N0013442693 138357 

Collier Citizen- Still hoping: Naples-based nonprofit updates donors on progress made in Haiti

When JoAnne Kuehner felt the Haitian soil beneath her feet for the first time more than 26 years ago, she fell in love with the land and its people.

That love grew into Hope for Haiti, a nonprofit organization based in Naples that works hand in hand with many communities in Haiti to improve quality of life in the country, located on the island of Hispaniola.

Many miles of seawater couldn’t keep Kuehner away from the poverty-stricken country.

With a vision of creating sustainable communities in Haiti, Kuehner founded the nonprofit that began with a big request from a little girl.

“I was a board member for AmeriCares and made my first trip to Haiti. There, a little girl asked me to pay her tuition to her school,” Kuehner said. “We started with education and I feel strongly that education is the most important thing.”

Last week, officials with Hope for Haiti, including Kuehner, met with individual donors in the community to speak about the progress made in Haiti in recent years, despite the damage caused by natural disasters like the 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake that destroyed communities.

Between 2012 and 2015, household poverty rates in Haiti’s partnering communities has decreased by 12 percent, said Tiffany Kuehner, Hope for Haiti’s vice chair and chief executive officer, who took over the organizational reins from her grandmother, JoAnne.

“If you compare that to the national average in Haiti of 7 percent in 12 years, that’s an eight times acceleration factor, so our communities are tackling poverty eight times faster than what’s trending in Haiti,” Tiffany Kuehner said.

Read the full article in the Collier Citizen here.