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I Left My Heart in Haiti

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Educating Children of Haiti                     

It’s no secret the most effective way to raise a country out of poverty and disparity is through education.

Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere. Approximately 80% of the population lives on under $2.00 US per day. Only 50% of the children attend school. 39% percent of the population can neither read nor write. There is no government support for schools.  

Haitian Outreach is working to change these statistics by providing children the gift of an education through our Child Sponsorship Program.  We support children in 6 schools in Port-au-Prince and surrounding regions. We have over 350 children from kindergarten through high schoo. Many have graduated to become bankers, diplomacy professionals, teachers and doctors. Things most children never even dream of becoming.  With your help, these children will grow and contribute to further the quality of life in Haiti. 


We continue our series " Stories from Haiti - A Perspective from Volunteers

                       TEARS     By Paula Lanson

As we prepare to board the van for our return trip home from our week-long trip to deliver 309 backpacks to the children in our program, at schools around Port Au Prince area, tears flow.

It was one year ago, a 13-year-old boy, nick-named Put Put, was first sponsored and added to Haitian Outreach’s child sponsorship program.  

  • Put Put, for the 2 prior years, was hoping to be noticed by the strangers from America. He sat on the curb across the street from the walled convent, where we stay, waving and smiling.  He was unable to attend school because his family didn’t have enough money for school tuition.  School in Haiti is not free.  He was so happy when we called him forward to be added to the program.  He was so proud to receive a backpack and the food we gave him for his family.  The light in his eyes and joyous smile he displayed carried me through this past year as I worked to prepare backpacks, which are filled with school supplies and other necessities for the children.  I couldn’t wait to see him again this year.  I wondered how having an opportunity to attend school would affect him.

     

As we arrived, Put Put, now 14, was sitting across the street waving and smiling.  He became my right-hand man, carrying my bags up to the Bureau Leclerc building, which stores our supplies and backpacks. He took my hand as he escorted our team members through the dirt alleys into the neighborhood to visit local students’ dwellings.  Put Put has gained confidence in himself and has become important not only to me, but to his family and community. He has a purpose, he is going to school! He is on the inside now, with hopes for a better future.  The sponsor, who came forward to help him go to school, made that happen for him.
Put Put (Jean) sits in the middle with his friends.  The days past quickly and as we pack to leave, we all started to feel ambivalent, what will happen to the children in the next year?  Will his family have enough to eat?  Will all the students be okay? Put Put, of course is by my side, as we start to say good bye.  He starts to cry, not little sniffles, but huge gut wrenching sobs. Hugging him, I think of my own children.  I can hear him still and unlike my own children, I can’t fix his future, but I can change its course by working to continue our Mission to educate children in Haiti.  
“One Child At A Time”.