From Canada to Haiti: Kelowna dentists raise funds to ship supplies to self-sustaining village for orphans

Two Kelowna dentists are putting out a call for help to raise nearly $22,000 to ship a container filled with classroom materials to Haiti.

  • Aug. 28, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Two Kelowna dentists are putting out a call for help to raise nearly $22,000 to ship a container filled with classroom materials, clinic supplies and even two tractors to a self-sustaining children’s village in Haiti.

“I don’t think words can describe what it will mean to the children,” says Dr. Debra Matson-Visscher. She and her husband, Dr. Jonathan Visscher, both partners at Kelowna dental clinic Okanagan Smiles, have been a big part of New Reality International’s (NRI) mission to build and raise money for Project 7—a sustainable safe haven for nearly 100 orphans in Trou du Nord, Haiti.

Over the last year, the first home was built where 24 orphans already live with surrogate parents, and the second home is under construction. In the meantime, the Visschers have been busy collecting supplies to help make the village self-sustaining and give the children the tools to learn trades and build a future.

Dozens of Kelowna dentists, doctors, businesses, organizations and the school district have helped to fill a 40-feet long container with donated supplies: sewing machines, mattresses, French textbooks, desks, tools for the mechanics and woodworking shop, instruments such as organs and trumpets, supplies for a future medical/dental clinic and chapel, and even two small tractors to help till land for growing food.

“The supplies in the container are going to give these kids a chance to get an education and learn skills so they can have a future outside of poverty and support their own families,” says Matson-Visscher. “It also means we’ll be able to bring doctors and dentists to the clinic, and the whole community will benefit from that.”

Throughout construction of the Project 7 property, which includes a security wall that will surround solar-powered homes, solar-pumped wells and a garden already growing corn, lettuce and papayas, NRI was able to employ more than 200 local Haitians.

“It’s really given them a sense of ownership and something to take pride in,” says Visscher. He visited Project 7 as the stakes were going in the ground for the first children’s home as part of Phase 1. Phase 2 will see the second children’s home being completed, irrigation for crops, and the cargo container arriving to outfit Phase 3 buildings—a third children’s home, a chapel, a vocational centre and a medical/dental clinic.

“Everyone has been so generous about donating supplies and money for this project,” says Matson-Visscher. “Now we need to ask for the community to support us to get the container to Haiti so the children can enjoy and benefit from those supplies for years to come, even generations.”

To learn more about Project 7 and to donate towards the shipping of the container, visit: http://www.newrealityinternational.org/#!donate/c1ghi.

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