UMCOR gave us the boost we needed for our Reusable (how environmentally friendly is that?!) Sanitary Pad Project. Our pads are critical for women who don’t have access to clean, safe sanitary materials. We are in the process of making over 10,000 pads! We’ve tested the market and know they are well received, but we also know we must sell them below their $2 cost. This means this project is far from sustainable and must be subsidized by our high-end products. We are looking for retail partners who want to sell our high-end products, so that we can continue to subsidize the reusable pad project and keep our artisans working.
Our after-school program is ramping up for the start of the school year. The students come directly from school to the library and are ready to learn more! They hone their skills in math, reading, and learn Haitian literature, history and French. After school programing provides them the extra push they need to complete their regular school requirements. It’s rewarding to find these kids motivated to achieve higher levels of competency, and we are thankful that we can provide them with the resources they need. As a bonus, and with the help of donor support, we are also able to provide a healthy snack to keep them fed, focused, and to keep things fun!
Joel Theodat comes to us with a wealth of knowledge from his education at both Suffolk University undergraduate, Boston College graduate school and from his many work and leader experiences in Boston’s high schools. Joel’s fluency in Kreyol, Spanish, French and English, along with a deep understanding of Haitian history, literature and culture, is opening up a whole new world of learning for the kids! He’s also a musician and, to be honest, just an all around great guy! Joel’s passion and deep love for Haiti brought him home where he feels in order to move forward, we must focus on education. Education is the key to sustainable change. The children are the future of our society and they deserve love, learning and health. Joel’s staff, Geralda, Yvena, Welaznard, Fabien and Venel are dedicated people with patience, passion and are attentive to the needs of our clients.
The clinic staff takes pride in the work they do. As well they should! They continue to visit 23 very rural villages in Fond des Blancs, throughout the year. As we continue to upgrade the clinic by replacing equipment and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint which always makes a space feel better, we need your help. In addition to the upgrade, we continue to host health and hygiene seminars and distribute reusable sanitary pads to staff, our soccer girls, as well as the surrounding communities in Fond des Blancs.
Edwidge Danticat joined us as our headline author for the first ever Literary Week in Fond des Blancs. Edwidge held writing workshops with the kids, discussed her books with our teen literary club, and participated on an author panel with other Haitian authors. From Edwidge we learned about her passion for books, libraries and learning. She emphasized the importance of adding more voices and more stories from all parts of the world, including Fond des Blancs. In addition to workshops with Edwidge, students delivered a play, presented various dance routines, sang songs, and engaged in mural painting and flag making. Heck we even held a big parade at the end of the day with acrobats (see photo right), dancers, a jazz band, and many, many marching participants. Importantly, we increased foot traffic to the library, hosting over 568 people who participated in workshops, and who were encouraged to celebrate our new library as a place where knowledge, and education are vibrant, respected, and honored. Fond des Blancs Literary Week 2018 was supported in part by a generous grant of $8,000 from Haiti’s FOKAL — Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète—the Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty.