LOVE Takes Root grew out of a medical mission trip that was taken by Dr. Rick Wilkerson to Port Au Prince, Haiti in 2010. While working at a hospital, Dr. Wilkerson saw an adjacent shelter that was filled with children. He visited and spoke with "Mamma." Mamma is a 70 year old grandmother who is in the untenable position of feeding, housing and caring for over 50 orphaned children in a debris-covered make-shift tent with little food, clothing and medical treatment available.
Dr. Wilkerson's experience ignited a group of people back in Iowa to organize and plan out a way to help this orphanage. The team is comprised of educators, financial experts, medical personnel, realtors, small business owners, farmers, college students, lawyers and community volunteers. Together, the team identified the need to:
- Connect the orphanage with sources for their basic needs (e.g. clean water, food, clothing and shelter)
- Deliver tools and lessons for basic education
- Arrange for the children to be medically assessed and help address as many of their medical needs as possible
- Assist them financially, and explore a means of income to eventually become an independent, self-sustaining organization
Goals and Objectives
It is essential that the children of Haiti are exposed to educational opportunities in an effort to break the cycle of poverty experienced by so many other countries following a natural disaster. The establishment of schools, accessibility of literature, and the building of an infrastructure that provides for a sustainable schooling system are important.
Additionally, children in Haiti are in desperate need of improved nutrition and access to adequate healthcare. Many children in Haiti suffer from HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, measles, malaria and pneumonia. Similarly, they have high rates of fatalities due to injuries. It is essential that these children be provided with the opportunity to live a healthy life.
All children deserve adequate shelter. The streets of Haiti are not a suitable place for children to live and it is essential that buildings destroyed in the earthquake of 2010 be rebuilt in an effort to provide children with a safe place to be.
Sustainability is essential in a country such as Haiti. For many working in international relief and development, there is the knowledge that individuals and services will greatly change over a chronologically short period of time. It is important that partnerships with on-ground organizations are formed and that education is disseminated through these partnerships. Similarly, it is important that Haitians are trained in effective and sustainable ways that can lead to economic and political recovery.
Finally, a unique component of LOVE Takes Root projects is our hope and expectation that each project, upon attaining self-sustainability, provides whatever financial support it can to the next LOVE Takes Root project. We hope to build a chain of communities across the world that are united in their desire to help children in need, wherever they may be."