The/Studio: Introduce yourself. Tell our readers a little bit about who you are!
Mandy: My name is Mandy Thody, I am an administrative director of Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti since 2013. I live in the Virgin Islands and travel to Haiti frequently.
The/Studio: It’s a pleasure to meet you Mandy! What does your foundation do?
Mandy: We are a 501 ©3 non-profit with 2 schools, a microloan and other programs benefiting 2 rural communities. We believe all humans have the right to stability, peace, and basic resources as a minimum.
The/Studio: That’s very important work that you and your foundation are doing. What have you learned since joining your Foundation?
Mandy: In Haiti you never stop learning! Learning Creole, learning a different culture, dealing with all the possible problems of life in the 3rd world – hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, floods, politics and more! And you learn how very similar people are everywhere, no matter their color or culture. You learn that we are all ‘at home’.
The/Studio: What about your foundation are you most proud of?
Mandy: We are small and adaptable – we can be there on the ground and make quick decisions based on community needs and consensus, to use donations and skills to their maximum potential.
The/Studio: What are some of the greatest challenges you face with your foundation?
Mandy: Banking charges and difficulties in moving funds to Haiti. Fear of bureaucracy and corruption makes people reluctant to donate or help charities. Costs of travel are very high. We also work on an off-shore island so remoteness and lack of stores and supplies makes forward planning a big challenge!
The/Studio: Where do you see your foundation in 10 years?
Mandy: We hope to make our communities much more resilient and as self-supporting as possible within that period. We hope to have all children in primary school at the right age, and all families benefit from better nutrition and healthcare.
The/Studio: That would be wonderful! What type of legacy do you want to leave?
Mandy: Every child should have enough to eat and basic primary education and healthcare. Every family should benefit from improvements to infrastructure and rights.
The/Studio: What is the story behind the custom product that you produced with The/Studio?
Mandy: A donor responded to our teachers’ and staff’s wish for uniforms, so the badges will promote team spirit and show how proud staff are of our schools and small businesses.
The/Studio: How are you going to use this custom product?
Mandy: On shirts and aprons for our teachers, admin staff and cooks.
The/Studio: Do you have any promotions you would like to offer our community?
Mandy: We bring handcrafted goods from our sewing classes and our communities from Haiti and sell the items to raise funds for the programs.
The/Studio: Do you have any upcoming events that our community members can attend?
Mandy: On St Croix in the USVI we hold regular events such as coffee-mornings, and items can be purchased from our Facebook page and website.
The/Studio: Is there anything our community members can do to help your Foundation?
Mandy: We need donations to continue all our programs and develop our communities in a wholistic way – our agriculture program feeds the schools, improving health in the village, while our small business loans and microcredit enable families to climb out of poverty and get their children to school, scholarships help older children get places in trade schools and better jobs, adult literacy and craft classes inprove skills and job prospects in the villages too… Each program benefits the others. Donations can be made by check or Paypal online, through= our Facebook page Good Samaritan of Haiti or our website and blog, www.goodsamaritanofhaiti.com