When ODI Started

The first trip to Haiti

In 2010, our founder, Joel Byram, went on the first of many trips to Gonaives and visited several Haitian workers who had started schools, orphanages, and churches.  The directors of these orphanages took him to their schools, unfurnished classrooms crowded with children.  It was obvious the children were underfed.  The directors pleaded for food and supplies.  Separately, each director mentioned that no matter how much they expanded, the buildings would immediately fill with orphans and neighborhood children who want to learn.  This is our current focus—food, shelter, and supplies for these schools and orphanages.

Where ODI Works

Gonaives, Haiti

Gonaives is the third largest city of Haiti and about four hours north of the capitol, Port au Prince.  The city has been flooded twice (in 2004 and 2008), sending walls of water and mud over twelve feet high through the flat area .  Then came the earthquake of 2010, and now, they are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.  Untold thousands of people have died in these natural catastrophes and the aftereffects, which has led to thousands of orphans all around the city of Gonaives.   The earthquake prompted an unprecedented flood of billions of dollars in humanitarian aid, but many experts say the money has not brought the widespread improvements that it should have.  The aid is especially slow at reaching the more rural areas of Haiti, away from Port au Prince.

What ODI Does

Helping the helpers in Haiti

We chose “Helping the Helpers in Haiti” as our motto, because ODI is committed to helping other people who are already doing the work… They just need the resources to continue what they have already begun!  Our projects include repairing schools, feeding impoverished children, buying water purifiers, and constructing  restrooms and classrooms.  ODI’s work revolves around the orphans and underprivileged children.  Because there are almost no public schools in Haiti, people must depend on schools run by private charities. These are scarce, understaffed, and usually unfurnished.   As a result, fifty percent of Haitian children do not attend school.  Approximately 30% of children that do attend primary school, will not make it to third grade; 60% will abandon school before sixth grade.   We want do our part to improve these kid's educational opportunities!

How ODI Works

Fulfilling the vision

We work closely with the Genadas, a Filipino family who have given their lives for the people of Haiti.  Over the years, they have founded an orphanage, a deaf school with housing for the students, a water purification facility, two primary schools, and multiple feeding stations.  They also founded a ministry college, and the graduates have started their own orphanages and schools in more rural areas.  We directly contact the Genadas and the graduates of their schools to learn the needs of their community, then we work to provide for those needs.  This is where you come in!  The donations raised by ODI are sent directly to Haiti to finish the projects listed on our projects page (there aren’t any overhead costs!).  The Genadas employ local people in order to provide jobs and teach skills while improving the community.

Rural Haiti
Joel Byram with Haitian Orphans
Building in Gonaives Haiti