Haiti on Our Minds and in Our Hearts
by Marline Olivier, founder of Wings of Hope International
Marline lives in the North Georgia mountains with her four children and has worked as an international flight attendant for a very prestigious airline since 1993. She studied travel and tourism at West Los Angeles College and has a degree in Business Management. In her free time Marline enjoys traveling the world, spending time with her family, leading humanitarian groups to the mission field, playing the piano, singing in her church choir, and attending several bible and leadership seminars.
Marline was born in the mountains of Haiti. At seven years old, she left to continue her elementary school studies in the city of Port-au-Prince. She grew up with no electricity and no running water and often watched missionaries flying by helicopter to bring humanitarian supplies to her village. It was that time that Marline started dreaming of becoming a missionary and a flight attendant. Marline left Haiti at the age of 15 to migrate to Brooklyn, NY to join her parents. It was the ultimate culture shock for her.
As a native Haitian, Marline understood firsthand the dire conditions of poverty and the lack of opportunity facing the poor people, especially in the mountains. She remembered seeing kids and adults dying of diseases that could have been prevented if they had even the bare minimum of such things like aspirin, clean water, bandages, and alcohol swabs – things that we take for granted.
Marline’s commitment is best stated in her own words, “I’ve traveled around the world, but no place compares to my beloved island, Haiti. I will never forget the painful memories of my childhood and the absence of basic necessities. I am compelled to go back and try to save the lives of the children and adults in the mountains.”
Thus, Wings of Hope Inc. was created. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to aid those in need by providing basics, such as healthcare, education, nutrition, community development, and disaster relief. The primary goal for Wings is to empower people to strive for global equality. This vision was conceived in 1998 by Marline. Since then, many others, such as doctors, airline personnel, business professionals, youth, and several churches have joined forces to build the organization that provides medical care, education, and leadership training to help the people of Juampas, Haiti and beyond. Wings has three main focus areas:
1. Healthcare – Haiti ranks last in the western hemisphere in healthcare spending and economic instability has limited any growth in this area. Per capita, Haiti spends only $83 US annually on healthcare with an average of 25 physicians and 11 nurses per 100,000 inhabitants. Only one-quarter of births are attended by a skilled heath professional. Most rural areas have no access to healthcare making residents susceptible to otherwise treatable diseases. Haiti needs efforts and dedication from everyone and every organization to
continue to improve and save lives. Wings is aware of these challenges and is committed to impact rural communities in Haiti. Presently Wings is helping by providing better healthcare to the villagers through its medical clinic in Juampas, Haiti, which was built with the help of generous donors and volunteers. The clinic provides regular healthcare to over 200 villagers per month. We help community members with monitoring their blood pressure and assist pregnant women by providing prenatal care. For our students, we provide regular vitamins, health screening, and preventive care.
2. Education – Wings currently educates 300 students in first through ninth grade. Wings offers and supports an educational sponsorship program, which allows an individual or group to sponsor one or more teachers by paying their salary at a rate of $250-400 per month. Several of the youth sponsored by Wings have gone on to be nurses and now work in the clinic, educating and serving their own community. Wings recently received approval for free food from Food for the Poor, so children will have hot lunches.
3. Dental Clinic and Operations – Dental care is non-existent in the community, leading to numerous cavities, dental extractions, and other issues. A critical part of good health is oral health and hygiene. Most Haitians will never have a dental check-up in their lifetime. While the medical center does not have a regular dentist to provide dental care for the community, Wings occasionally brings a dentist from Port-au-Prince to treat the community members. The intermittent service provides minimal care, but it does not allow us to provide regular dental care. Wings has a partially completed second story that it plans on using for a dental clinic. Construction funding will allow Wings to complete the roof and second story dental clinic, providing space for Wings to hire a dentist and establish a permanent dental service.
Marline’s faith in God has gone a long way in accomplishing this vision. As Haiti is going through some very difficult times now, Marline continues to help people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She travels more now to the Dominican Republic to bring humanitarian aides to the underprivileged while she is continuing to support her ministry in Juampas village near the border. She is praying for political stability in Haiti. Wings of Hope is a nonprofit, self-sustaining 501(c)3 charitable organization supported exclusively through donations. There are no salaries, except for the staff in Haiti who work at the medical clinic and the school. Wings of Hope is also seeking funding for operating support and capital expenses to expand operations. The funding will provide staff salary, laboratory supplies, medical expenses, construction projects, leadership training, and remote clinic expansion.
If you need more information, or are interested in short term mission contact:
Wings of Hope, 2210 Holly Springs Parkway, #122 Holly Springs, GA, 30142