Breckenridge builder to help out orphanages, kids in Haiti |

Breckenridge builder to help out orphanages, kids in Haiti

Children play at the Foyer des Enfants orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, April 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

SUMMIT COUNTY – To aid Haiti’s orphanages and bring Internet access to rural areas, a Breckenridge builder – Michael Rath of Trilogy Partners – flew into the ravaged country Monday as part of a newly founded relief effort. Rath, along with Michigan builders Mike Mahon and Andrea DeLuca, will be rebuilding a Haitian orphanage over the next three weeks as part of their nonprofit – The Haiti Orphan Rescue Program.

This trio of builders has been fundraising since February to rebuild a string of Haitian orphanages. The already struggling country was decimated by January’s 7.0 earthquake – it killed as many as 250,000 people, and as of now Rath said up to 500,000 children there have been abandoned. Rath says orphanages in Haiti aren’t supported by its government, and they’ve long relied on foreign aid to operate. And, because of the devastating earthquake, orphanages and children’s homes are now competing for foreign aid funding.

“The earthquake just made it much, much worse,” Rath said.

On top of its rebuilding work, The Haiti Orphan Rescue Program has already been working to empower Haitian orphanages by establishing Internet access for numerous children’s organizations.

“Communications are essential in this day and age, and if we can get kids and caregivers online, it helps,” Rath said. “If we give an orphanage a Facebook page, it bring them more attention. … I want to create a connection. It’s a small world, and we’re going to try to make it smaller, and give the kids a chance.”

Rath said he’s paid attention to Haiti’s plight for a number of years – he knows it’s a country plagued by a mismanaged government, hurricanes, and then on top of that there’s been a horrible earthquake.

“The kids are trapped in that country,” he said. “You’re basically in hell, and then hell has an earthquake.”

Rath also said he wants more of a connection between Haiti and the United States.

“I believe that a child, no matter where they’re born, deserves a decent chance at life,” he said.

While building in Haiti, the nonprofit plans to purchase supplies locally, and employ and train a Haitian labor crew to do a lot of the work. After Rath’s return to Summit County, he’ll continue to raise funds and plan his next reconstruction trip.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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