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our story

Our story begins in 1985 when founders Peter and Berry Rice first traveled to Haiti to visit their college-aged son, Clai, who was then working for Father Jean Monique Bruno, an Episcopal priest and educator. That journey was the beginning of a deep and committed relationship between the Rice Family and Father Bruno that has lasted more than 30 years and has been the cornerstone of all that has been created since. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1985, Peter and Berry got right to work raising funds to support the educational initiatives of Father Bruno, namely a school in Limonade, Haiti and a vocational school in Cap-Haitien. In time, Father Bruno’s dream of building a school in Terrier Rouge became the primary focus. Peter and Berry decided then that it was time to transition from a small “mom and pop” fundraising group to a 501(c)3 non-profit, and Bethlehem Ministry was born! The name was chosen by Father Bruno. As he explained to Peter and Berry, “Bethlehem means House of Bread and we are going to be about feeding the poor and hungry.  We want to offer the Spiritual Bread to everyone who crosses our path.”


Berry’s favorite saying, “Dream Big!” became the mantra for many years to follow as Bethlehem Ministry expanded the scope of its outreach. Our mission, however - to work in community with Haitians towards Haitian empowerment and sustainability – remained our guiding principle.  The outgrowth of this community partnership is a holistic, multi-project approach to addressing the problems of abject poverty in Haiti, namely environmental degradation and lack of access to education, adequate healthcare, and sustainable employment. Today we work in close partnership with a local NGO, Espérance et Vie, to oversee our 2 main programs: a pre-K through 13th grade school (College St. Barthélémy); and a medical clinic (Clinique Espérance et Vie), which seeks to meet the health and wellness needs of the local population. We also cooperate and collaborate with another non-profit organization, Partner for People and Place, an income generating, sustainable agricultural project (Jatrofa Projenou.)


Our Board of Directors consists of people dedicated to our mission and passionate about our work in Haiti. We regularly travel to Terrier Rouge, maintaining close ties there and remaining intimately involved in the ministries we support. Rather than providing only short-term solutions to the crippling effects of poverty and environmental degradation, over the last 30 years we have worked alongside Haitians to build a new foundation for long-term sustainability. Through education, job creation, and access to health care, we are empowering the Haitian people to achieve sustainable independence, to give them a voice in creating their future, and to encourage them to embrace the mantra of our founder and “Dream Big!”

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