (Day 3)

They presented their store design to the Board and explained why they designed the layout as they did. Melzie taught that product placement within stores is key to driving up sales. For example, the owners of the grocery store should put the milk at the back of the store and not the front, so that customers have to walk past aisles of merchandise before they buy an essential item. The purpose is to increase the likelihood that other products will catch customers' eyes so they will make an unplanned purchase. This strategy will increase sales for the owners and educate customers on the merchandise available at their store.

Participants also had to submit financial information with projected sales figures for a two-year period. Finally, attendeess also viewed their commercials as a group, which was an exciting and humorous part of the workshop. It was also a pivitol moment for them to see themselves promoting their own business. The idea that they could have a successful business, with people from all over the city or even the country, coming to buy their products or services, was taking shape.

There were three winning teams out of 15: the Italian restaurant, the natural juice company, and the chocolate company. They were judged on design, creativity, teamwork, as well as the quality and content of their commmericals. Picking the winners was difficult. All of the groups gave 110% and were enthusiastic about the exercise.

Finally, every participant in the Be All You Can Dream workshop received a certificate of completion, a rewarding moment for them and for our workshop leaders.