Brian Mundackal shares about this unique initiative
Lumen Vitae is a humanitarian organization, which accompanies young people, especially those who find themselves hindered by poverty in marginalized situations around the world, on a path to abundant life. Born from the heart of the Jesus Youth mission in Haiti; it uses education, practical support and mentorship to empower young people to realize their dreams and shape the future of their communities.
It was only a little over three years ago when I would walk in the sunny afternoons from house to house of Camp Corail with Jemps Jean, our school support agent, to check in to see how our students and their families were doing. At that time, our entire operation consisted of our feet, our ears and whatever papers we could fit into our backpacks. When I think about our energetic staff in Haiti and the countless generosity of our volunteers and sponsors in America, I am marveled by the Lord’s providence and humbled by His confidence in us to start Lumen Vitae to serve some of the most marginalized students in Haiti.
Today, we have nearly 600 students enrolled in schools across zones like Croix-des-Bouquets, Mirebalais, Carrefour, and Anse-à-Veau in Haiti. The program has also yielded over 20 high school graduates, who have, in turn, volunteered to become mentors to accompany the younger students in the program. This reinforces a key theme which we like to communicate to our young people: “without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Mt 10:8). In addition, this past December was extra special for our students because of the efforts of hundreds of children across the United States who “Shared the Light” and sent Christmas gifts to their brothers and sisters in need.
As we evaluated necessary areas of growth to further our mission, we recognized the need for what has now become our newly opened Learning Center. We saw that partially due to the availability of university seats, our previously sponsored students were encountering difficulties in entering an accredited bachelor’s degree program. Meanwhile, we also noticed that there was a great need for language and computer skills to provide a competitive advantage for young people who desired to work to support their families immediately after their studies. As a means to help equip students to excel in these areas, through the help of two corporate partners, we were able to launch our “Learning Center” where we host English and computer classes every morning for students who have graduated from High School but have not yet started university or work. In the afternoon, the center transforms into a tutoring space where our younger children come to receive additional instruction from the older students. In the future, we hope more learning centers can spring up in our newer zones, giving an opportunity to create spaces for further learning and mentorship.
This past year has not been an easy one for Haiti; marked by political differences, gang violence and rapid inflation of goods. For the vulnerable populations which we serve, the opportunity to receive an education, a daily meal and have mentors closely accompany their journey can be the only source of light in the midst of much darkness. We hope that through education and accompaniment, we can put our students on a path to abundant life!
Lumen Vitae Mission
Accompany –Towards A More Dignified Life
Educate — To Inspire Hope & Virtue
Transform–To Build A Brighter Future
To find out more information about our project or how to sponsor a child, please visit us at www.lumenvitae.us.
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