By: Whitney Sessa
In February, Barry University's Women's Rowing Team raised more than $1,000 to be donated to Amor en Acción’s housing project in Jean Rabel, Haiti. Today, the team's selfless deed continues to give, providing a mother and her eight children shelter in Haiti, and most importantly, a home.
Following Haiti’s tragic earthquake in January, the Women’s Rowing Team began brainstorming ways to raise money for relief efforts. The team decided that it would be able to help most by doing what it does best – row.
In February, the team organized and hosted its first official ergathon and rowed the distance from Miami to Port de Paix, Haiti. Using more than 10 ergs, rowing machines, set up outside of Thompson Hall, each team member rowed 13.5 miles, a total of 246 miles or 396,000 meters. The fundraiser created university awareness and raised more than $1,000 in donations during the five-hour event.
By combining the ergathon’s raised funds with donations collected by Barry’s Department of Campus Ministry, the university was able to donate $4,000 to Amor en Acción’s housing project to be used toward the construction of a house in the village of Baguette, one of the most isolated and needy areas of the municipality of Jean Rabel. The new, three-bedroom house, which was completed in May, is providing a mother and her eight children with a sturdy home to withstand heavy rains and hurricane season.
For its housing project to have the largest effect in Haiti, Amor en Acción joined forces with The Religious of Jesus and Mary, an international apostolic congregation of 1550 sisters and associates who perform mission work in Haiti and 25 other countries.
The Religious of Jesus and Mary has been involved with housing in Jean Rabel since 2004, helping to build more than 200 houses and repair nearly 40 others. Houses built include one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom homes. Future owners are asked to contribute anywhere from $500 to $1000 U.S. dollars depending on the size of the home.
Placing a strong emphasis on education as a catalyst for change in Haiti, the Religious of Jesus and Mary housing project also requires that every child in a recipient’s household be enrolled in school.
The Religious of Jesus and Mary [RJM] are an international apostolic congregation of 1550 sisters in sixteen provinces, with a generalate in Rome, Italy. Its sisters and associates, the Family of Jesus and Mary [FJM] are present in twenty-six countries and serve in educational institutions, retreat houses, catechetical and social service centers, and pastoral ministries.
Amor en Acción, a Catholic lay missionary group of the Archdiocese of Miami, has been working with local bishops of the Dominican Republic and Haiti since 1976. The not-for-profit organization provides assistance with local self-help projects of evangelization, nutrition, education, medical assistance housing and water.
For more information about The Religious of Jesus and Mary, visit http://rjm-us.org. For more information about Amor en Acción, visit http://www.amorenaccion.com.
Rowing Fundraiser Provides Home for Haitian Family
By: Whitney Sessa