Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tablet computer lab

We've been working on setting up a computer lab for the children at the Haitian school, but it's been a long process. We've received donations of used laptops, but they are often quite old with numerous problems, and at 10 lbs or so each, we are only able to bring one or two with us each time we travel to Haiti.

Thanks to an extremely generous donation we received recently, we were able to purchase 15 Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet computers, protective cases with keyboards for each tablet, screen protectors, extension cords, and surge protectors for the "computer lab". The tablets are perfect for small hands, are more indestructible than laptops, and the children LOVE them.

Our Haitian students with their new tablets
"Why do Haitian children need tablets?"you may ask. We see it as a technology leap. The children and school have few books or resources for research or learning, and most things are learned via memorizing. There is so much learning the children can do on the tablets. In addition to learning basic computer skills such as writing a Word document, the computer teacher will also teach them how to do Power Point presentations and send email. Each tablet has a built in camera so the children can learn to take and edit pictures and movies. We downloaded an English app for the children to learn English, a math app to practice their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as a typing app to learn to type. Each tablet has Wikipedia in French and host of other educational programs. We feel that the possibilities are endless with tablets and the multitude of free apps available for learning.

Have we convinced you? Please consider donating via the button below so we can purchase more tablets for the children. Thank you!

Haitian children learning how to use tablet computers

Gasses for Haiti

Thanks to the members of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Fairfax, VA, I collected over 50 pair of used eyeglass for Haiti. I shipped them off to a Haitian American optometrist who will be taking them with him to Haiti the next time he goes. Merci!

There's no such thing as too much love!

There's no such things as too much love
The children at Gentille Hirondelle school are bursting with love to share. Although they only seem me once or twice a year, they all seem to remember me and greet me with cheers of "Madame Julie!" They are always a bit shy at first, but once a couple children come over to hug me, they the floodgate opens and huge groups of adorable children compete to give me hugs or stand next to me in photos. A few chidren like to walk around hand and hand with me, or with their arm snugly around me. All the love sure is alright with me, and I wish I could just take them all home with me! When I am with the children in Haiti, I realize that there is no such thing as too much love.

Sharing the Love

We have been very fortunate to have received several large donations lately, so we decided to share the love with several other educational projects in Haiti.

The first project we did in December was to replace the roof on a small community school in Tabarre, Haiti called College de l'Avenir (it has nothing to do with a "college"-it's just the French name). The roof on the small school had a gazillion small holes in it, and although they were small, the rain poured in and down on the children. We were happy to be able to re-roof the school and keep the children in class instead of sent home during rain.  Here is a picture of the roof with it's many holes:

school roof with hundreds of holes
one of the school's humble classrooms

Hand delivery of the roofing materials

Next we visited an amazing project run by an American husband-wife team called Heartline Ministries. The projects has several elements including a maternity center, a job skills training center, and literacy classes for adults. In addition to delivering babies, the maternity center gives free Depo-Provera shots every three months to women for birth control, it gives pre-natal classes, and it gives parenting classes. The job skills classes teach sewing and crafting, and the creations are sold online and at their boutique in Haiti. Check out the beautiful merchandise here at Haitian Creations.  All proceeds are invested back into their projects. We believe in the mission and the great work this organization is doing and decided to contribute to their educational programs.

Lastly, we decided to support Prosjekt Haiti, another organization that we believe is making a real difference in Haiti. Prosjekt Haiti has a free school for 300 children, after-school classes for both children and adults, and many programs for women. They also create jobs by training Haitians to work in their bakery and hair salon, with the goal of all profits being re-invested into their projects.

We love these organizations and hope you will check them out and consider supporting them too! At a minimum, check out their boutiques the next time you need a gift!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yard Sale for Haiti (in Germany!)

Yard sale proceeds for the children in Haiti
Isert family yard sale in Germany
 The Isert family in Germany found a great way to help Haiti. The family held a yard sale where the children sold all their unwanted toys to help the children in Haiti who have few, if any, toys. 
They've designated the proceeds to go toward sponsoring Gaelle (the little girl below) to attend Gentille Hirondelle elementary school. Thank you! Danke!
Gaelle, a student at Gentille Hirondelle elementary school in Haiti

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Haitian School Directors Play with VBS children at Kings of Kings

Mario and Evangeline, the husband and wife directors of Gentille Hirondelle elementary school in Haiti, visited Vacation Bible School at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Farifax, Virginia this summer. The American children made cards for them to take back to Haiti. The directors answered questions about Haiti, and taught the children a Haitian stone game called "Os Cabri" ("Goat Bones"). Haitian children don't have many toys to play with, so they play games with simple things they can find, like stones. Os Cabrit is so easy for Haitian children, but the Virginia kids had stones flying all over the room, making the directors laugh like crazy!  


Haiti School Directors Visit the U.S.

Mario and Evangeline Pierre, the husband and wife directors of Gentille Hirondelle elementary school in Haiti, visited Julie in Virginia this summer. We spent the entire two weeks laughing while doing all sorts of things that Mario and Evangeline had never done before like ride in a row boat, visit the monuments in Washington DC, ride a merry-go-round, see a haunted house, eat Chinese food with chopsticks, and go on a ferris wheel. Friends of Julie's generously gave the directors a violin and ukulele to take back with them and share with the children in music class at the school in Haiti.


2013-2014 School Year Donors

Thank you to the following donors who are "helping Haiti through education" during the 2013-2014 school year:


Sponsoring a child:

Sheila and Micah Smith
*Julie and Geoff Akey
Isert family (Germany)


*Eleanore Grefstad
Pauline Henning
Kline family
Jane and Rick Duncan
*Hawaii Community Foundation-Omidyar Global Fund
Cathy Zaleski
Barb Cooper
Linda Feldman
Emily Hagemeier
Sandy Baden
Kathy Boyd Metzlaar
Jane Duncan

*denotes $500+ donor for the 2013-2014 school year

Monday, September 30, 2013

$500+ Donors for the 2013-2014 School Year


We thank these extremely generous donors for donating $500 or more to our educational projects in Haiti for the 2013-2014 school year. Your generosity is such a gift for the children in Haiti. Merci beaucoup! Thank you so very much!
Eleanore Grefstad
 Julie and Geoff Akey
Hawaii Community Foundation-Omidyar Global Fund



Monday, April 29, 2013

Collecting Used Eye Glasses for Haiti

Bonjour friends! PECH Haiti/100 Schools 4 Haiti is now collecting used eye glasses and cases for children and adults in Haiti. Our goal is to take 100 pairs of glasses to those needing them in Haiti.
We are also looking for an eye doctor who can volunteer a few hours of time to help us figure out the prescriptions of the glasses.
Do you know an eye doctor? Can you take up a collection of glasses at your school/work/place of worship?
Please mail to our organization at:
10102 Rolling Ridge Rd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80925

Donate to our other projects too!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our First Music Class

Teacher Franz teaching recorders to the Haitian children
Thanks to those of you who donated recorders, we were able to begin a music class at Gentille Hirondelle elementary school in Tabarre, Haiti this winter. Haitians are very talented musically, so the children have picked up how to play the recorders easily. We got to sit in on one of the music classes a couple weeks ago, and it just warmed my heart to see the children playing those recorders! The music teacher is a wonderfully gentle Haitian man named Franz who was one of my adult English students when I taught English in Haiti in 2011. It was great to see him working with the children!

The only thing I didn't like about the music class is that at the end of class, the children just toss the recorders into a box and the next group of kids comes in and grabs one to play. No washing or sanitizing at all! In general, there is lots of germ sharing in Haiti-thank goodness Haitians have such strong immune systems! I collected enough recorders for each student to be assigned one, and the school is working out a system to do this. Things "disappear" easily in Haiti, so I've suggested asking each family to pay a $5 deposit for each child's recorder. This way the students can bring them home to practice without the fear of them getting lost/stolen/sold/etc. These types of systems are new to the school, but I'm sure they'll have worked it out by my next trip.
Music class in Haiti

Even Kasia, Christel, and Mario were playing recorders!

Recorders for Haiti
Haitians children learning recorder

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Coloring Easter Eggs with the Haitian Children

Coloring Easter eggs with the children in Haiti
Last week in Haiti we asked the children to bring 2 hard boiled eggs to school. After explaining the symbolism of Easter eggs, each child got to dye his/her eggs. Since this was the first time they'd ever done it, we expected they'd proudly take their colored eggs home to show their family. Instead, they gobbled them down as soon as they finished coloring them! I suppose the idea of having a egg sitting around without being eaten is a strange one in a country where food is scarce and nothing goes to waste. Regardless, I think the kids enjoyed it!
Easter in Haiti

Showing the Haitian children how to dye Easter eggs

Friday, April 12, 2013

Legos with the Haitian children

Our Lego project with the Gentille Hirondelle elementary school children was a huge success! At first, the Haitian children hesitated, not knowing what to do with the colorful Legos. They kept calling, "Madame Julie! Aidez-moi!" (Ms. Julie! Help me!) After they figured out how to put the pieces together, they began making little creations. Some followed the directions from the kits, and others used their own creativity. They were so proud of the things they built and wanted to take them home with them. We immediately noticed that a few of the children have very engineering-oriented brains because they caught on quickly and dove into their projects.

I felt the children really enjoyed working with the Legos, especially since they rarely get to play and they have few, if any, toys. I also think it was very therapeutic for them. The school plans to continue working with the Legos once a week to help foster basic engineering skills and build creativity. I can't wait to see their designs and creations next time I go back!
Thank you to all of those who donated Lego's for this project!

Legos in Haiti

Look at my creation!


Even the Haitian teacher got into the Legos

Look what I made! Legos in Haiti

working together in Haiti