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Back to the Basics - Extollo 101

Did you know??

Sherman Balch first visited Haiti with a small group from Cornerstone Fellowship Church of Livermore, CA, shortly after the devastating earthquake in January 2010. He observed how the country was going to be rebuilt and felt that he could use his 40 years of construction background to use a better way.

Sherman's experience building an orphanage in Leogane, Haiti, underscored a key challenge: while many organizations aim to assist with construction projects, they often overlook the potential of the local workforce. Haiti, like many developing countries, has limited numbers of qualified construction professionals. This creates a missed opportunity to empower local communities and create sustainable development through employment.

Building The La Gonave Children's Village presented a turning point. We recognized the need to go beyond just construction. We integrated formal construction training into our projects, empowering locals with valuable skills. Furthermore, partnering with established Haitian organizations, like Okipe in this instance, proved invaluable. This collaborative approach, combining construction with skills development and local partnerships, has become our enduring formula for success.

Our third project, in conjunction with Haiti Partners, elevated our training, literally. We completed

a three-story facility that houses a social business bakery, a training center, and housing for visiting groups. Now, our Haitian workers complete over 90% of construction and in many trades, follow detailed, customized curriculum.

After realizing the need and interest in learning the trades, Extollo opened up a Training Center in Bercy, Haiti in 2015 to centralize training and grow a construction workforce. Extollo functions on the Chinese Proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."

To unleash Haiti's potential to build a stronger future by training a construction workforce of character and capability,

while adding strength and safety to Haiti's infrastructure.

Extollo's approach is based on the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” For the past twelve years, Extollo

International has been developing and implementing a program that teaches Haitians how to care for themselves. Using the apprenticeship approach of “learning while earning and learning by doing,” Extollo combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training and supervision. Haiti has a need for skilled construction workers at the journeyman and contractor level. Extollo is meeting

this need by teaching employable skills and character development to the people in Haiti that need it the most, those living in extreme poverty.

Join the Crew!

Our impact wouldn't be possible without YOU!

Extollo's strength lies in collaboration. Just like one piece fitting perfectly into a larger puzzle,  your involvement creates a significant ripple effect.  The reality is, most of our students can't afford the full cost of our high-quality training.

This is where the CREW steps in.

As a passionate community, CREW members provide scholarships that empower ambitious Haitians to elevate their careers, families, and communities.  Each student contributes a portion, while crew members' monthly donations (any amount from $10 upwards) bridge the gap.

Join the CREW and make a lasting difference in Haiti!


An Interview with our Founder, Sherman Balch

Do you recall where you were when you first decided to start Extollo?

I remember seeing a group of missionaries working on a project at the Dezman Fleury orphanage in Leogane. They worked for several days, with the Haitians watching them. A few of the Haitians were doing simple, manual labor. I realized this approach wasn’t solving anything and it was taking vital employment away from those that needed it most. I knew I could figure out a better way and Extollo had its start.

What have you learned?

We have the right concept - the best way to fight the consequences of extreme poverty is employment. It's critical that we teach the needed skills that will result in a future job. You can't just treat the symptoms, you must treat the root causes of poverty - this is a big learning lesson. The problem will persist otherwise.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a non-profit in Haiti?

I would recommend that they find someone who is already doing what they want to do and try to work with them. We didn’t see anyone providing training like Extollo or with a similar background. Make sure you’re not duplicating an existing effort and leverage partnership opportunities.

What are you truly most passionate about?

I'm most passionate about helping the Haitians to be able to take care of their families. To restore hope in a future where they are not dependent on handouts and they have the pride of self-reliance.

What will allow Extollo to succeed moving forward?

Patience and perseverance. Our solution is not a quick fix, it takes time to teach someone the skills needed for a career in construction. But the investment is worthwhile and it builds the right foundation for long-term, permanent change in Haiti. As long as people can comprehend and are willing to support this concept, we will succeed. The results will prove out our approach.

What is your formula for success?

Always be open to new ideas, thoughts and input. No single person has all of the answers - you must be flexible. Don't believe you know everything and the best way to do things. The route to get there can change over time and that's a good thing. Constantly learn, evaluate new ideas and strive to improve. I learned this through racing, that if you don't continue to improve, you'll fall behind the pack.

**Like what you read?! Don't forget to share with one of the links below so more of your friends and family hear about the Extollo story. Thank you!

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