Child plays in the flooded low lying areas in aquin with houses in the distance 

Hope for Haiti Helps Communities Affected by Tropical Storm Isaac

Thank you all for responding so generously to our request for help.  Your immediate response enabled us to act quickly to reach families with aid in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac. Hope for Haiti is continuing its outreach to those communities most affected.

Child plays in the flooded low-lying areas in Aquin with houses in the distance Hope for Haiti staff members wade through flood waters to bring emergency relief. Many houses were flooded in the low lying areas of Aquin.
Child plays in the flooded low-lying areas in Aquin with houses in the distance. Hope for Haiti staff members wade through flood waters to bring emergency relief. Many houses were flooded in the
low lying areas of Aquin.
Program Manager, Jennifer Lang, unloads emergency buckets at Father Gousse's house Program Manager, Jennifer Lang, with community members affected by the flooding in Aquin.
Program Manager, Jennifer Lang, unloads emergency buckets at Father Gousse’s house. Program Manager, Jennifer Lang, with community members affected by the flooding in Aquin.
Program Manager, Paula Prince and program partner, Father Gousse, unload emergency buckets. Program Manager, Paula Prince, carries buckets to the cluster of flooded houses with community members in Aquin. Program Manager, Paula Prince, explains the contents of the emergency buckets to community members in Aquin.
Program Manager, Paula Prince and program partner, Father Gousse, unload emergency buckets. Program Manager, Paula Prince, carries buckets to the cluster of flooded houses with community members in Aquin. Program Manager, Paula Prince, explains the contents of the emergency buckets to community members in Aquin.
With the flooding came lots of mud and debris. Young girl in Aquin outside of her flooded home.
With the flooding came lots of mud and debris. Young girl in Aquin outside of her flooded home.
Country director jessica jean francois discusses positive and negative aspects of our programs with school directors. 

Hope for Haiti Prepares for the Upcoming School Year

Arianne Pingledis, Program Assistant, August 20, 2012

As a new Program Assistant with Hope for Haiti, last week I was able to attend the second annual school directors’ meeting.  Nearly 40 directors from all of our partner schools came to discuss Hope for Haiti’s programming and to receive their reporting forms for the 2012-13 school year.  As school directors prepare for the upcoming school year, which will begin in October, Hope for Haiti will provide support through our Book Share Program, Back-to-School Fund, and Teacher Salary Subsidies.

Country Director Jessica Jean-Francois discusses positive and negative aspects of our programs with school directors. Education Program Manager Paula Prince discusses Hope for Haiti’s programs with a school director
Country Director Jessica Jean-Francois
discusses positive and negative aspects
of our programs with school directors.
Education Program Manager Paula
Prince discusses Hope for Haiti’s
programs with a school director

While the directors enjoyed breakfast, we discussed successes and took suggestions for improvements within our programs.  We went over important reporting information and then broke off into smaller focus groups to gain detailed feedback.  Meanwhile, Education Program Manager, Paula Prince, met with school directors individually to discuss support for the upcoming school year and to hear their stories.

Rural School Director with Students. School directors from our partner schools gather for the 2nd annual Hope for Haiti School Directors’ Meeting
Rural School Director with Students. School directors from our partner
schools gather for the 2nd annual
Hope for Haiti School Directors’ Meeting

One story particularly stood out.  A school located an arduous 1.5 hour hike into the mountainous country side, added a sixth grade program to its curriculum for the first time this last school year, thanks to support from Hope for Haiti.  The new sixth grade teacher was a previous student at the school, where he attended from preschool to third grade.  He completed his studies at L’Asile, and then returned to the mountaintop community to work alongside those who once taught him.  The sixth grade program had a successful first year, with 5 out of 6 students passing their state exams and hopes to see even greater success in the 2012-13 school year with Hope for Haiti’s continued support. Although accessing and delivering quality education is anything but easy in rural Haiti, one thing remains very clear, these school directors are 100% dedicated to the academic success of their students and they are looking forward to the upcoming school year!

Director on the guitar. 

Hope for Haiti and Sunbertz Performing Arts Project

Sarah Dutcher, Country Director – August 15, 2012

The newspapers of the world often concentrate on the catastrophes and struggles of Haiti. After representing Hope for Haiti as the Country Director for 2 years, I have seen many of Haiti’s successes including the incredible konpa music scene.  There are established and emerging Haitian musical artists playing venues everywhere throughout the country.  Each weekend, hand-painted billboards line the streets to announce upcoming concerts, and where and when the groups will play next is the talk of the town.

Director on the Guitar. Games at Les Cayes Orphanage. Group shot of the orphanage.
Director on the Guitar. Games at Les Cayes Orphanage. Group shot of the orphanage.

In addition to my work in the international development sector, my background includes theater and music.  Everywhere Hope for Haiti works, there is an opportunity to make music.  With a scarcity of resources comes a lack of opportunity for creative expression.   Within the budget of an orphanage or school, there is very rarely money left over extracurricular activities.  Two schools have recently added arts teachers thanks to Hope for Haiti’s support, but arts outreach and education are still needed at our over 60 partner institutions.

It took six-months for my close friend Matt Herz and I to design an organized arts curriculum for implementation here in Haiti. Matt is the founder of Sunbertz Musical Outreach, an organization that specializes in utilizing music and the arts as a vehicle to inspire and empower youth.  Matt’s team visited last week to ‘play’ with the children, hosted at partner institutions whose managers identified music as a pressing need.


The curriculum developed by Sunbertz and Hope for Haiti included music and games that represented the interests of Haitian children. There are two songs that highlighted the summer of 2012 here in Haiti, ‘Gade on Rev’ by Wanito, and ‘Dekole’ by J. Perry.  These songs are blasted from every radio station, and even the most rural villager knows every word.  Sunbertz representatives Andy Reger, Matt Herz, and Jessiee Datino arranged these songs for the acoustic guitar, and boarded the plane for Haiti.

Rural School Group Photo. Rural School Music. Stanley at Rural School.
Rural School Group Photo. Rural School Music. Stanley at Rural School.

The young men at a local orphanage greeted us with more energy and enthusiasm than I thought possible!  The boys needed very little guidance to let their creativity flow, and we found ourselves barely able to keep up with the demand for more games and activities.  Each of the 15 boys had their moment in the spotlight, and even, the director of the orphanage, showed a secret talent for the guitar.

Throughout the week, we also visited other Hope for Haiti partners including an orphanage for handicapped children, a rural school village, and even the streets of Les Cayes with our instruments and Haitian songs in tow.  Everywhere we went, everyone wanted to sing the words of J. Perry’s ‘Dekole,’

“We all have to sing to say: country you need to take off,
It’s been too long since this country stopped working,
So let’s put our heads together to make it work.
We have beautiful beaches and beautiful sun; our waterfalls are wonderful!
This country is too rich to be poor!”

The Sunbertz team left Haiti with the words from ‘Dekole’ ringing through their heads, and the knowledge that Haiti is full of people hoping for a bright future and ready to work to make it happen. Because the music we played, games we designed, and instruments we used are all available in Haiti, the facilities can continue arts education despite limited resources. As I complete my two-year term as Country Director, the stories so often reported in newspapers barely scratch the surface of this country, these people, and this experience. Instead, I will remember the songs of Haitian musicians like J. Perry, asking their countrymen to work together to build a better future for Haiti.

 

Carmene’s Cooking School Graduation: A Night of Food and Fun for the Graduates!

Elizabeth Warren, Program Assistant, August 13, 2012

Saturday was an exciting day at the Hope for Haiti headquarters in Les Cayes, Haiti, as Carmene’s cooking school students prepared for their graduation ceremony! The graduates arrived at the house early in the morning and spent the entire day in the kitchen, perfecting their final dishes. While they were cooking, Paula and I blew up balloons while Jennifer and Jessica tied ribbons on the chairs to make the house look festive.

For the ceremony itself, we invited friends and family members of the graduates as well as Hope for Haiti staff to participate in the tasting and celebrations. Each graduate presented her dishes to the hungry audience and gave a description of how she prepared it, as a final test of her knowledge of cooking. The guests who attended tasted each dish and rated it on its presentation, taste, and the verbal description provided by the chef. The spread included delicious macaroni and cheese, roast chicken, tasty fish, unique rice dishes, and an assortment of cakes and cocktails. By the time we were finished tasting, no one had any room for second helpings!

This is Carmene’s fifth successful session of Cooking School class. The four graduating students started in January and spent 32 weeks attending courses every Saturday afternoon. The curriculum, designed and taught entirely by Professor Carmene Alverbe, who has shared her gifts with Hope for Haiti for the past five years, covers proper cleaning and preparation of dishes as well as training in hospitality.

Now that the students have successfully graduated, they will go on to work in restaurants, provide nutritious dishes for their families and households, and share their knowledge with others. Evelyn, a student of the fourth class who was present at the graduation, shared how Carmene’s Cooking School has helped her. “Definitely, I have a job now because of the class. Some people don’t appreciate cooking, but they haven’t practiced all the skills we learned here.”

From the entire team at Hope for Haiti, congratulations to Fritza, Alice, Fabienne and Monique!