Toward a ministry of Economic and Spiritual Development: Sustainable Agriculture at the Crossroad of Spiritual, Economic Development and Social Justice for Haitian Migrant Workers

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Gay, Jean Ricot
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School of Theology Thesis 2017 , School of Theology, University of the South , Haitian migrant workers , Dominican Republic , Racism against migrant workers , Anti-Haitianismo , Yanus micro credit lending model , Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti
Project under the direction of Professor Robin Gottfried The purpose of this project was to explore the plight of reported mistreatment of Haitian Migrant workers in the Dominican Republic, and to create and implement a God-centered model of ministry in order to alleviate, and possibly eliminate, the problem. The mistreatment of the workers took the form of overt racism, and sub-standard social and economic conditions. The primary reason for the migration of workers is the poverty that exists in Haiti. The objective of the God-centered model, to be implemented in Haiti, would be to improve economic and spiritual conditions of the workers there. This would reduce migration of migrant workers to the Dominican Republic and enhance the spiritual capabilities of those workers, who migrated, to resist mistreatment in the Dominican Republic. The background to the migration of Haitian workers to the Dominican Republic is described by explaining the history of Hispaniola, which is made up of the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The history of Haiti traced the French colonial exploitation of slaves, overt racism, discrimination against dark skin members of the population by those members with lighter skin, social and economic exploitation, environmental problems, and ineffective government programs. These contributed to abject poverty among the majority of the population and the migration of workers from Haiti to the Dominican Republic to better their economic conditions. The history of the Dominican Republic related the racist overtone of “Anti-Haitianismo” perpetuated by two national leaders, resulting in the massacre of scores of Haitians in 1937, and the instilling in the popular culture the notion of the inferiority of Haitians in the Dominican Republic. The God-centered model was proposed to alleviate poverty in Haiti, with the premise that an improved economic standard of Haitians should reduce migration to the Dominican Republic while those who migrate may find that their stronger spiritual state should help them resist traditional exploitation. The tenets of the model would be strong Christian ethics for spiritual development and sustainable agricultural development projects implemented within the parameters of cooperative economic development funded by loans based on the Yanus micro credit lending model. There is a detailed description of the roles of economic theories, the Haitian educational system, and a theological framework focusing on economic and spiritual development of Haitians. The thesis next explores the potential of the model. The description focuses on the anticipated spiritual revelation of God's love to the people of Anse-a-Pitre in Haiti, where the model is proposed to be implemented. The agricultural, economic, social, and spiritual aspects of the program are all interrelated. The anticipated success of the project will serve as a testament to God's love for his people. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the Christ-centered work will be an invitation to those people who have listened to the spirit of God and to those who understand the reality of the Gospel. It is anticipated that those people will use their vocation and gifts with accountability and excellence.