This overwhelming undertaking may sound fiercely aspiring, not to say audacious. In any case, for this 39-year-old changed heroin fiend the philanthropic test is excessively convincing, making it impossible to disregard.
“I think we can rejuvenate this nation totally and make it a spot individuals need to visit,” he says. “It’s possible.”
In 2011, Florida developer Michael Capponi started a nonprofit organization to help the Haitian people after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Named the Haiti Empowerment Mission (HEM), it helps the people of Haiti primarily via education and the supplying of tools to aid the nation in becoming self-sustaining. The organization was created after the realization that the tropical island would continue needing help long after the emergency missions gave temporary medical and housing aid to the Haitians.
The main focus of the mission is the commune of Jacmel, which in the early 1800s was a well traversed port of Haiti and was once called the “pearl of the Caribbean.” HEM helped create a temporary village made of durable, recyclable materials to house families learning the hospitality trade as well as providing private schooling for children. The organization pays rent for these families one year at a time as long as the parents are looking for and/or have jobs and the children stay in school.
The organization’s goals for the future include making sure the kids graduate high school and, hopefully, one day go to collage on scholarship in the United States while making the promise to come back to Haiti.