What better way to enjoy a beautiful spring day than flying kites?
Holy Week is upon us, and the children at Pwoje Espwa have the week off from school to allow children, staff, and families time to reflect and celebrate the coming of Easter.
Staff have been facilitating activities for the children in their break from the classroom. Yesterday they spent some time together making their own kites and watching them soar.
We are lucky to have a caring staff surrounding the children and lifting them higher!
It is often said that to know another language is to hold the key to wisdom and the world.
Students in the Secondary school at Pwoje Espwa have the opportunity to expand their minds and future job opportunities through language classes. Our curriculum offers instruction in four different languages: Spanish, English, French and Haitian Creole.
To offer more opportunities of learning a language in our after-school program, staff members who specialize in certain language offer tutoring and extra classes in English.
Expanding language develops stronger minds.
Compared to other Latin American and Caribbean developing countries, Haiti has a very low literacy rate. About 61% of Haiti’s population is literate, compared to the 92% average for Latin American and Caribbean countries (CIA Factbook 2015).
Formally learning a language in school is critical for cognitive development in children. It is shown that people who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask and better listening skills. Not only is learning languages opening cross-cultural communication for students, but it develops stronger minds!
By teaching students multiple languages, we encourage critical thinking and developmental growth, and hope to give them the key to active, valuable participation in the wider job market.
Your support is needed to continue our education and after-school programs!
Education will be the key to these children’s success.
Thank you to all of our donors who are helping us harness the power of the sun and getting our Solar Project off the ground!
A special thank you to Four Peaks Rotary Club in Fountain Hills, AZ for their donation towards our Solar Project! Representatives from Free the Kids, Executive Director Frank Irr and Board Member Jack Reynolds, attended a meeting this week to accept a check presented by Four Peaks Rotary Club President Scott Schlossberg. We are grateful for donors who value the importance and power of this project for Pwoje Espwa and the future of the children.
Through a four-phase process, we will be installing a complete solar system as Pwoje Espwa’s primary source of power, allowing campus to become energy independent and reduce our reliance on diesel operated generators.
Pwoje Espwa depends on access to electricity for several operational functions, including:
- Pumping water used for drinking, cooking, bathing, and toilet facilities.
- Powering lights around campus that allow security staff to keep a watchful eye throughout the night.
- Running communication and administrative operations among staff members in Haiti and the United States.
By converting to a primarily solar source of power, we would not only have a more reliable source of power due to Haiti’s geographic location and consistent sun, but we would be saving on the cost of operating our generators every month.
We are still seeking funding to complete our transition to an energy-independent campus!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
-The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)
In preparation for May 1st, Labor and Agriculture Day, the kids began planting trees – “pyebwa” in Haitian Creole – around campus last Friday!
Throughout the month of April, the kids at Pwoje Espwa will be learning to care for the environment and the importance of agriculture through various other activities across campus. Community school children are invited to participate so all can learn about the significance and broader influence of caring “a whole awful lot”!
Assisting with these activities alongside other PES staff members is Romain Fanfan (pictured on the left wearing a hat). Romain started working for Espwa prior to Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and has been an instrumental hand in the replanting of trees and other plants throughout campus over the last 2 years.
Romain lives in the local community and is a strong advocate for families in desperate need. When he is not working at Pwoje Espwa, he helps a local community church maintain an after-school program for community children that assists them with their education. Pwoje Espwa supports this mission with food so that students who attend other schools without a lunch program will have at least one hot meal that day.
In a country that has suffered from mass deforestation and whose economy is carried predominantly by farmers, teaching children about the benefits of planting even a single tree is a lesson that will influences future generations and the healthy future of the earth.
Walking through the community surrounding Pwoje Espwa in the weeks following Hurricane Matthew, you could see makeshift shelters of tin, tarp, and scraps standing next to collapsed homes. You could find Bernard Olivier and his wife, Lolia, sweeping the ground in front of their own shelter. Their children, Bertholet (age 7) and Lonia (age 5) ran around them barefoot.
Hurricane Matthew destroyed the Olivier home and blew away their farm, goats, and chickens. Seeking shelter in the following days, the family stayed in any safe place they could find until they were able to scrap enough tin together to construct a semblance of a home on their property. With most of their possessions destroyed along with their livelihood, the Olivier family was living day to day.
As the new school year approached the following year, Bernard and Lolia were discouraged about their ability to enroll their children, Bertholet and Lonia. Hurricane Matthew had destroyed their birth certificates, nor did they have the money to cover the high costs of tuition and school supplies.
Espwa reached out.
Espwa supported the Olivier family with food distributions while they recovered their farm. Bertholet andLonia were provided clothing and were enrolled in school at PES with a scholarship so their days could be filled with learning and growth.
Two years later as you walk through the community, you can find Lolia and Bernard tending to their small farm outside of their new home, which they welcome you into with big smiles and open arms. Two years later, the family has been able to recover and stay together, with YOUR assistance.
This is what Family Preservation is all about.
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It’s said that the best way to learn is by doing.
One of the ways we hope to prepare our resident children for independent life is through on-campus internships.
While we have had a few similar opportunities available for our residents over the years, Child Development staff have been working with other staff members to build a more robust and cooperative internship program that will encompass more areas on campus and include more of our residents.
Engaging teenagers in work activities and experiences gives them the opportunity to learn about the jobs that are available to them when they return to their communities outside of Espwa. Exploring different work environments allows them to gauge their strengths and weaknesses, learn how to work with others, work on their communication skills, and hone other skills they may need to engage in the various positions.
Young interns have been working in the guest house and maintenance teams over the years, but the new program will extend to many other departments, including:
- Food depot
- Tailor shop
- Stock room
- Child Development
The internship program will focus on teenagers in their last 2 years at Pwoje Espwa. When they enter the Transition Program at 18-years-old, the teens will continue their education for 2 years in a trade school or pursue other business opportunities. The internship program allows for them to prepare for these experiences and gives them a better idea of what their future dreams, goals, and pursuits will be as they transition out.
Beginning this month (April), 20 to 24 teen students will fill internship positions across these departments for a term of 3 months. We look forward to seeing the closer cooperation and growth between our residents and staff members!