WHO WE ARE
A HISTORY OF THE FREEDOM HOUSE
The Freedom House was founded in the summer of 2014 after Wesly Louiceus had heard about the terrible poverty in Laborde, a village in the mountains in central Haiti. The village, only accessible by foot, had no school, church or medical care. Wesly hiked for hours to get to the village where he witnessed the most severe poverty and abuse he had ever seen. Children were dying of malnutrition and worms. They all had scabies and other health issues. Many of the children were being forced into slavery and abused, and had no shoes, beds or clothing.
Upon Wesly’s return to his home in Croix des Bouquet, he immediately notified people for help about the horrible conditions and impending deaths of many children. Prior to rescuing some of the children one child had already died from malnutrition. Due to the severity of the situation, people from Maryville Tennessee fundraised for a safe place to live, beds, clothing and a full staff to care for them.
The house currently cares for 27 children. Many of these children are from Laborde, then more were rescued from high-risk situations in various areas throughout Haiti. By teaming up with the US missionaries (who lived and helped run another orphanage in Haiti for almost three years) and other independent supporters, Wesly is providing for their basic needs and raising the children to love Jesus.
What does it mean to be a child at “high risk”?
Most of the children at the Freedom House were either a restavek or in extreme poverty labeling them a child at “high risk”. A restavek is a child that has been given to another family as a servant in hopes to have their basic needs met. Usually these kids are between the ages of 4-15. They do all the household chores, cooking, cleaning, washing and fetching water. They are often abused and most likely do not go to school. We can’t change the fact that this still happens in Haiti but we can change the lives and futures of our kids. These kids now have FREEDOM everyday, and NEVER have to worry about things such as their next meal or shoes for their feet. We want to offer these kids a lifetime of Love, Hope AND Freedom to be the change for Haiti’s future.
FREEDOM isn’t just a word… For us, it’s our MISSION
FREEDOM HOUSE STAFF
Wesly is the Founder and Director of the Freedom House in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti where he disciples his staff and 27 children mainly rescued from slavery or extreme poverty.
Wesly's father was shot and killed when he was just a baby, and his mother couldn't afford to care for him properly. His grandmother took him in, although she was already caring for many other children.
When Wesly was 10 years old, he was in very poor health. He was taken in by a orphanage where he stayed until he turned 18. He was on the streets with no work, food or a place to call home. A friend that was employed at another orphanage offered Wesly food and shelter in exchange for some work. He soon became a full-time employee.
Since then, Wesly has held a variety of orphanage positions including Director of Construction, Leadership Ministry Team Assistant, Director of Team Ministry, as well as a vital role in the simple church planting ministry across Haiti.
He loves the Lord and cares deeply about the future of the children God has entrusted in his care. He has a big vision for their future - a vision that these children will be the next generation to break the cycle of spiritual and economic poverty in Haiti.
Tracy has always had an adventurous heart. At the age of 17 she joined the Army and served her country for four years. Tracy then attended the University of Michigan School of Dentistry where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene. After working in private practice for 8 years, that sense of adventure came full circle when Tracy and her husband decided to sell their dental practice and move from Michigan to Tennessee with their 3 young children. Once settled, Tracy immediately felt led to serve through the missions program at her church and in November of 2012 her journey in Haiti began. On this trip she would find love and compassion for a country that desperately needed help.
After that first trip Tracy started organizing and leading medical and dental teams to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. These clinics provided much needed services to the surrounding neighborhoods of the areas she was working in, helping to create a stronger sense of community. Although, she loved caring for the people in the communities she knew her passion was to serve and care for the children of Haiti, which eventually lead her to the Freedom House in 2014.
Currently, Tracy serves as the Child Sponsorship Coordinator for the Freedom House and travels to Haiti every three months. She works closely with the staff in Haiti to provide support and guidance in continuing to improve the daily lives of the children as well as preparation for their future. Under her supervision, a program has been established to ensure that the physical and dental health needs are met regularly for the children of the Freedom House. She also focuses on fundraising for the operating budget, raising the awareness of the Freedom House and it’s mission, and spends lots of time loving on the children at the Freedom House!
When Tracy is not in Haiti she spends much of her time caring for her family. She serves as the missions leader at her church and works as a dental hygienist as well as managing her husbands dental office in Maryville, TN.
Amanda’s journey in Haiti began in the summer of 2012. Her family moved to Haiti to help oversee an orphanage and train local leaders. Amanda’s main job in Haiti was to work with an existing orphanage. Although she struggled to understand the Haitian culture and made plenty of mistakes, her love for Haiti grew rapidly as she loved on 28 beautiful kids at the children’s home. She loved making their lives easier and bringing smiles to their faces. For three years she worked alongside Wesly Louiceus (director of the FH). They learned a lot from each other, both having the passion and calling to serve children in Haiti. Their work together, along with God’s guidance along the way, led to the opening of the Freedom House. God’s plan was so much bigger than their own. In the summer of 2014, the Freedom House was opened. Wesly and Josh (Amanda’s husband) had the vision set in place. They carefully put staff in place and created a safe environment for the new children.
After living in Haiti for almost three years, Amanda’s family decided to move back to the U.S., while continuing to help supervise the Freedom House. Amanda serves as the Basic Needs Coordinator for the Freedom House. Her role is to organize and improve the lives of all the kids, fundraising for the monthly operating budget, and providing vision and guidance for the future of the Freedom House. She works alongside Wesly and other Americans to oversee the children, and travels to Haiti every three months to help at the Freedom House and to take clothes and basic needs to the kids.
Before moving to Haiti, Amanda was an interior designer who loved creating new and beautiful things. Amanda slowly started working with artisans in Haiti in 2012. The artisans hand carve beautiful pieces of art with a recycled oil steel drum. Amanda decided to start a business that would be dedicated to helping artisans, while continuing to provide income for mission efforts around the world. Beautifully Made became an actual business in March 2016. Years of hard work and dedication have resulted in “Beautifully Made” products entering stores around the U.S., giving hope to the amazing people of Haiti and beyond. Year after year, the fair trade market has grown in size, raising over $100,000 for the artisans and orphanage. Beautifully Made is a FTF member (Fair Trade Federation) which is recognized worldwide. You can check out some of Beautifully Made products at BeautifullyMadeFairTrade.com.
Widner grew up in a family of 8 near the Port-au-Prince area of Haiti. They moved around the country every few years for work and to be closer to family as he was growing up. Shortly after they left one of the areas they had lived in it flooded from a storm called “Anna”. Many people they knew were killed and many more were left in need after that storm.
Widner has seen many hardships as a young adult. His family experienced financial hardships when Widner was a teenager. Since he has always been very flexible and acrobatic, he started performing in community areas for money by doing dance routines and flips with a few other kids his age. During this time he often found himself in situations he was not comfortable with. He decided to look for other more suitable ways to make money by working hard on his English so he could work as a translator. Widner left his family to go live with an uncle so he could continue his education in an area called Arcahaie. His family helped him pay for his education but for anything extra Widner had to find a way to provide for himself. He began volunteering at local clinics when Americans would come to sharpen his skills in English.
While volunteering in a local medical/dental clinic, he met Tracy. She saw his willingness to help during the clinics, and how eager he was to expand his English vocabulary. His desire to learn and to share his knowledge with others inspired Tracy to continue a friendship with him and would eventually help him further his education in English. Years later Tracy would realize the need for Widner’s presence at the Freedom House. Wesly needed an assistant director, and Widner was perfect for the job. He has made such a great contribution to the children’s quality of life at the Freedom House in many ways. He teaches them English, computer skills, various crafting projects, provides spiritual guidance, and is a great mentor to all the kids.
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