The Haiti Christian Development Fund (HCDF) started over thirty years ago right here in Jackson, Mississippi at Voice of Calvary Ministries (VOCM). HCDF was started by Jean Thomas, a native Haitian who came to Jackson in 1976 to work with John Perkins and VOCM. HCDF is a church-based, Christian community development ministry headquartered in southern Haiti. Working on a very limited budget, HCDF has truly grown into the main community development work in southern Haiti. Starting in Fond-des-Blancs, HCDF now has satellite churches in six other communities in Haiti, and each one has a school and community development initiatives. The organization continues to be driven by the people of Haiti who work hard to improve their own communities.
In the 1980’s, HCDF started L’Exode Primary School. The school has grown to 1500 children in seven campuses. It is marked by L’Exode children performing at the top of national tests annually, which is why they currently have a waiting list. In 2012 HCDF began a middle school and high school in Fond-des-Blancs after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 destroyed most of the school buildings in Port-au-Prince. Our first graduating class of high school students will be in 2018.
This past week VOCM began a conversation between HCDF and Belhaven University to provide online classes to L’Exode high school seniors beginning as early as the fall semester of this year. We will likely begin with the students in Fond-des-Blancs being able to participate in Belhaven’s High Scholars program. High Scholars is a dual enrollment program through which HCDF’s seniors and juniors can complete their high school courses and as well as earn college credit.
HCDF is the best grassroots based, Christian community development work that we know of. We also know that Belhaven University provides a quality education second to none, all in a committed Christian setting. Excellence and Christian principles undergird both HCDF and Belhaven University. It is an honor to help to develop a partnership between the two institutions. For more information on HCDF, visit www.hcdf.org. For more information on Belhaven University, visit www.belhaven.edu.