In 2013, Just Haiti added the association OPDCEL. Most of the farmers of OPDCEL are located in community of Toy-Toy, which is in the Belladere region. Just Haiti is partnering with Grace Community Church of Frederick, MD and Food for the Hungry.
Belladere is located approximately 3-hours east of Port-au-Prince in the Centre Department, bordering the Dominican Republic. Cutting through the community is one of the four major roads between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Most all of the approximately 80,000 people who live in the region are subsistence farmers. Only 15% of the children in the community are able to attend school. And given its close location to the Dominican Republic, trafficking of young children is a major issue in the region. Through the coffee project, we are helping to support the community’s most vulnerable people.
Belladere is a mixture of mountains and low-level valleys. High in the mountains the area is rich with coffee trees that are perfect for the work of Just Haiti. Several decades ago this region was known for its coffee — exporting it to the U.S., Japan, and France. However the coffee trees been mostly left unattended for the last twenty-years, with the only coffee being produced being sold at local markets. Through the work of Just Haiti, coffee farmers in Belladere revitalizing their coffee production.
OPDCEL began with 35 farmers, but has grown to 50 farmers over the past year. The association will continue to add new farmers in the coming years to increase production.
Marie Lourdes Exantus proudly showing her coffee beans.
Rosena is a 28-year-old married woman with 3 children. She owns approximately one acre of coffee plantation. In 2014, she was among the 35 members of coffee association who shipped coffee to the United States of America.
“I was nervous about the coffee project. The benefits promised were too good to be true. I waited to see the money come before I really believed in the business,” she said “now I plan to use the profit from the sale of coffee to buy land and build a house for my family.” When she smiles, her gentle strength shows. “I am so proud to be a member of the coffee association.”
“I’m so grateful to this organization for the assistance they have given to me and our community at large,” she said. “I really can’t remember the last time we earned this much from any single sale. May God bless you all whenever you go assisting the poor.”