Give, Pray, Tell: Kelowna Dentists’ Project 7 Helps Haiti’s Children Create a Future

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A look at the new movement to build a self-sustaining village for orphans, fronted by Okanagan Smiles Kelowna Dentistry owner, Jonathan Visscher.

The new drip irrigation system developed by Brad Proud and Chuck Weinknecht, for the agriculture of Project 7 Children's Village.

The new drip irrigation system developed by Brad Proud and Chuck Weinknecht, for the agriculture of Project 7 Children's Village.

This is sustainable and it’s really helping the country because these kids will have the skills and the family support to go on and have healthy families of their own.

When Kelowna dentist Jonathan Visscher first visited Haiti in 2009, months before the earthquake, he arrived hoping to brighten a few smiles. Four years later, Visscher is leading a project that will give dozens of Haitian orphans a reason to smile for years to come.

Visscher, the founding director of the Canadian branch of New Reality International (NRI), went to Haiti’s Trou du Nord last January. This trip was launched after hearing about seven poor Haitian neighbours who were taking turns weekly feeding 24 orphans and their quest to find a permanent, sustainable solution for housing and food.

“We saw this as an opportunity to help these kids by giving them not just a roof and food, but family, skills and support that will make a real, lasting difference in the community,” says Visscher, a partner at the Kelowna dental clinic Okanagan Smiles.

That trip was the beginning of Project 7 Children’s Village, an initiative that will give beds and a future to over 100 orphaned, abandoned, abused, at-risk, and restavek (child slaves) children. Right now Project 7 is building its first two solar-powered homes, where groups of eight children will live with surrogate parents. In addition to the homes, the acreage has a solar-powered well and water purification system, hundreds of fruit trees and chickens which they may use for food or to sell. There will also be a chapel, a medical clinic, and a vocational centre where children can learn welding, mechanics, carpentry, music, and sewing.

“This is sustainable and it’s really helping the country because these kids will have the skills and the family support to go on and have healthy families of their own,” says Visscher. “This is teaching them to feed themselves.”

NRI is seeking donations for the Project 7 village, which is already in the construction phase for building the first home, with the second slated to open in November.

“There are still another 80 kids in town, just sleeping on the streets, who are waiting to come in, so we’re just going to continue building as the money comes in.”

Project 7 aims to make a big difference with a few small acts from a lot of people. Project 7 asks people to 1) pray seven times a week for the village’s children, 2) give a minimum of $7 a week to the construction of the village, and 3) tell seven friends about Project 7.

For more information about Project 7 or to make a donation, visit New Reality International Project 7.

Dr. Jonathan Visscher
Partner, Okanagan Smiles
hello[at]okanagansmiles[dot]com
http://www.okanagansmiles.com
1-250-763-3338

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