Isaiah 44:3 “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”
The friends and supporters of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers are already aware of the great work accomplished by both at the Notre Dame Bakery project or “Notre Dame Boulangerie” in Les Cayes, Haiti and the changes it has brought in this desperately poor community. The workers and sellers of the Notre Dame Bakery Project, are inspired and committed to making life better for themselves and their children. Job creation and income generation have flourished through this project. The 20 trained workers in the bakery and 50 sellers on the streets developed excellent systems to produce and sell 1500 bags of bread per day. Thanks to our donors who enabled the Bakery Project to get a truck for hauling flour and also distributing bread to sellers, the effort has recently been expanded to more rural Haitian communities like Rosier, so the number of bread sellers is growing ! This gives them an income, and opportunities for education for their children as well .While this effort has been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for new ventures, including equipping a small café or “Resto” as they call it in Haiti, with an oven, refrigerator, sink, table settings and display case. We have developed and tested some menu items for lunch and catering events. We have also piloted and launched our education program, providing job training and leadership development to enable these successes.
Another challenge in Haiti is obtaining adequate supplies of clean, safe drinking water While there are community wells and tap water, the quality of water is not reliable. Unfiltered water is a potential cause of disease, and recent events show the importance of sanitation in preventing disease.
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have agreed to spend $55,000 to purchase reverse osmosis water purification equipment and erect a building in which to place the equipment and run the business (to begin September 2020). This is in part due to the generosity of our donors. for start up costs associated with the business. The location for the water business is adjacent to the bakery, and this quality water will be sold at the bakery, at the Resto, at the store and at the Notre Dame Bakery’s three other distribution centers. Current bread sellers will be invited to increase their incomes by adding water sales to their selling initiatives. Bringing wholesome bread and more sources of pure water to these communities will make a big difference.
Donations Needed for Water Jugs and Other Start Up Costs
The start up costs for this aspect of our project include purchasing large water jugs and caps, and funds for five workers to run the water business as part of the Notre Dame Bakery Project. The large 5 gallon water jugs shown in the pictures cost $5 (USD) each (and will be returned for a deposit and reused). The caps are .25 (USD) each and while the caps can also be sanitized and reused, it is more efficient to treat them as a disposable item. Initial needs are for 250-500 jugs and a corresponding number of caps. A gift of $5,000 or multiple gifts that can contribute to this start up cost would allow operations to move forward.
Having the support of a maintenance service for the equipment and training in operating the filtration system and in marketing the bottled water ( which will be reasonably priced) is also needed for a period of 6 months after this phase of the project opens for business.
Since the goal is to develop Haitian leadership, the Sisters, in partnership with NDMV, are emphasizing an educational and training program. We will also continue the vital training necessary to ensure successful outcomes at the bakery including: income generation; business math and operations to assure efficiency and profitability; commercial kitchen safety; and safe commercial delivery driving.
We have also made training a regular part of our business practices, with scheduled training a part of every workers’ experience each week. We need to improve our technology to continue our classes.
During this phase of our project, the Sistres active in it will enhance and expand their educational efforts through a small mentorship program with our key leaders. We will introduce business people from the Notre Dame Mission Volunteer network to some of our entrepreneurial workers and sellers at the Notre Dame Bakery, in the new water venture, and at the Resto and store – in order to foster mentor/mentee relationships, for the mutual benefit of all parties.