The vision that would become AID International stemmed from a decision in 1996 to open up a children’s home. Marlaine and Daniel Alix named the home Faith & Love in Action, as this was truly the only way to express their family’s determination to open up their 3-bedroom home to kids that had been orphaned or placed in difficult situations. While they weren’t completely sure how it would all work, a conversation 3 years prior with their then 5-year old daughter, Vanessa, had opened their eyes to their family’s ability to help now, and not waiting until an unknown ‘later’. Within a week of sharing this calling with Marlaine’s mother, Grandma Achilles – three girls had joined the newly opened Home. The Alix’s now had four daughters, including Vanessa – whose one request was that she be the oldest.
Within four months, there were seven girls. Within six months, there were twelve girls and a ‘wait’ list. A year later, Marlaine and Daniel had no choice but to rent an additional home – their action just a year prior had resulted in twenty-seven girls and they knew this number would only increase. By 2001, Faith & Love in Action expanded with a Boys’ Home in Jacmel, with the Girl’s Home relocated a few miles down the road. Following the earthquake, a third home was opened to accommodate more children – and presently, there are 108 kids.
As the number of children on the wait list grew, Marlaine and Daniel realized their efforts would not be enough: there would always be more kids and there would never be enough room. They had to think of things differently. It was at this point, in 2001, that AID International was born. The Alix family had to look past orphan care and explore ways to address the systemic issues that were causing so many children to end on the streets or where families could not care for their young. Since then, with the support of its many partners, AID has been focused on building strong communities.
We’ve opened up schools in the villages of Marbial and Les Cayes to bring education to families who had previously been unable to afford tuition or hike 4-6 hours to the nearest city school. We’ve focused on healthcare, partnering with physicians to go into these same remote villages and run mobile clinics. We’ve brought in vets and agronomists to work with the local farmers to help tend to their lands and cattle. We’ve added in small business programs for single moms and high performing 8th graders – all towards a vision of empowering these communities to not only care for their own, but become self sustainable.