Lawrence Technological University participated in Alternative Spring Break International in partnership wtih Reconstruction Efforts Aiding Children without Homes (REACH) for orphaned children of Pwoje Espwa orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti, as part of REACH's Voluntour Program. The program was so successful that they have continued the partnership to send groups of students down for one week at a time during the months of March, August, and December for the next three years.
A voluntour brings together the experience of an international tour and the opportunity to volunteer to better the lives and living conditions of children who have been devastated by poverty, natural disaster and war. Through the REACH program, Lawrence Tech students use their education and life experiences to bring decent, environmentally friendly housing solutions to children in Haiti who have been devastated by the earthquake.
Volunteers eat and sleep at the orphanage and work directly with Haitian people in the community to design and build the homes as part of a job training program for the Haitian people. During this process, all the volunteers learn about the importance of sustainable housing and develop useful construction and building skills while gaining valuable leadership and teamwork experiences.
The orphanage houses more than 800 orphans and feeds and educates hundreds more daily. In the aftermath of the earthquakes, many families and orphaned children fled Port-au-Prince into Les Cayes, seeking refuge at or around the orphanage. In addition to building houses, the team brings supplies of their own as well as unload and distribute supply trucks.
The participants have to raise at least $1,000 to help fund the construction of the homes as well as pay their own travel and lodging costs.