Pastor Altesse Augustin established Messef many years ago, having previously run an orphanage in Port-Au-Prince for 15 years.
He was an orphan himself and decided to repay his debt of gratitude to the family who ran the orphanage where he was raised in this way.
Widowed, he remarried Huguette in 2010 and they now have a young child. They live at Messef.
Messef (Officially known as Fondation Messef – Ministere d’Evangelisation et de Secours sans Frontieres) is located in Southern Ouanaminte, Haiti. Ouanaminthe is a large city in the North East of Haiti, on the border with the Dominican Republic. Its population is around 100,000. The border crossing to Dajabón is one of the four chief land crossings to the Dominican Republic.
The scene at the frontier, on the Massacre River between Haiti and the DR
For more information, see Martin Blampied's excellent article under our Blog.
Messef not only provides a home to children, but the school within Messef also takes in most of the children from the local community, who would otherwise be unlikely to receive an education.
The church at Messef provides a beacon of light and a place of worship for local people and is well attended by those living in the area.
A father comes to church with his two young daughters
The surrounding community is very poor and what little employment Messef can provide, even if for a midday meal and an occasional low wage, is a source of support for the workers' families.
Local church members come in to help with the chores