Adda Coffee & Tea, the coffee counterpart of Adda Bazaar, benefits a new nonprofit every 3-4 months through our Doing Real Good $1 drink program. We work with our partner to choose or create a drink, and donate a $1 from every sale of that bev for the duration of the partnership.
It's important to us to spread the word about the missions of the organizations we support beyond our program. Today, we're happy to introduce you to our Fall 2021 partner, WORK, benefitted by our Caramel Latte. :-)
We hope you'll get to know them and follow along on their journey, especially as the people they support experience an especially difficult weather season in Haiti.
1. Tell us more about WORK.
WORK is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that accompanies families in Haiti out of poverty through good, dignified jobs. Our goal is simple: to place two heads of households into dignified work so that they can pull themselves out of poverty forever. We partner with our sister organization First Mile to create a market for informal waste collectors to reclaim waste material and divert them from the environment, while generating a dignified income.
We use a holistic approach created alongside our families. We ensure all essential needs are met and gaps are filled for whole families. Our community works together to promote safety and cohesion and our families have access to resources within the community which enables efficiencies, savings for families, and creates jobs. We offer life skills, professional and business development in support of dignified work so families can end poverty for themselves and their community forever.
2. What's WORK's connection to Pittsburgh?
Our Founder, Ian Rosenberger, is from Pittsburgh and our Executive Director, Vivien Luk, graduated from Heinz College at CMU and lived in Pittsburgh for 7 years. WORK's office is located in Homewood in the 7800 Susquehanna Street building. We share an office space with our sister organizations Day Owl and First Mile. If anyone is interested in stopping by our office, let us know! We'd love to have you.
3. What are some of the projects you're working on through the end of 2021 that proceeds from our Caramel Latte sale will help support?
Proceeds from our last partnership with Adda's Doing Real Good drink campaign supported the development of our Community Garden. We started the garden to provide our families with access to fresh vegetables and an additional food source during COVID-19. We hired an agronomy expert, Wenley, who was a former tutor in our education program to direct the garden project. He and our group of community volunteers have accomplished quite a bit since the project began; building a well, compost area, a shaded area for instruction as well as different types of beds our students can learn a variety of different gardening methods. Some of the beds are constructed from found objects such as buckets and tires from our existing waste collector's network. The garden includes 16 varieties of herbs and vegetables, including onions, peppers, tomatoes, okra, corn and basil. As with any garden there may be some unwelcome guests. In Haiti, these come in the form of goats! Our community volunteers worked together to find a solution to help keep them out of the garden by making fencing from damaged super sacks that are used in waste collection.
Wenley built out a gardening course for our secondary school students last year, however, due to the challenges in-country, we decided to hold off on the program to allow our students to focus their efforts on school. Once we are able to launch this program, students who enter it will participate in a 48 hour course that will be conducted over several weeks in which, they will learn about plants, photosynthesis and soil structure as well as how to build the garden, grow and harvest a variety of vegetables and ultimately work as a team to distribute the harvest to our families.
For this year, we will use the funds raised from Adda's Doing Real Good drink campaign to continue our rebuild efforts from the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on August 14, 2021. In a short 48 hours after the quake, a few members of our local team arrived in Les Cayes, close to the earthquake's epicenter. They were able to reach some of the most remote areas, locating 80 of our First Mile waste collectors and their families, delivered targeted assistance, addressed physical and medical needs, burial support, distributed more than 20,000 lbs of supplies, 5,000 hot meals in partnership with World Central Kitchen, and assisted with building temporary shelter for families whose homes have collapsed.
There’s a lot more work to be done, but we’re proud of all they've accomplished. The proceeds from Adda's Caramel Latte will support our ongoing response work and long-term plans - continued wrap-around services for our waste collector network and a rebuild of roughly 90 homes. At the beginning of November, we started repairs and rebuilding. We estimate it will cost $5,000 for each home. Every little bit counts!
4. How can people get involved with WORK?
There are many ways to get involved depending on your interest! First, we'd like to invite you to join us at our upcoming virtual event, Bright Futures. Our week-long, virtual event will take place Monday, November 29th through Monday, December 6th with one virtual get-together on the evening of the 29th, a few recorded sessions from our families in Haiti, and online activities including an online auction, all of which you can participate in at your own pace. Thanks to our corporate partners, this year’s event is free for our supporters to attend. We want to take the week to show our appreciation for our supporters and celebrate what's possible when we all come together.
As mentioned, this year started with continuing efforts to keep our families safe from COVID-19 and the political unrest to the assassination of Haiti’s President Moise and an earthquake that devastated many families. Despite the setbacks, more of our families are making an income this year than in previous years, and the number of students attending college will more than double from last year. We hope you can join us. Please RSVP here in order to receive access to our virtual get-together, videos from our families, and our online auction.
The other ways to get involved include joining our monthly giving program called the 1:1 Campaign, participating in our 2022 Run Across May or volunteering with our team here in Pittsburgh. To learn more, join us at www.dowork.org or email Christina Marsico, Director of Engagement at Christina@dowork.org.
5. Is there anything you wish people understood about your work, Haitian culture and/or the people you serve?
Things have never been more difficult in Haiti. All of the major neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince are currently run by gangs, and that cuts off the provinces. There’s a leadership vacuum that won’t be filled anytime soon, which doesn’t help with the need for external support. The government is in a mountain of debt that makes it difficult to procure essential needs.
However, the population is there to work and to lead. Our work has never been more purposeful - to address the ability for the people to work themselves out of poverty and have a voice in shaping Haiti’s future. It’ll continue to take time, but we’re not wavering even the least bit. We encourage everyone to continue to learn about the situation and ask questions. To start, here's our recent dialogues on Haiti: https://www.dowork.org/