If you’re still unfamiliar with the CLM program and how it changes lives of families living in Haiti’s Central Plateau, take a minute to read a description of CLM from David Bauser, recent intern at Abiding Hope in Littleton, CO.
There’s a program in Haiti called Chemen Lavi Miyo (CLM) which means Path to a Better Life. The program takes women from ultra poverty and seeks to raise them to a level where they can sustain themselves and their family. The CLM program puts these women in a group with other women in the same situation and provides them with a caseworker. Over the next 18 months the women work in their group and with their caseworker to establish a personal enterprise (gardening, animals, selling convenience items, etc.). They receive training in running the business and providing for their families. Meanwhile their children are put into school (there is no free education in Haiti) and they are provided the materials to build a decent home with a solid roof (they work with their family and their neighbors to build the house).
My experience with CLM comes at the end of these 18 months when the women have a graduation ceremony. This particular group started with 98 women. All 98 were present and receiving a certificate for completing the program. A 100% graduation rate is impressive enough. It’s even more impressive when I was told that many of these 98 women walked 3-4 hours that morning to get to the church where we were having the ceremony. They walked carrying their clothes for the ceremony so that they could bathe in the river next to the church and be wearing clean clothes for the graduation. As the ceremony began the women processed through the town and into the church singing a beautiful song in Creole. While I didn’t understand the words the pride and dignity in their voices translated without problem. As the ceremony continued several of the women shared their testimonies about the program. It did not take long for a pattern to emerge in their stories. These women had nothing. No food. No shelter. No hope for their future or for their family. But through the CLM program they have been given a home, a sustainable business, clothes and education for their children, and most importantly hope that they can have a future. It seemed appropriate that I experienced this just two weeks before Easter because in the faces of these women I saw true resurrection.
I’m currently at Abiding Hope on my seminary internship. We talk a lot at seminary about bringing hope into people’s lives and about touching people with the love of Jesus. This graduation was the first time that I truly understood what this means. Through the CLM program and HTF we have the ability to bring people into new life through the love of Jesus. In the Gospel of John Jesus promises that “whoever believes in me will do the works that I am doing, and will do even greater things than these” (14:12). And this is what CLM is doing. Raising not just Lazarus but hundreds of women and their families into new life. We have a goal to raise $25,000 by the end of this summer. This is enough for another 16 women to be raised up to new life where they can care for and sustain their families and where they have hope for their future.
Jesus promised us that we would do greater things than he. I believe this is exactly what he had in mind.