jerry-old-pic-2We are excited to start highlighting some of the graduates of Institution Univers who, through the support of COCINA and its partners, went on to study beyond IU and have now returned to Ouanaminthe and Univers to fulfill their commitment of giving back to the community they came from.

One of our first returning graduates was Hantz-Jerry Pierre. We asked Hantz-Jerry a few questions so you could get to know him. We hope this question and answer format will allow you to learn not only about his past, but about his hopes for the future, in his own words…

Meet Hantz-Jerry Pierre…





UPDATE: We’re pleased to report the kindergarten roof repairs/improvements have been fully funded, and we hope to begin work soon.

Every weekday morning, nearly 450 children enter the Kindergarten building at Institution Univers in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. From age 3 through first grade, these students file into their classrooms, most of them passing through the atrium of the building.

Built in 2007, the Kindergarten building’s roof was initially intended as a temporary solution, as plans have been in place since the beginning to expand to a second floor. Over the years, repairs have been made to fix the sagging and leaking roof, but budgets have only allowed for simply addressing the symptoms rather than resolving the core problem.

Nearly 10 years later, repairs are needed again, and the safety of the children is in jeopardy. While Hurricane Matthew didn’t bring its total destruction to the northeast of the country, it did dump lots of rain, which has increased the sagging and leaking since this photo was taken.

Just above these joyful children is a potential danger that needs addressed as soon as possible…

Haiti – Kindergarten Roof Sagging from Haiti COCINA on Vimeo.

In order to build up the walls and roof and prepare for the future expansion of the Kindergarten building, COCINA is committed to bringing in $25,000. This investment will not only permanently resolve the roof issues, but will also lay the groundwork for the addition of a second floor, which will allow for additional classrooms needed to accommodate the ever-growing enrollment of the school.

Can you help?

If you’re considering end-of-year giving or recognize this need as something you can support, please make a donation today at and select the General Fund. As always, our General Fund goes toward the most pressing need at any giving time; and if you’d like to specifically designate your gift to the Kindergarten roof, in particular, you can make note of that in the “message” area on the donate page.





COCINA’s aim is to cultivate Hope in Haiti. Each year, numerous individuals, churches, mission teams, and friends of COCINA generously help us as we strive to accomplish that goal, and we are immensely grateful. In that pursuit, it is important to remember where our hope comes from – God’s Word.

This photo is of an old Haitian pastor who has been faithful to the Word for many years. What a wonderful example as we seek God’s will in our work with Institution Univers and Univers Medical Center.

The Word of God is the Hope for Haiti! 

COCINA’s foundational Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.” 




We are pleased to introduce Matt White, COCINA’s new Director of Development. Matt has a heart for Haiti and the career experience to help lead COCINA into an exciting new chapter. Watch for COCINA updates from Matt, and please keep him in your prayers as he enters this new role.


A Few Words from Matt:

My first experience with Haiti was through my daughter who went on a trip with her church high school team in the summer of 2014. When an opportunity came up to go myself, I jumped at the chance; and my daughter was excited to go again. We went in February 2016, and I walked away with a passion for making a difference in Haiti. I was impacted most by the trash and poverty that is rampant throughout the country.

After our trip, I wondered what I could do to make a difference. In what I believe was a divine connection of events, I am in the process of launching a business to design and produce canvas bags using a material that is made from 100% recycled bottles from Haiti and Honduras.

Because of what we’re doing with this business and my personal excitement about the opportunities in Haiti, I was invited to attend the COCINA Board Meeting in July. At that meeting, the Board was discussing the need for a “person on the ground” in Haiti to help with all the projects COCINA is supporting. I felt a tug on my heart, and as this new position was described, I saw more and more how I could be the perfect fit for many reasons…

  • As a technology business owner, I have the flexibility to take on this role, while maintaining my current business.
  • My marketing and communication background allows a unique perspective to the needs of COCINA and everything happening in Ouanaminthe.
  • I am already familiar with COCINA, IU, and the other activities/entities in Haiti.
  • My wife and family were already aware and supportive of my desire to get more involved in Haiti.

After much prayer and discussion with my family, I am very excited to join COCINA’s team as Director of Development! 


Institution Univers is proud to announce the graduation of the Class of 2016, the school’s eighth graduating class. Commencement for the 71 graduates was held at the school on July 19th. Congratulations and well done!


IU Grad 2


Congratulations, also, to Calèbe Delva who was named Valedictorian! Calèbe recently shared the following about himself:


I am Calèbe Delva. I was born on February 24, 1997 in Ouanaminthe Haiti. I have one older brother and two older sisters. My parents are merchants and hard workers. I had a happy childhood because my parents always did their best to provide anything I have wanted; but that doesn’t mean they are rich. I live with my mom right now because the rest of my family is in Port-au-Prince.

I’m wise with people who are wise to me. Sometimes I’m gentle. I like to play soccer, basketball, and volleyball. For fun I like to watch action and I love movies. I don’t like when there are too many people around me because I hate noise. I like to go to church to pray and ask God to make decisions for me.

My favorite subject is English. I’m a good student and a good example of a person. Since I was in first grade, I have always worked hard to be among the three first students in my class. Even though sometimes I missed my promise, I fixed it quickly with a good average on the next exam. My older brother helps me with my homework. He gives me advice about life and how I should behave in society.

After I graduate I would like to get the chance to go to university in the U.S. to become a good accountant or a good doctor because I know education in the United States is better than education in Haiti. But, it’s up to God to decide where I will go to university.

My father always tells me that life is tricky and full of traps; and there are a lot of people who are looking for my fall and my distress, but to remember that only God can protect and help me from them. Those words are carved in my brain. It’s those words that help me to succeed in everything.


COCINA is seeking funds and scholarships for several of the recent graduates to attend college in the United States. We are thrilled that Cold Weene Saintilnord will attend Rowan University in New Jersey. Opportunities are still being pursued for Calèbe Delva, Olandieu Anestor, Samuel Alcius, and Derline Meril. For more information, contact