Backpacks for Children


It’s dark, maybe 4 am, I awaken to roosters crowing across the hillside. One of which, happens to live under the convent window were I am sleeping.  Another day begins in Haiti. 

Tap, tap, tap, the sounds of footsteps on the dry steep road, walking down in the morning and up in the evening. 

  Today, as with most of the 6 days we are in Haiti, we go to the “Bureau Leclerc”, where Haitian Outreach stores the back packs and supplies for the children.  Backpacks one after another being checked and double checked, loaded onto the trucks, covered and guarded by men.  Long rides through oceans of people selling their wares on the narrow dusty streets.

Wide eyed children, nervous as strangers come to their school to greet them. Their excited voices washing over me as I pass out lollipops.  One of the tasks is to measure their feet, as we buy shoes and socks as part of the backpack supplies.  The process of checking names, giving each child a back pack and taking pictures for their sponsors is repeated student after student. 

 My impressions are mixed with emotions as I visit a student’s home.  Jeffery’s home is so meager, yet clean.  We have no comparison here: there are 5 generations in a home with 2 rooms.  His father was killed in the earthquake.  At 12, he is the only man in his house. One boy I meet, Aristad is an orphan, living with a relative. He is so sweet, with a lively smile and twinkle in his eye, he needs a sponsor, Bill and I will sponsor him.  

Children are cared for, their uniforms pressed and clean.  I find myself asking how can they do this without running water?  How many children can I sponsor?  I have so much compared to these children and families. 

Now, I am forever changed by what I saw. 

For two hundred dollars, we can make it possible for children like Jeffery and Aristad to attend school. They will have a chance to learn, grow and maybe change their future.  

Please visit our Child Sponsorship Program  page to learn more about how you can help us assist the Sisters of Immaculate Queen Mary and educate the neediest of youth in Haiti.

Todd Parker