Today is the day some smart person decided we should all put our spare dollars toward a good cause, and we couldn't agree more. As you know, all gifts made to the Robert Ford Haitian Orphanage & School Foundation are tax-deductible. Plus! 100% of every donation goes to the community of Grison-Garde. We know you have huge hearts and many great organizations to choose from for your annual giving. Thank you, as always, for keeping our kids in mind.
During our most recent trip to Grison Garde, the elders of the Institute Maranatha introduced us to seven newly admitted orphan children ages 4 to 12 (pictured left) who arrived from the immediate area. They looked not only healthy, but quite happy (except for one 4-year-old ... but that's the same the whole world over!). These are the first new arrivals to the orphanage in the past few years. The total number of live-in orphans is now reaching 40, most of whom are girls. For whatever reason, the girls seem to be a little easier to manage than the little guys!
DISASTERS: This has been a year of weather-related problems for all of Haiti. Although two hurricanes hit the island, the Institute Maranatha area fortunately was spared any wind damage and serious flooding. Nevertheless, the mountains of Haiti continue to slowly wash their way down to the sea.
As we mentioned in the past, one of the most significant disasters to hit the island is the tragic impact of plastic waste, primarily drink and food containers that are literally inundating the northern coastline, rivers and bays. The sad outcome of this plastic pollution is yet to be felt, but is inevitable. Twenty years ago there was litter and debris, but it was largely degradable or inert like glass; plastic is neither degradable nor inert. Efforts to recycle seem slight at best. This environmental disaster is not unique to Haiti sad to say. It is a worldwide epidemic.
VACCINATIONS: Have you wondered about vaccinations and illness in these schools of more than 1,250 primary and secondary students? The good news is that the rate of immunization by vaccination is very high in the Grison-Garde area and throughout our district (Plain du Nord). Most vaccinations to prevent childhood infectious disease that are available in the U.S. are provided free here — even in remote areas. We have been witness to a drastic and heartening decline in the most serious illnesses in the past 20 years.
STUDENT EMPLOYMENT: Employment after graduation from the professional school (tailoring and carpentry) is not a foregone conclusion, unfortunately, but quite a number of tailoring graduates work to produce the more than 1,250 uniforms our students need every two years. In a world with 75% "un" or "under" employment, their $12/day salary has been worth the time spent in training.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We are still hoping to find American volunteers to work at the school to participate in teaching conversational English. Speaking English in Haiti means employment, pure and simple. Older secondary students will have some spoken French, which may help Americans teaching there, but knowledge of Kreyol or French is not necessary. We have many longtime good interpreters to help ease the transition. Visit our website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details. We absolutely guarantee you will have a great time with these amazing people.
HAITIAN HOLIDAY: Our great team at the orphanage and school would like to host a Christmas party for the orphans and students at Institute Maranatha this year, complete with presents for all of the boys and girls. If you have a church or school group looking for a holiday fundraiser, this might be just the thing! All donations are welcome.
2017 FUNDS: Here are some of the highlights of our accomplishments this year:
- Provided education for 600+ primary and 650 secondary students
- Provided salaries/uniforms to Beaujoint School #80 (a deeply impoverished area nearby)
- Provided salaries/uniforms for Maroquee School near elder village (over 400 students)
- Housed and fed at least 20 elderly in Maroquee daily
- Paid salaries for more than 90 teachers, cooks, house moms, custodians, administrators, security, laundresses, hygiene workers, etc.
- Provided daily meals to 40 orphans and approximately 50 primary students
- Provided training for 50 tailoring and carpentry students at the vocational school
- Sponsored matrone (midwife) training programs
- Provided birthing kits for safe home deliveries of infants
- Offered a computer and internet training program
- Established 4 new wells and repair of 12 more
- Built a new house for the elderly
- Provided support for a pediatric unit at the New Hope Hospital
This has been a pretty good year for Institute Maranatha. Your support, and that alone, has allowed this once small project to evolve into the success story it is today. Thank you and happy holidays to you and yours!