During our last theme, Vitality, Simple Charity raised $10,730 to give people life. Literally. Because of your donations, 57 mosquito nets will go to protect 102 people in Togo from malaria, 686 mosquito nets will go to protect 1,235 people in Papua New Guinea from malaria, and 146 water filters will go to give families in Kenya clean drinking water.
Total, that’s 743 nets likely to protect 1,337 people from malaria and 146 water filters capable of giving 3,650 people in Kenya clean water for life. These life-giving changes will improve the health of real people in the world. This resulted from the grace of God and hard work of an entirely student-led organization: Simple Charity.
Now, we are in our Opportunity theme and are raising money to help left behind children in Haiti get an education.
I first met Curtis Stout, founder of Project 117, a few weeks ago. We chatted on the phone as I was riding in the car on the way to the Passion Conference. Immediately, I could sense his commitment to his work in Haiti.
Later, we got to talk again and share our stories. Curtis is from Kokomo, Indiana. He grew up going to church with his family and began to seek and pursue God passionately after his father died when he was in the 7th grade. When Curtis was a sophomore in college, he went on a short-term trip to Haiti and saw extreme poverty for the first time. On the plane ride home, he was moments away from dropping out of school and going to work in Haiti full-time. He decided to stay in college, graduating from Indiana University in 2009 and then accepting an internship in California. Curtis was offered a full-time job, but one night, while sitting on the beach, Haiti came to mind, and he felt the call of God to serve.
He turned the job down, drove home to Indiana, sold his car, and started fundraising to go back to Haiti. He says that he tends to be the kind of person who is “all in” when he says yes to something.
Curtis reconnected with Double Harvest Ministries, the organization with which he went on his short-term mission trip, and signed up for a 9-month trip to Haiti to teach English conversation classes. Less than two weeks into this trip, on January 12th, 2010, Haiti was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The school where Curtis was working closed indefinitely. While waiting for the school to reopen, Curtis realized a need for kids in the area to have something to do and started playing soccer with them regularly. Through innocent soccer matches in the midst of rubble strewn villages, he got to know some children in Haiti very well. “That 9-month trip was all about learning the stories of left-behind kids”, he says. Those stories would lead him to start Project 117.
In 2012, Project 117 became a 501(c)3 non-profit. Now, the school that Curtis founded in Haiti has 102 students in 5 grades, 9 older work-study students, 18 adult students in a literacy program, and a Haitian staff of 20 people.
Ephesians 2:10 states that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This verse inspires everything that Project 117 does. In reference to Ephesians 2:10, Curtis told me that “God created us on purpose and for a purpose. We really believe that is true for every kid in the world.”
Simple Charity wants to raise $20,000 for Curtis’s school. We want to see more and more left behind students in Haiti be given the Opportunity that education affords.
We believe that Jesus identifies with Haitian children, that Jesus says, “Whatever you do for the least, you do for me.” Please give and pray that others will give as well.
To donate, click here and give to Project 117’s Simple Charity Campaign.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18