This is Pierre. He has an infectious smile and an even more intriguing story.
Pierre grew up with his mom and 4 brothers and 2 sisters. His mom worked really hard to provide for all of them. She sold candies, sugar, candles, soap, bread – whatever she could on the street. When Pierre was old enough, he helped his mom as well. He had some education and he learned French.
He began working for Apparent Project in 2010. During this time, the artisans worked on consignment. They had to pay a small fee for their cereal boxes, varnish, etc. Then they would bring their beads back and Shelley would buy them from the artisans. The jewelry that was made would be sent to the states and when/if it sold, the artisans would get paid again.
Pierre rolled beads at home. He was also in charge of selling the cereal boxes and the varnish to the other artisans. He worked from home so he could care for his mother who became very ill with cancer. His hard work enabled him to have enough money to send her to the Dominican Republic for treatments. While she was there, he began working on Payroll and managing our boutique. He knew a little English, so he was a great asset to have in the boutique due to all of the mission groups that come through and shop. It was at this time that he began taking an accounting class and was then promoted to Petty Cash Manager.
Seeing great potential in him, Shelley was able to get him a VISA and sent him to our U.S. Headquarters in Washington for 3 months. He worked with our Director, Marilyn, learning what it takes to keep Apparent Project running here in the United States. He also worked hard on improving his English, grammar, and computer skills. He learned how to type along with Word, Excel and Power Point. He was like a sponge! And the more he learned, the more excited he became about taking his knowledge back to Apparent Project and helping his fellow artisans.
Marilyn discovered right away that he would make an excellent teacher. Further education is vital to increasing skills and employment opportunities for our artisans. The goal is to increase the abilities and expertise for as many artisans as possible. And what better way to do this than “in house?”
Apparent Project was blessed with some donations for computers and software that has enabled us to purchase what we needed to start the Apparent Project Institute. The program began almost a year ago with Pierre as the teacher. He now works with 24 students, passing on his knowledge with an excitement and passion that is contagious.
I interviewed many of his students while I was visiting in the Spring and they are all so very thankful for him. Each and every one of them talked about how much they enjoyed having him for a teacher. How helpful and patient he was. And how thankful they are to have the same opportunity to further their education.
Pierre’s mother passed away from her battle with cancer, leaving him responsible for 4 siblings. He has expanded their one room home, into two and is helping to put them through school. I was able to visit with him in his home and was completely amazed by all the work he had done. And he was so very proud.
I asked him how his life has changed because of his job at Apparent Project and he said, “A lot has changed. I can take care of myself and my family. I had a one room house and I added a second room. We used to have 1 toothbrush for 12 people. Now I can buy 12 toothbrushes! I LOVE sharing what I have learned. I want to get married, have children. I want to be able to leave the current house for my siblings and buy land and build my own house. I want to have a small store to sell rice, beans and oil and have at least 20 people work for me. I want to pass all this on.”
You know what? I believe he will! He has endured a lot of difficulties but is determined to rise above it. He is working hard at making a difference in not only the lives of his family, but in his community. He is a joy and and inspiration to all who know him and we are so thankful and proud to have him as a vital part of Apparent Project!
|Outside of Pierre’s house, with his little nephew and his brother, Jack|