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June 2014 Newsletter from Haiti Micah Project
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June 2014

President’s Report by Father Joseph Constant 

George Washington Middle School Partners with Haiti Micah Project 

“Train a child in the way she should go.  Even when she is old she will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

Over the past month, I have had the privilege to work with Mr. Javaughn Perkins, Civics Instructor at George Washington Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia.  My daughter Claire has been attending GW Middle School and is a student of Mr. Perkins.  

In conversation with Claire, Mr. Perkins selected the HMP for the eighth grade class community project.  I had an initial conversation with Mr. Perkins in which he asked the very important question, what do you need?  At that point, we agreed that a shoe drive will greatly benefit the children.  The HMP serves a population of children that needs everything including shoes and sneakers, which we provide on a regular basis.  A pair of shoes or sneakers is always well-received.  

I am grateful to Mr. Perkins for inviting the students to engage in this community project and learn of the needs of God’s children in Haiti.        

As the academic year comes to a close, I want to thank all the schools, administrators, teachers and studentsfor supporting the ministry of the Haiti Micah Project this year.  I am so appreciative that my daughter attended a school that connects her and her school mates to Haiti in such a special way.  Haiti will remain in their consciousness.  

We will ship the shoes and sneakers to Haiti in August as part of our Back to School shipment.  We will send the shoes to Haiti in time for the first day of school.

In addition to collecting shoes, you may also support the shoe drive with a tax-deductible donation by going to our website, haiti-micah.org.

Faithfully,
Fr. Joseph M. Constant
 

"Shoes are not just a fashion statement,” said the middle schoolers.

Shoes are needed for kids to go to school in Haiti so they are a direct link to education. They help prevent tropical diseases and parasites, keep kids from getting their feet cut up and infected, and they offer dignity to children who have so little in material goods. Join the campaign and donate money for shoes on our website.  

 

Sponsor A Child  

By Karen Wires, Board Member

I probably have the best “job” at HMP coordinating the sponsorship program. I get to see the faces of hundreds of children, and connect their names and photos, learn their ages and school names, when the information is available through official records. I get to see them as they are accepted into the program—many with hopeless, empty eyes, no smiles, no animated faces.  And then I see them growing up. The longer they are in the program, the more smiles, the more eye twinkles. I get to see some of them when I visit. They don’t know me, but I know them.  

Being retired from 30 years in a school system, I had plenty of expectations for my new responsibility, ideas of how to manage data, experience with how educational institutions are supposed to work, and lots of ideas for plans to develop. After all, I had been to Haiti-once!  I had learned something at a Haitian conference.  Before the earthquake, I had driven through the markets of Port-au-Prince Port-au-Prince on my way to Leogane, seen the rotten food on the ground, they were selling, “the Kennedys”, clothes for sale, sent from other countries.  I knew some Haitians and had supported a young man through his years in high school, and frequently corresponded with him, when he had money to use the internet in a café! Surely these obvious problems had obvious solutions that needed my life’s experience.  

But just as a new teacher, I have learned so much during these first few years, with the most important lesson being, that I know very little and my assumptions are rarely correct.  At an organizational level, children and adults may not necessarily know how to spell their names; they may or may not know their birthdates; first names may sound like last names and vice versa; alphabetical order is not used when making lists.  As the years continue and the numbers of children increase, children come and go from the HMP roster. Children who suddenly come from social service agencies, just as suddenly leave.

Change is constant and so is the need.  Hundreds of names on paper that represent a child’s life and a family’s life.  Each and every name there represents a suffering, I will never know or understand no matter how many times I visit. Nor will my ideas necessarily be what is critically needed in the grand scheme of life in Haiti.

Our children and their families have the same universal needs, hopes, and dreams of getting out of poverty and all its ramifications as people throughout the world. Families recognize the critical value of education and come to HMP to help with their costs.  The importance of school cannot be overstated as families ensure that their children arrive at school extraordinarily clean and pressed in their school uniforms, girls decorated with an array of hair ribbons to brighten the day.  Children are required to demonstrate school achievement, which frequently results in adolescents  working their way up through the Haitian educational system, regardless of their age and level of achievement.  Classrooms of children sit, in heat and humidity, hard to describe, well behaved, desk-to-desk, amazingly focused on their teacher.

Ability to communicate back and forth with Haiti is frustratingly inconsistent. There is the language barrier, a lack of a functional mail system, difficulty picking up shipped packages that arrive an hour and a half away in the capital city. The cost of shipment is frequently prohibitive. Given the life threatening needs and day–to-day priorities of keeping 500 children educated, and healthy, there is no staff member with the time to oversee our attempts to connect with the children.

Among our sponsors, some respond with making a monetary contribution and prayers. Some send photos to their child in an effort to make a connection. Some send small monetary gifts or personal gifts to let their child know he/she is not forgotten on their birthday. It is all an effort of faith, hope, and love when sponsors extend themselves to reach their child.  

One solid lesson learned so far--you can make a difference in one child’s life. The more you try to connect, the more you, too, will get out of it.  Chances are you may never know the extent that your contribution has made, but it can make your heart grow three sizes when you get involved at a personal level. After 11 years of knowing my high school student from Leogane, I had the good fortune of my high school student never giving up on me. Through his persistence with me and with his goals in life, he will graduate in a couple years with a degree in pharmacy in the Dominican Republic and then return to Haiti.  He knows four languages!  He is 30 years old.  He calls me “Mom.”  

 


Fast Trak Summer Racing: Running for Medicine!

Welcome summer with the next Fast Trak race Saturday, July 4! Fast Trak Racing  donates a portion of your entry fee when you designate Haiti Micah Project at sign up. The race begins at 9am in Great Falls Park in Virginia. 

This race will be very special, as we will donate all HMP funds collected toward the purchase of paracetamol drugs in Haiti. These anti-inflammatory drugs are used to treat chikungunya fever. The Ministry of Health in Haiti has confirmed a serious outbreak of this debilitating disease. Caused by an arbovirous transmitted by mosquitos, chikungunya causes crippling joint pain. As the demand for paracetamol goes up, there has been price gouging and counterfeit drugs sold on the street. Several of our children in HMP programming and staff members have fallen ill and will continue to need medication for the immediate future.

Racing with us July 4 will help us help our brothers and sisters in Haiti get the medicine they need, safely. We hope to see you there!
 

Haiti Micah Project Goes for Gold

HMP achieved status as “gold level participant” by GuideStar, the non-governmental organization (NGO) rating group. To attain this status, the board worked to upgrade our information on the GuideStar website, including financial reports, program descriptions and impact measures. We also included a link for on-line donations. Check out the updated report here

The GuideStar site also displays a 5-star feedback rating from our supporters. You can add your own feedback by logging into “Great Non-Profits” and writing a review of the Haiti Micah Project. GuideStar serves as a source of information about non-profit organizations. They display organizations' mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, and governance. GuideStar rates NGOs with bronze, silver, and gold, to help users easily identify the best-run organizations. The Haiti Micah Project is now in the top grouping, enticing new donors and assuring our family of current donors that we are well-run in all aspects of our operations.

 
 


 
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