This year I celebrate 10 years in Haiti. It has been a process of conception, birth and growth. I have some good news to share with you all.
This week, Starthrower received a letter from the president of the United Nations Association USA Boulder - congratulating us on being their committee's choice this year as the focus of their fundraising efforts to provide a water purification system which will purify our water in Haiti, and allow for pure water distribution to our students.
In addition to the water being safer for everyone to use (staff, students, visitors), it will save us money that we currently spend on propane needed to boil it, as well as money we spend to buy potable water to distribute in 1-gallon jugs.
Here is an excerpt from that letter :
"One criteria for our action projects is that they have a relationship with a United Nations body or activity. The work of Starthrower reflects the Education for ALL actions of UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank . . .The selection of Starthrower as the beneficiary of the UN committee fundraising activities has provided such a spark of energy to all of us, especially to our staff in Cap-Haitien. I'm certain when the work begins they will all want to be part of the installation team! This is good, as once the system is installed, and the experts have gone, we will be required to maintain the system.
"Furthermore, access to safe water is a current priority of UNICEF through its Tap Project. Finally, we see your work as an outstanding example of an NGO working toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals . . .
"We look forward to working with you and Starthrower Foundation in achieving our goal of providing safe drinking water to young people at the Starthrower Center in Cap Haitien."
During the selection process, we expressed the need for staff (and perhaps student) involvement in the project. Justice invites participation; Justice is working together toward a common goal. So many will benefit from this project!
Thank you again, Jan in Colorado, for suggesting the selecting of Starthrower, and for having the patience to see the application through 10 months of discussion and meetings, always providing information requested and keeping our needs front and center with the committee. You are Starthrower personified.
As I reflect on the past decade, I look with awe at the wonderful staff we have assembled. How they have grown from those first few uncertain days in the house, trying to clean 6 years of garbage from the yard with no tools, no shoes, no socks or gloves for protection. Their loyalty, their commitment, their support of me, of one another and of the students we serve are certainly examples to be celebrated and emulated. We have shared laughter and tears, welcomed visitors, provided security for same, made heartbreaking decisions (due to lack of funds), always with sensitivity and respect.
We have been blessed by the many visitors who enter our compound -- some for a brief visit, some for a meal, some for a day to paint the office and the gallery. Some visitors who have stayed for a week or 10 days, have said at the end of their visit, "I can't leave! This is too important." And some of these visitors continue their relationships with the staff via email, thanks to the amazing satellite dish and internet access donated by Starthrower America.
Our cupboards and storage depot have been filled many times over by the many generous folks who have sent or delivered precious donations of medicine, clothing, school and hygiene supplies. And we have been blessed by the many generous financial donations which allow us to continue our work.
We are also energized by the amazing generosity of everyone, especially our new US partners at Starthrower America, and our Canadian board of directors.
Thank you all for 10 amazing years. May the next 10 be blessed.