But you see the trouble and the distress, and you will do something.
The poor can count on you, and so can orphans.
~ Psalm 10:14
My "All Art Friday" feature of January 22 included a brief item on the Apparent Project, an arts ministry in Haiti. Today, I want to fill out the sketch of that project I started last week.
Corrigan and Shelly Clay, who live in Haiti and have adopted two Haitian orphans, run The Apparent Project, a 501(3)(c) nonprofit that, among its other activities, trains Haitians in fine art, sewing, and craft-making. The Clays' aim is to teach Haitians to support themselves with marketable art, clothing, jewelry, and other artisanal goods. For example, they and project staff are working with a group of women to teach them how to make and sell bead necklaces and earrings.
The Clays hope to build an art school some day. They need many supplies and much more assistance to realize that goal. Currently, in addition to teaching adults, they are sponsoring classes for children, offering lunch-time "parties" to feed street kids, and offering food and in some instances shelter to those with little to nothing to call their own. (Details on the Clays' arts-related ministry are here.)
The promotional video below explains the importance of the work the Clays are doing in Haiti, this island nation that is just two hours by plane from Florida. The statistics cited in the video are astounding:
✭ 500,000 orphans, most of whom have living parents (a number likely increased since the January 12 earthquake) and most of whom are illiterate;
✭ 11% employment rate among the more than 9 million residents;
✭ $400 average annual income;
✭ 80% of population living below poverty line, 54% in abject poverty;
✭ 120,000 cases of HIV infection, with 7,200 deaths from AIDS, each year.
The poverty in Haiti is so deep, so entrenched, it almost defies solution. The Clays endeavor daily to help eradicate it. They work in small ways that produce big results: a means to a livelihood that itself is a means to survival.
A vitally critical aspect of the Clays' work is countering the extraordinary circumstance of orphans and "relinquished children", children of living Haitians who are giving up their children because they cannot care for them. As the video seeks to show, much more remains to be done to eliminate this practice.
Since last month's earthquake, the Clays have undertaken a small emergency relief effort of their own to bring food, water, medical supplies, and other aid to Haitians. For information on how to make donations, including online via Paypal, click here.
The ApParent Project from Corrigan Clay on Vimeo.