Dear friends and family,
With the start of summer and mid 2021 approaching, as always we hope that all is well with you and yours.
We have not written for several months because, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the past several months have been fairly quiet for the Haiti Children & Youth Project.
COVID-19 & PROJECT ACTIVITIES
Last year when the COVID-19 pandemic started, our team of volunteer leaders followed the Haitian health authority’s COVID prevention guidelines and temporarily stopped project activities involving group gatherings except for project committee meetings. Miraculously the number of COVID-19 cases were low in Haiti so last summer the Haitian government allowed groups of people to start meeting again with masks on at markets, schools, churches, etc. Even so, our Haitian leaders chose to wait until this past January 2021 to resume group project activities.
Last month, in May, several cases of the COVID-19 variant from Brazil were reported in Haiti with some associated deaths. Consequently, near the end of May the Haitian government requested the population again limit social / group gatherings and wear masks in public. Then on June 1st the government announced a 15 day “lock down” to hopefully stop the virus from continuing to spread. Online news reports that the Astrazenica vaccine may eventually be offered in Haiti.
Providing financial assistance to support the education of elementary and secondary school students is the only project activity which has continued throughout the pandemic. Haitian schools reopened last July 2020 and students were able to finish the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year from July to October then start the 2020-2021 school year last November. We are extremely thankful that the project was able to help pay the 2020-2021 school fees for 159 students with significant need, orphans and others from single parent or very low income families.
The positive impact this education support has for each student hits home with a recent story from an orphan who received her first education bursary from the project. When talking to one of the project leaders this student mentioned that this year she does not have to worry when the school administration starts following up on unpaid school fees and begins to send students home who are unable to pay the remaining balance. She expressed relief and gratitude that, with her school fees fully paid, she is one of the “privileged” children in the school who will be able to complete the whole academic year.
NEW JACMEL PROGRAM (see photos below)
Last fall the Haitian committee leaders became aware of several orphans in the city of Jacmel which is a half hour drive southwest of the project office and work in Lavalee. Orphans in the city are often originally from a smaller community in the nearby countryside. When a child’s parents die a friend, family member, or another individual in the city offers to take in the orphan even if they themselves have their own children to care for and/or have limited resources. Many of the people who help care for the orphans are motivated to do so by their faith in God.
Our Haitian leaders proposed expanding the project to support orphans in Jacmel as well as other vulnerable children and youth in the city. This past January they started a program with two small groups: one of nine children age 10-15 years old (4 boys and 5 girls) and another of sixteen youth age 16-21 years old (10 boys and 6 girls). Every few weeks the children and youth meet together for social and educational activities. A nutritious snack is always served. The project has had the funds to also provide a full meal on four occasions. Each of the 25 participants in this new Jacmel program received a school bursary for their 2020-2021 school year fees.
A close friend of Jean’s in Jacmel offered a place to hold this new program. The meeting place is a great resource for the program attendees as they are free to visit two project leaders there outside program hours. We are still in the process of raising funds to rent this location but so far two local Haitian citizens have each made a financial contribution towards the rent.
With sincere appreciation for your interest and support,
Jean & Terri Lubin
Rose Charities ‘Haiti Children & Youth Project’