Community//

“Just believing in the work and knowing that failure wasn’t an option kept us going.” with Carrie and Mike Gibson and Phil Laboon

We have been working in Haiti for 11 years now. We have had good times and bad times, but we never considered quitting or giving up. It wasn’t an option. Through ups and downs, we kept sharing the story and taking it to as many people as would listen. Just believing in the work and […]


We have been working in Haiti for 11 years now. We have had good times and bad times, but we never considered quitting or giving up. It wasn’t an option. Through ups and downs, we kept sharing the story and taking it to as many people as would listen. Just believing in the work and knowing that failure wasn’t an option kept us going. It’s our love and our passion and I think people see that.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie and Mike Gibson, founders of Grangou. Grangou is a charity on a mission to provide a permanent home for Haitian children. Carrie co-founded Grangou with her husband Mike in 2008 after traveling to Haiti in 2007. They live in Texas with their five children including two sweet twins adopted from Port au Prince. Michael is a co-founder of Grangou and currently serves as its President. He has been working in Haiti since 2007 in various capacities. He co-founded Grangou with his wife, Carrie, in 2008 in order to provide support spiritually, physically, and mentally to the people and children of Haiti, focusing on outreach to homeless children on the streets of Port-au-Prince.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

This question takes me back to the very first time I traveled to Haiti in 2007. I didn’t speak any Creole and I hadn’t been on a mission trip or really many places at all. Suddenly I was in a remote village passing out food and visiting homes — trying to process everything I was seeing. Really desperate conditions, extreme poverty, sickness. It was on that village visit that a little girl followed me around for about an hour saying the same thing repeatedly. I couldn’t really make it out but she said it enough times that I caught grangou. I didn’t know what it meant so I just smiled and went on with the visit. At the end of the day I asked a translator what she way saying. He said Grangou means hungry, she was telling you that she’s hungry. That was the first time I ever had heard a person who was actually hungry, try to tell me so. I thought about the fact that people on my trip were praying in this village and sharing the gospel but that we were trying to fill empty bellies with words. It broke my heart. These people perhaps needed the gospel, but they also needed food. They needed the very basics first. How could we ignore their physical need, expecting they would listen while they were literally starving? It struck me that we are called to minister to people however they need to be ministered to, not how we want to do it or how we think it should be done. Sharing a meal with a hungry child can be just as impactful as preaching a message. We need to meet people where they are.

As I continued on that trip and visited Haiti many more times, I kept seeing similar needs. Hungry children, abandoned children, children on the streets with nowhere to go. I just knew I needed to do something.

Grangou is the Haitian Creole word for hungry and the name of our ministry dedicated to raising awareness about the extreme difficulties of life in Haiti as well as feeding the hearts, minds, and bodies of Haitians in need. Our desire is to reach a nation hungry for hope and change; one child at a time.

Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First, can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

The biggest challenge we faced was figuring out how to turn our calling into something real and tangible. We knew there was a need to help abandoned street children in Haiti, but we were just getting to know the country, didn’t speak the language, had no non profit and no history in doing work like this. It seemed overwhelming. We just knew we needed to do something.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Knowing kids who don’t have support, families, resources, options etc are counting on you is pretty much all it takes. The reward of knowing they are cared for and have a bit more hope is worth all of the effort.

So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?

We have been working in Haiti for 11 years now. We have had good times and bad times, but we never considered quitting or giving up. It wasn’t an option. Through ups and downs, we kept sharing the story and taking it to as many people as would listen. Just believing in the work and knowing that failure wasn’t an option kept us going. It’s our love and our passion and I think people see that.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think we stand out because we are a small grassroots organization fueled by passion, love, and authenticity. We try to be genuine and transparent. Our stateside organization is run by volunteers and all of our administrative expenses are covered by our board to ensure funds received are going to the needs of the children. Our organization in Haiti is staffed with all Haitians which is unique to many US organizations working in other countries.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Ask for help when you need it, never give up and pray, pray, pray!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

We have a wonderful partner in Haiti, Pastor Pierre Alexis. He has helped us navigate the cultural differences, understand the legal requirements of operating in a different country and just has been a consistent friend and partner who always looks to better the lives of Haitians.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

We started with seeing a need and now have seen over 100 kids in need find a home, education, medical care and safety. Eight years after opening the doors, we have a home for children under 18 called Travay Bondye (God’s Work). We currently house 67 children, send them to private school and provide medical care, spiritual guidance, food, water, counseling and more. We also established TNT (Teens in Transition) home for those transitioning from the children’s home to adulthood where they participate in a two-year program to continue their education, learn a trade and life skills to help prepare. We are thrilled to also see three of our graduates enrolled in University! We have one in medical school, one studying psychology and one in business. So many blessings!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Don’t be afraid to have big ideas
  2. Follow your heart
  3. Always put other needs before your own
  4. Share your story as much as possible
  5. Passion is contagious

How can our readers follow you on social media?

IG: grangouhaiti, FB: grangouhaiti

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

This Dallas-based couple is on a mission to provide a permanent home for Haitian children.

by Amber Masciorini
Community//

Look! It’s a lifesaving device! Time to send a selfie to Zapgirl!

by Nancy Brown
Community//

F.A.T.E — From Addict to Entrepreneur, With Mike Lindell, Founder of MyPillow

by Michael Dash

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.