Monday, June 29, 2009

Packing Supplies for Haiti, Sponsor Seamstress Business, Student Profile, Paris Trip

Hello, Everyone!

A big Thank You! to Alex and Laura, who traveled from London ON to Starthrower Foundation to pack supplies for Cap-Haitien and to Jane, here in Orangeville.

Thank you, too, to Daniel and Amy who have also volunteered to come pack supplies. We just have to find a time when my energy level can keep up with theirs!

Last week I asked for support for Rose-Youdeline (DOB 03/07/85) who wants to put her newly acquired sewing skills to work making school uniforms. Thanks to Ingrid in Ontario and Dave in New Brunswick for their quick response to her request (see Dave's comments following last week's blog post)

Here is some information about Rose-Youdeline. Her story is very typical of all our students' stories.

Once Rose-Youdeline is set up in her new business, she will be able to support her 5 sisters and 4 brothers. She is the only one of them all who has had the opportunity to go to school.

Her mother died in 1994, her dad is blind and very frail, and requires constant assistance. Her older sister (a year older than Rose) has been mothering the family since she was 10 years old. Since this older sister is currently in hospital (she was injured in a bus accident), Rose-Youdeline is now responsible for taking care of them all.

Whether this older sister lives or dies, someone in the family will have to find the money to pay the hospital bill. In Haiti, unpaid hospital bills mean that someone in the family will go to jail; in this case, it would probably the blind dad.

I know from past experience that the first thing Rose-Youdeline will do when she receives the money for supplies is take a small portion to buy food to feed her family. I also know from experience what her future will be unless drastic changes take place.

She will set up her sewing machine outdoors in the daytime, hunched over it for as many hours as there are daylight. At night, she will move the machine inside (the sewing machine will have more room than anyone in the family) and continue to work until she is exhausted.

Seamstresses are prone to damage to their eyesight, postural muscles and fingers. Fingers usually become arthritic after about 10 years. Someone will always stay home to prevent thieves from taking the sewing machine. It is the most valuable thing they own.

Although Rose-Youdeline knows the challenges she faces, she was ecstatic when Auguste contacted her last week in Sen Rafayel to tell her the good news about her sponsor. However when Auguste contacted Soeur Fernande to ask about buying the sewing machine for her, Soeur told Auguste that the machines she had in stock had all been sold within a day or two to people who had the money at their disposal.

Soeur Fernande will search for and find another machine for Rose-Youdeline. When it arrives, the money will be on hand. This delay is difficult for Rose-Youdeline but she knows that it will happen and is very thankful for sponsor support.

Sewing Machine for Rose-Youdeline

Update on the sewing machine October 2009: The machine as been found, and assembled, and will be delivered to Sen Rafayel so Rose-Youdeline can begin her business. Thanks, Folkie! See more updates on students here.

An update on our Paris traveller-to-be Rosenie (this blog post):
Rosenie has written her exams and begun to hire staff for Starthrower's summer text book restoration program. We have asked for a sponsor to come forward to pay for her second year of the 3 year Kindergarten Teacher program.

And more good news! A group of the most amazing young people on the planet -- the mighty girls of the Golf Road Junior Public School Girls Club, in Scarborough, ON, organized and mentored by Linda, Penny and Nancy -- have collected money to sponsor her. Imagine that! These junior Starthrowers who are actually still Starfish themselves. Thank you each and every one!

I know Rosenie will be so relieved to know that she can continue her studies for another year. Although she excited about the upcoming trip to France, she and Nadege, who will travel with her, both expressed apprehension about traveling so far on their own. They've never been anywhere away from home, let alone on an overseas trip!

Sister Rosemary has decided to accompany them, which makes me feel better as well. Sister Rosemary will not attend the conference sessions but will be present to debrief the girls when needed.

On a personal note:
There is still so much I'd like to say, but I am somewhat handicapped this week. I learned that I have 3 bacterial infections which have been hanging on since the surgery, thereby delaying my recuperation.

Last Friday night, our local hospital (Headwaters, in Orangeville) began intravenous antibiotic therapy three times a day. I have one IV line in my right hand and another on the inside of my left arm. I am at home now with the one on my hand hooked up to a pump which runs 24 hours a day dispensing one antibiotic directly. I carry it with me.

The amazing nurses of St. Elizabeth Health Care come in each morning and evening to administer the other antibiotic through an IV drip, as well, and also change the dressing on the surgical wound. We shall see if there is light at the end of THIS tunnel.

It seems I have used much of this post to saying Thanks! but Thanks are called for. Thank you all for your ongoing support. We are all very grateful.

Though there is still much to be done in Haiti with and for our students, it is encouraging to have your help. Remember that many of our young people will be writing exams well into July. Please send your prayers and positive energy their way. We have 10 writing Philo, the 7th and last year of secondaire.

Kenbe (hang in there)
Sharon

PS
It's national holiday week: Canada Day July 1, and Independence Day USA July 4. Stay safe and happy, everyone!

Next week I will profile our students Plenitude and Vincent in hope of generating sponsor relationships. Please leave any comment you might have after the blog, as Teena and David did last week. It helps us get to know each other a little! And sharing ideas and concerns is good for us all.

3 comments:

Jackie said...

Blessings Sharon,

I marvel at your journey back to good health and the good grace with which you accept it.

I will retire from government at the end of September and expect to send you any money my colleagues want to spend in honouring me.

en saving toothbrushes and paste and handsanitizer. Do you recommend I send it to Florida for shipping?

I pray each day for you and the students.

Jackie

Starthower said...

Hi Jackie,

A big thank you for thinking of us, and hope you enjoy retirement!

Can you hold off on shipping just for now? We currently are without a verified, tested shipping connection.

I would ask people to collect only money. It is the only thing we can reliably transport at this time.

Thanks so much - will let you know how the shipping evolves. The test / first shipment hasn't yet arrived.

Sharon

Sharon Gaskell said...

FYI:The picture insert shows one of our Canadian visitors, Laura, at a book repair station (there are 3) helping prepare for the new school year. Note the white aprons on Edwinna and Modeline. Uniforms of any kind, even an apron are prized as a status symbol. They indicate that one 'belongs' to something.

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