It is defined as the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. This word has become the champion for socially, ethically and environmentally conscious organizations seeking long-lasting results. Everyone wants to join the sustainability party these days!
It is one of the reasons I started HandUp Global Goods five years ago. I knew that providing jobs for orphaned young men, in addition to other programming, was the key to maintaining success at a consistent level in Haiti. Jobs mean independence.
Here’s the Truth.
But it was several years into our project that I realized we had created a false sense of sustainability. The jobs we were providing were entirely dependant on our ability to sell. It was also dependent on the high performance and efficiency of the young men we were seeking to serve. Keep in mind that our first group of young men grew up on the streets of Haiti. While there was much to be admired in them, there were many HR issues that arose that consumed our energies and hearts and made production an all-consuming (next to impossible) task.
I’ve been looking to the prototype of Jesus for direction this past year. How he approached his mission to humanity, his style of ministry, and the resources he left behind. Wasn’t he the master of sustainability? He developed deep relationships with the closest of his disciples. He walked, slept, ate and cried with people. He became one of us. And when he left, he penetrated our hearts with a piece of himself.
This same spirit lives in his church today, including his church in Haiti. I’ve learned that the idea of a job sounds so FABULOUS. It felt so good to be the hero for the first couple of years. So good! But there was so much brokenness (in all of us) and I was drowning in trying to put the pieces together. What I learned is that I can’t. Kingdom work, Jesus taught, is walking alongside people and loving them. Kingdom work is helping fan the flame of the spirit in one another.
I learned that sustainability lies in the Holy Spirit’s ability to empower Christ followers to do good work. Jobs are good and sorely needed, but without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we are left broken.
Jesus and Jobs.
For this reason, we have slowed down our emphasis on production (for the moment) and have increased our programming efforts in order to build change from the ground up. Please take a moment to read our recently updated mission statement.
Who We Are:
HandUp Global GOOD partners with local churches in Haiti to provide holistic care to what we call the forgotten ones; the orphaned males who, we believe, have the potential to change their communities from the ground up.Instead of ORPHAN MAKERS, we walk alongside them to bring a new generation of OPPORTUNITY MAKERS.
What We Do:
Teens in Transition (TnT)
We’re strengthening our partnership with Grangou and continuing to provide transitional housing for their qualifying teens who age out of care. Our two-year program allows these young men to finish school, acquire a trade, and most importantly, be mentored by local church leaders who believe that the young men of Haiti are the key to igniting change from the ground up. A HandUp Liason from the U.S team oversees the health and progress of the Teen in Transition program.
Hands of God
Max, one of HandUp’s original graduates, has taken the good that has been invested in him and has started a transition house for orphaned boys in his community. Backed by his local church and a HandUp Liaison from the U.S Team, he is raising and discipling 12 young Haitian boys so that they can bloom in the country which God has planted them. This program is supported through sponsorships, churches and individual contributions.
HUGG Mission Market
Our Fair Trade market is the engine that fuels most of our Teens in Transition programming in Haiti. We hire local artisans, that include HandUp’s Teens in Transitions, to make beautiful artisan goods that we sell through HUGG Mission Market. We inspire and educate shoppers to positively impact the lives of HUGG artisans by using their purchasing power for good. 100% of the profits from our mission market go back to growing our Jesus and Jobs model. We tap into the potential of using fashion as a catalyst for social change in Haiti.
Meet Nickenson. He is one of the new five young men who recently aged out of our partner home. With your support, he will benefit from our TnT program and finish high school, learn a trade and so much more. Most importantly, he will understand what it takes for a young man in Haiti to build change from the ground up.
"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17
Let’s usher in change by raising up strong men who will one day change their communities from the ground up. This is sustainability with eternal results.