Local missionaries seek donations for projects in Haiti
Marc Honorat is one of the lucky ones.
For the better part of his childhood, he worked as a slave in his home country of Haiti.
With help from strangers, he was saved, granted an education and is now using his good fortune to help others like himself.
“It is very important because, myself, if someone didn’t take the time to take a little bit of what they had to invest into my life I really don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing,” he said.
Honorat said his parents gave him away at the age of five because they were too poor to sustain a family with 15 children. He worked as a slave in exchange for food and shelter, but was not allowed to go to school.
“When I turned 12, my brother came to visit and found out the way I was being treated,” he said.
“He got me out and put me in a children’s home.”
Freed from slavery, he was given the opportunity to attend school with the help of sponsorships from abroad, including that of the Roberts family of Airdrie.
“At 12 years old, I started going to school for the first time,” Honorat said.
With help, he attended college in Jamaica where he met his wife, Lisa, before moving to Calgary to finish a degree in theology.
While it has been a long time since Honorat was a slave in Haiti, he hasn’t forgotten the reality that still plagues much of his home country.
“Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” he said. “In Haiti, people don’t have anything. One in 10 children there are slaves today.”
“It’s always in my heart to go back to Haiti.”
Honorat said he prayed to find a way to give back to his home country.
“We got the vision to go back to Haiti to start a technical school,” he said.
The Honorats founded Haiti Actively Raising Individuals to Serve and Evangelize (ARISE) in 2000 with the idea of building a Bible College to help train faith-based leaders.
They travelled to Haiti several times before moving there in 2002 and expanding the organization partnering with local and international missionary groups, and including projects such as building schools, doing emergency relief, building shelters for victims of slavery and drilling wells in communities.
“We do everything we can,” he said.
He and his wife Lisa and kids Asher, Miesha, Jasmine andAriana live in Airdrie for the summer months, raising funds and acquiring resources, and return to Haiti every October staying until June to continue their projects.
“Because when I was growing up myself I never had the experience of this family love. We would like to bring those children and give them a family opportunity and put them in school,” he said.
The Honorats leave in October and are seeking donations and/or volunteers to help their cause.
“If they want to come and teach a class, they can teach at the technical school,” he said. “If there is a nurse or a doctor, they can contact us,” he said.
“We have so much here. It’s always good to give back and to help someone and to change a life.”