Happy New Year, Everyone!
A new year in a new decade inspires Starthrower Foundation to redouble its efforts to sponsor our young Haitian adult students in post secondary degrees and college certifications, and to address issues about our current center in Cap-Haitien. Here's how you can help us help them:
Upgrading your laptop eBook, netbook?
Consider donating your old laptop (wireless only) to our post-secondary students program. For many of our young people, classes are starting up again this week. Our nursing students wrote midterms in November and will write probationary exams in early February.
For those nursing students who are successful, there will be a ceremony at the school in May to which sponsors are invited, so Auguste has already assured the students that he or someone from Starthrower Fondasyon (their sponsor of record) will be there to take pictures and applaud for them. Those who succeed move up to wearing uniforms.
The nursing students as well as our other university students have asked us to try to find wireless laptops for them. You may recall from an earlier post that one of our student sponsors, Mme Marjorie, purchased and delivered 2 new laptops to Elorge and Marlen who are studying in the Dominican Republic. They are very grateful. Not everyone has a fairy godmother such as Marjorie!
We have 11 other students in post secondary in Haiti, and that number will grow every year. So, if you or anyone you know has upgraded a laptop or netbook for Christmas, or if you know of any schools or businesses in the process of upgrading now, please ask how they will dispose of the older models.
Donate them to Starthrower, and we will get them to the students somehow. While we cannot get computers into the country in bulk, there are always visitors coming from Canada and the USA. If every visitor brought in one laptop each, we would have a steady supply. From what I understand, the schools in Haiti have printers available for the students so all we need are wireless laptops / netbooks.
Please contact us through the website if you are able to help out.
Home Visits in Haiti
We are hoping to extend our home visit program this year to include our post secondary students. This means travelling to Port-au-Prince and Leogane as well as to Santiago, Dominican Republic. It is important for us to know that our students in schools away from Cap-Haitien have safe and comfortable (as comfortable as is possible) housing, to facilitate academic success.
Although schools with dormitories and cafeterias are more expensive, our students have a much better chance to succeed when they finally have a bed on which to sleep, a hot meal every day and safe drinking water in addition to water for showering. (Cold water, yes, but what a treat after a lifetime of no water!)
I have long had a dream for a home of our own in Haiti. We spend a great deal of energy and money making constant repairs to our rented lakay (house and outbuildings) in Cap-Haitien.
We have been living with these challenges since we first moved in:
- Toilets back up very easily (as visitors will attest)
- All floors need to be replaced as ants come through the tiles and deposit small mounds of sand inside
- Walls and ceilings have cracks.
- Wiring is a confusing melange
- The well water is so contaminated that we have to replace all taps every 6 months as they are consumed by rust.
- Bathroom and kitchen counters were replaced at our own expense because of severe damage and mold from leaks
- Several doors have been replaced at our own expense, and others need replacing.
Carpenters Working at Lakay Fondasyon
We continue to pour money into a structure that is not ours. Perhaps this new decade is the time to dream bigger, and begin raising funds to build a home of our own in Cap-Haitien.
Imagine a Starthrower Foundation center In Haiti where our students could come for daily meals, or to use the bathroom facilities, get clean drinking water, study, get tutoring, work for the summer, play soccer, hold choir practice, receive medical/dental referrals, work in the garden or simply rest on a hammock under a tree.
Students at Starthrower Foundation in Cap-Haitien Haiti
It is not just financial support which defines Starthrower in Haiti but much more. It's the support we give them and the support they give each other. It's the sense of community.
Starthrower is outgrowing its current premises so a change of location is on the horizon. One possible alternative to building a home of our own would be to rent a small apartment for myself and also rent separate office space for the programming staff. With two smaller locations, we would lose the community centre aspect everyone enjoys. Compounds such as the one that we currently rent are scarce.
Nothing happens quickly in Haiti, so it could and probably will take years to realize this dream. Please let me know if you want to participate in making this dream a reality.
More Thanks to our Starthrowers!
Congratulations to Jackie in Canada on her retirement! Thank you so much for your support for our nursing students.
Congratulations to the students at Boulder High School Colorado who participated in a model UN debate. Not only did they inform and educate but also the UNA Boulder Chapter donated the entry fees to Starthrower Foundation to support our potable water distribution program. A special thanks to the staff who organized the event and the judges who gave of their time to adjudicate.
Thanks also to Scotiabank in Orangeville for matching funds raised by Acheson's in Orangeville, Ontario, in December. Congratulations also to the winners of the draw. You will enjoy your time at Ste. Anne's and Peonie Aesthetics (article).
Special thanks to the Solon Family for their Christmas fundraiser to benefit Starthrower Foundation. Much appreciated!
That's the news from 'Arctic' Orangeville, Ontario, Canada. The main street is full of emergency vehicles working to repair the broken water pipes in a neighboring restaurant. Just a reminder that, for all the challenges we deal with in Haiti, there are some problems we will never face!
Kenbe pa lage (hang in there!)