Thursday, July 14, 2011

My next plans and projects for Haiti

Gentille Hirondelle children and I at school

I plan to return to Haiti in the spring of 2012 to work on some new projects:

Project 1: begin construction on the Tabarre Junior High Science Academy
Project 2: begin construction on the Dignity vocational high school
Project 3: build a bathroom at Gentille Hirondelle elementary school
Project 4: continue the sponsorship project so Haitian children can attend school  
Project 5: sponsor illiterate adults to learn to read and write in an adult literacy class

I would greatly appreciate it if you would again consider donating to any of these projects.  Please indicated which project you would like your donation to help fund.  I will post pictures of the progress. You can scroll down this blog to see many of pictures of Gentille Hirondelle school and children and past projects. 

Starting in the winter of 2011, I began partnering with Colorado Springs for Haiti, an small non-profit organization founded by a Haitian-American friend of mine.  CS for Haiti's mission is to build schools in Haiti.  Because we have similar missions we both feel we can benefit by working together.  Furthermore, CS for Haiti is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, it is run by a Board of Directors, and is regularly audited.  All donations you make are 100% tax deductible. 

If you are considering donating to our projects, you may donate electronically here:

or you may write checks to:
PECH Haiti / Colorado Springs for Haiti 
12732 Bradwell Rd.
Herndon, VA 20171

Thank you for helping Haiti through better education!  Merci!  Mesi!
Haitian 6th graders with the homemade maps from Hawaii

The mission of the Tabarre Junior High Science Academy is to provide a project-based, hands-on, science-focused education to junior high school children in Haiti.  The goal of the school is to teach children skills they can use to help improve Haiti, solve some of Haiti’s problems, and find employment in Haiti in the future. The school will focus on all types of science such as, but not limited to, physics, engineering, electronics, chemistry, human anatomy, and environmental science.  Learning will be through doing and experimenting, rather than the traditional Haitian method of memorizing.
We already have a plot of land and intend to begin construction of the Tabarre Junior High Science Academy in the spring of 2012.  Currently, we are accepting monetary donations (which are 100% tax deductible) for school construction and for the cost of a shipping container to transport science supplies and equipment to the school.  Once transportation is arranged, we will begin soliciting donations of used science equipment to include but not limited to laboratory equipment, medical equipment, electronics, tools, supplies for experiments, etc... Additionally, once the school is constructed, we invite volunteers with science-related skills or knowledge to teach classes, have workshops, or lead projects at school for the children. 
now everyone has a pen and notebook
We plan to begin constructing of a small vocational high school where we will train Haitians to work in the tourism and hospitality industry, with the goal of providing job skills and creating employment.  Our long-term plan involves starting a tourist project where the students can also work, that incorporates elements of eco-tourism, agro-tourism, an organic restaurant, horseback riding, and tours catering to the volunteer/missionary/foreign community based in and around Port-au-Prince.   A portion of the proceeds from the tourism project will help fund our other volunteer projects in Haiti.  We already have a titled piece of land for this project, are coordinating to get a well dug, and are working on the business plan. 
Haitian boys at the school party

Can you help us build bathrooms for 200 school children?  Gentille Hirondelle elementary school in Tabarre (located on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti ) does not have bathroom facilities.  There is an area with simple concrete dividers for the children to use the bathroom but they have to pee on the ground in a corner.  It really stinks and is full of flies.  There are no toilets, sewage pipes, stall doors, water, sinks, toilet paper, or soap.  The 200 children have nothing to wipe with after using the bathroom and they have no water to wash their hands.  It is a sanitation nightmare!  The bathrooms will need sewage infrastructure installed, fixtures, a water pump, and a well dug to pump water to the restrooms. 
Gentille Hirondelle is the school where we constructed the roof, began an ESL program, and I volunteered in May 2011.  You are welcome to visit the school in Haiti at any time and you can see many pictures of the school on prior blog entries.
a rainbow from Hawaii for you!
Donations will go toward smaller projects and supply needs at Gentille Hirondelle elementary school such as:
     -notebooks, pens, and pencils for each child
     -metal benches for children/parents to sit on before school begins, during lunch, and at breaks
     -clocks for each class room
     -playground equipment

     -trash cans
     -3 office desks
     -2 filing cabinets
     -materials for the kindergarten class

We are looking for people interested in sponsoring a Haitian child to attend at Gentile Hirondelle elementary school for this school year (and in the vocation and science schools in the future).  Families cannot afford to pay the tuition for their children to attend school ($150/year), 12 books ($64/year), uniform (approx $50), and yearly enrollment fee (varies).  Sponsors may decide whether to pay for all expenses or just the tuition.  We would like to find sponsors who will commit to sponsoring the child for several years.  You will receive a photo and updates from the child.  You are welcome to visit the child in Haiti at any time. 

We are looking for sponsors for illiterate Haitian adults to take a literacy class. The cost to sponsor is only $30 a student. Please see the March 2012 entry for more details.
Can PECH Haiti count on you for a donation again? 

You may also donate by check written to:
PECH Haiti / Colorado Spring for Haiti
12732 Bradwell Rd.
Herndon, VA 20171

Thank you so very much!

Donate $500 and we'll add your name to the wall of Gentille Hirondelle school or the soon-to-be-built vocational high school!

Donate $500 to our PECH Haiti project and we'll add your name (or the name of your company/family/ organization/group of friends/school etc...) to the wall of Gentille Hirondelle school or to the wall of the soon-to-be-built science school in Haiti!   The photos above show the names of those who donated $500 or more to the roof project at Gentille Hirondelle in the spring of 2011.

We are now accepting donations for our 2012 projects: adult literacy class sponsors, Tabarre Science Academy, the vocational high school, sponsoring elementary school children for school, and the bathroom project at Gentille Hirondelle school. We will add the names of $500 (or more) donors to the school wall.

With much gratitude, we sincerely thank these extremely generous $500+ donors:

     MUDEC Alumnus, USA (2011-2012)
     Julie and Geoff Akey, USA (2011-2012)
     Roy and Margarete Harmon, USA (2011-2012)
     Valerie and Derek Poag, USA (2011-2012)
     Susan and John McKee, USA (2011-2012)
     Ann Akey, USA (2011-2012)
     Montessori Community School 6-9 classes, USA (2011-2012)
     Jens Pastille, Germany/Latvia (2011-2012)

     Lisa Akey, USA (2010-2011)
     Anonymous, Korea (2010-2011)
     Tom Hujik, USA (2010-2011)
     Junior Vincent, USA (2010-2011)
     Jessica Turpin and Alex Gachet, Switzerland (2010-2011)
     Ann Akey, USA (2010-2011)
     Adella Okuda, USA (2010-2011)
     Mother Nature's Preschool, Canada (2010-2011)
     Fire Dragon Tae Kwon Do, Canada (2010-2011)
     Joy of Christ Lutheran Church/St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, USA (2010-2011)

Finishing up

the finished outside wall of the school
My Haitian family (including Christel visiting from Colorado Springs for Haiti)

Evangeline and I with artwork that her students made for Montessori Community School in Honolulu
It was with great sadness, but also great fulfillment, that I left Haiti a little over a month ago.  I have been reluctant to write this blog post because it signifies that my trip has come to an end and I really didn’t want it to ever finish!  My month in Haiti was life-changing.  I felt so much love and appreciation from the children at school and my host family.  I miss Haiti already, and especially my Haitian family!  And I love Haiti more than ever!  Mewn remen ou, Ayiti!

People have asked me if I felt I made a difference in Haiti and I feel I made a HUGE difference!  The month in Haiti was a complete success.  Thanks to your generosity, I received a total of $13,737.03 in donations!  If you are interested in specific financial details, I've posted all the expenditures further down on the blog and I have all hard copy receipts. 

Here are some of the things I was able to accomplish with your donations. 
-I spent $10,000 of the donated money for the new, sturdy, well-built roof for the school so now the children have a roof over their heads for class.
-I had more desks-benches-tables made.  These are long benches with an attached writing surface where 4 children can sit, work, and store their supplies.  Before, there weren’t enough seats for all the children to sit and they were completely cramped.
- I purchased a chair for each teacher. 
-I had a locking bookshelf made to store the books for the mini-library and purchased supplies to create the library. We used donated books to start the library.
-I purchased supplies and we built a locking, hanging, cabinet for each teacher for them to store their supplies, children’s notebooks, and books.
-The front wall of the school was finished and painted.  The name of the school was painted on the wall and a donor sign was created.
-We had a wall separating the classes and the administration office constructed.
-I purchased an inflatable globe for each class.
-We purchased materials and began construction on a water catchment system so that we can collect rainwater for the children to wash hands after going to the bathroom.
-We purchased textbooks, supplies, photo copies, blank CD’s, CD player, batteries, dictionaries, and administrative materials to begin the adult English school, Aloha English Institute.
-I paid the Aloha English Institute teacher/director salary for May and June.
-I purchased and installed a manual pencil sharpener for the children.
-I purchased protractors, compasses, and rulers for math classes.

-we decorated the school with more than 100 pieces of artwork created by Honolulu children
Thanks again to all of you who donated to this PECH Haiti project!  The children of Haiti and I send you a huge THANK YOU!
the completed roof overhead and children's art from Honolulu decorating the walls of the school
benches/desks that I had made
cabinets we made for each teacher
building a wall
I plan to return to Haiti next spring to work on some new projects.  I would greatly appreciate it if you would again consider donating!  Stay tuned for more details.  Thank you!  Merci!  Mesi!

my adult English students