My name is Costa Mavraganis and I am a Greek Orthodox Christian. I am also the director of Hands of Humanity, that has been working in Haiti and Cuba for over 14 years. I write to you as a private citizen and fellow Greek Orthodox Christian that you may consider helping our Orthodox Christian family in Haiti.
Father Barnabas is Haitian born but was educated in Greece. He speaks fluent English, Greek, French, Spanish and Haitian Kreyol. He started the St Jean de Frres Orthodox Elementary School 10 years ago. He was receiving financial support, as well as a small salary ($1,000 a month) from the Archdiocese of Greece for most of those years. However, since the financial downturn in the Greek economy, and the devastating earthquake of 2010 in Haiti, funds have dried up for the school. And even though he has four children, he has not received his small salary in over 18 months. The Archdiocese of Mexico to whom he belongs, while offering whatever support possible, does not have sufficient means to meet the needs for Haiti.
Yet, Father Barnabas continues to fight. And, even though I had traveled to Haiti several times since 2005, I had no idea we had a Greek Orthodox presence in Haiti. It was only recently that I learned of Father Barnabas, and the great work he has been doing there. It is why I have turned my attention to helping not only him, but also the hundreds of children to whom he offers a free education. This is critical in a country where 50% of children never have the opportunity to go to school! Education is their best chance of escaping poverty in their lives.
Unfortunately, Father Barnabas and the children are in dire straits. If financial help does not come soon, he will need to close the school, as it is already in arrears. This will be disastrous for the 250 children who attend, and also for the Greek Orthodox community worldwide. The irony is that is he can educate, and feed these children for only $25 per student, per month or $300 per year versus the 2009 average of $10,499 per year in the US. Please view the 2013-2014 budget at http://www.handsofhumanity.org.
Working together with the Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico, we have set up a new Child Sponsorship Program on their website at www.GoArchMexico.org. All donated funds will go directly to Hands of Humanity, and then be distributed directly to St Jean de Frres Elementary School. Every month, an accounting of funds will appear on the Hands of Humanity website at www.handsofhumanity.org.
In Haiti, we have approximately 250 children ready to be sponsored. We have set it up so that a sponsor will pay $25 per month for one year. They can also make a one-time donation. Also, to take it a step further beyond just a donation, we have set up lines of communication so that sponsor and child can form a real relationship by mail. This is a great way to help these children of God, in more ways than one.
We have more than 500 Greek Orthodox churches in the US alone. If just one person, in just half the churches in the US sponsors a child, we will meet our needs. Or, perhaps, as a congregation, or Philoptochos, or Young Adult group, or other affiliate organizations in the Parish etc, you could sponsor a child with something as simple as a special offering, or a monthly coffee hour, etc. This would also be a valuable life lesson for perhaps a Sunday school class. Not only could they learn a great life lesson, but they could also exchange information directly with one of the classes from the school.
I understand that all churches are under pressure with budgets in these difficult times. It is precisely why we are asking all Greek Orthodox churches to make just a very small contribution. Individually, it is a very small commitment, but as a whole, it will make a tremendous difference in 250 of Gods children. They are not just some poor Haitian children, they are OUR children.
In the very near future, we will be sponsoring mission trips to Haiti to connect our Greek Orthodox brethren in the US with those in Haiti. We will also be sponsoring mission trips to Cuba in support of our church in Havana, St. Nickolas of Myra. Both Haiti and Cuba are fascinating places to visit, and places where we can make a real difference.
I respectfully urge you to spread the message of this communication to all your parishioners at , while also asking them to visit the Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico web site at http://www.GOArchMexico.org so that they can read about the exciting ministries offered by the Church in bringing the saving Grace of Orthodoxy to all the people throughout the broader region of Central America and the Caribbean.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be reached by phone at 973-462-0702 or 503-473-7418. I would be happy to speak with you to discuss this further.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Time is of the essence, yet I know together we can rise to this worthy cause! Let’s show them that they matter to us.
† In Christ ,
Costa “Gus” Mavraganis
Site (direct) > www.GOArchMexico.org/sponsor_a_child.html
Hands Of Humanity > www.HandsOfHumanity.org
Δείτε ένα βίντεο για την Ορθόδοξη ιεραποστολή στην Αϊτή. See a video about Orthodox christian mission in Haiti.
Click here: http://youtu.be/Hl0EcHxyv1s