Moroni Stake trying to
help Haitian orphans
By Robert Stevens
MORONI—The Moroni Utah Stake Center is trying to help Haitian orphans break out of a poverty cycle.
Moroni Utah Stake President, Gene Peckham told the Messenger that they learned of the dire situation the orphans were in earlier this year and made a decision to help improve the lives of the Haitian children through fundraising to help build schools.
“We have a unique and rare opportunity to participate in a service project for an orphanage in Haiti,” Peckham said. “Haiti is a beautiful country that has hundreds of thousands of orphans living in it. We know that there are people right here at home that need help too, but here we have so much more, including Bishop’s warehouses and other means of support. These are real kids with very real needs, and they have nothing. One girl we spoke to out there told us what she wanted most for Christmas was a bar of soap.”
Peckham and his stake have chosen an orphanage in Saint Marc, Haiti for their relief efforts. The orphanage, known as “Foyer Coin des Cieux” or “Corner of Heaven Home,” was founded by Haitian locals Fritzner and Carole Morlant in 2001 after seeing a great need in the community to help the orphaned children of the struggling country.
The Morlants began by allowing children with extreme needs to stay in their home when they had nowhere else to go, Peckham said, and the number of children they cared for in their home quickly began to grow which led to them obtaining licenses to be able to operate as a recognized orphanage.
Later, a Mormon missionary named Ken Agle served in Haiti and met the Morlants. Agle saw the good works they were doing and began to work towards helping in his own way—eventually starting an organization called Pathways to English, which raises funds to build classrooms in orphanages, Peckham said.
“One of the most pressing needs for the Haitian children is education and especially language,” Peckham said. “Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty in Haiti. Without an education, these children have nowhere to go after they grow out of the orphanage. They will continue to be affected by the seemingly endless cycle of poverty that the Haitian people face.”
Agle and Pathways to English raised enough money to build a second floor for classrooms at the Morlant’s orphanage. Now volunteer educators spend semesters there teaching the children English. Peckham said the next step towards improving the orphanage, and one the Moroni stake is directly involved in fundraising for, is the building of a vocational school adjacent to the orphanage. The cost to purchase the land and construct the vocational school will be approximately $230,000.
“This school is essential to providing a brighter future for the kids at the orphanage and surrounding neighborhood children,” he said. “With it, the kids will be given the skills and knowledge they need to take on careers and break their cycle of poverty.”
The Moroni stake presidency has put a lot of time and effort into assuring that 100 percent of funds raised go completely to the orphanage and school project, with none being siphoned off for administrative costs, Peckham said.
“We did a lot of research to make sure this was done right,” he said. “We guarantee it all goes to the orphanage, and we can even track all contributions, that is how confident we are in it.”
Peckham told the Messenger that the Moroni stake presidency wanted to help out of gratitude for the many things we in Sanpete have that others do not elsewhere in the world.
“During the COVID pandemic, much of the world has incurred many problems associated with it,” he said. “Here in the Sanpete Valley, we have also felt the heartbreaking loss of loved ones and the economic problems associated with it. We feel very grateful as a stake presidency that the Lord has blessed and watched over this small valley. We have a unique opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters worldwide.”
Donations can be made to the Moroni Utah Stake or donated directly to Pathways to English through their website, http://www.pathwaystoenglish.org.