How one Ford owner is reuniting Haitian children with their families

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How one Ford owner is reuniting Haitian children with their families

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Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries.  “Survival is based on your family; every core value of social work is proven even truer here,” says Haiti Mama founder and Ford Expedition owner Tausha Pearson. “Especially the hope you have in belonging.”

When Pearson, a single mom and social worker from Minnesota, received a $10,000 tax refund in 2014, she knew she wanted to do “something cool” with the windfall. A friend who was working in Haiti and needed a social worker who could work with mothers called Pearson. “A powerful gravitational pull sucked me here,” Pearson says.

Touring 23 orphanages, Pearson learned that about 80 percent of the “orphans” were the children of parents who were too poor to care for them. A turning point came when Pearson and a group of Haitian social work students were approached by 12 homeless boys asking for food.

“The social worker in me started doing intakes,” she says. “I asked basics: age, when they last saw their families, where they slept—and learned most of them also still had parents.” Pearson had found her mission—and Haiti Mama was born.

One year later, Haiti Mama has reunited 14 out of 15 boys with their families; provided the housing that empowered six mothers to bring their children home; educated 11 boys; and dispensed nutrition and employment assistance to more than 80 family members. “With all of Haiti’s challenges, it can be hard to feel like you’re making a dent,” says Pearson. “But empowerment spreads, from family to community, and you start to see the impact grow on a macro level.”

How long will Pearson—whose own two sons live with her—be a mama in Haiti? “I’ve committed to stay until every one of my 15 boys has a job and can support himself,” she says. Toward that goal, Haiti Mama is developing alternative education and apprenticeship programs in fields like mechanics and carpentry. “It takes a village,” Pearson says. “Here in Haiti, that mentality is very real.”