Center of Hope (Haiti) is the fulfillment of the vision of Emmanuel St. Juste. Emmanuel was born in Hinche, Haiti, where his parents raised five boys and five girls amid abject poverty. Emmanuel was trained in the ministry in Haiti and came to Stamford, Connecticut, in 1974, where he formed the French Speaking Baptist Church of Stamford.
Emmanuel visited Haiti every year where he witnessed worsening poverty and deprivation, especially the growing number of orphaned children. The AIDS epidemic left hundreds of thousands of Haitian children with no moms, no dads, no home and no one to support them. Many of the children "live" in the cemeteries. Emmanuel comments, "The Lord opened my eyes to see the misery of those hopeless children and He brought into my heart the idea of giving some hope to those children."
Emmanuel brought his vision to build an orphanage in Hinche, Haiti, to his congregation and they enthusiastically embraced it. The congregation began by collecting one extra dollar from each member each Sunday to buy the land on which to build an orphanage. Emmanuel shared his vision with many organizations, including its long-time missions partner, Wilton Baptist Church of Wilton, Connecticut.
In 2004, one of our Advisory Board members, James Lipscomb, enabled the formation of Center of Hope (Haiti), Inc. and its tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3). Since this early beginning, Center of Hope Haiti has received support from individuals, businesses, charitable organizations around the world and many volunteers and we are very grateful that such support continues. Today, the Center of Hope (Haiti) is not only a 501(c)3 tax exempt corporation, but also an approved NGO in good standing in Haiti.
We celebrated our grand opening in October 2010 and began our first class, 15 first graders, in October, 2011.