Over the past few years, the Covid-19 pandemic along with the political instability in Haiti had made it difficult for our family to go on our annual trips to visit the school and Canaan village. As you may know, over the past 6 years, our family has been sharing our lives with the people of Canaan, Haiti and working together to bring educational tools to the children. In the summer of 2019, thanks to your generous donations, we were able to install solar panels for the school & health clinic and bring a technology platform to supplement the learning of the primary school students. It is now the first place in the area to have 24/7 electricity. Our 2020 goal was to create a library for children of all ages at the school in order to expand their scope of knowledge and imagination. Both the school director and parents committee identified that this was the #1 need. This was a very exciting project because it would be the first library to be built in the region. Through the project, we hoped to bring a bit of light in the lives of the children of Canaan while continuing to cultivate hope and pave a better future for the kids. Hannah and I’s high school club, Valley to Valley, wanted to provide educational support to the children in Canaan, so throughout the 2019 school year, we raised $1700 via fundraisers, bake sales and holiday tree lot. To provide around 300-400 books, we needed to raise between $3000-4000. My sister and I uploaded a fundraising video which many of you saw.
Within the span of a couple weeks we were able to raise more than our goal, and in 2021, we were finally able to build the library for the children in Haiti. They now have a shelf filled with 373 books. With the efforts of everyone who has supported this process, we were able to turn a small Canaan school into a model example for the surrounding areas.
The children were excited and fascinated by the books and have been able to take and return them even while school was out!
During our first trip to Haiti, our family got to see how the kids living in Canaan were lacking simple materials for the school such as pencils, markers, and books. Once seeing their passion for education and their diligence in school, our family decided that the next time we would visit Haiti, we would bring supplies for the children. After returning to the U.S, we had the idea to use the materials we would receive from others to create books written and illustrated by the 5th and 6th graders in the school in Canaan that we visited to give to the younger kids. We started off by collecting pencils, colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, markers and stickers. We put up posters around my sister Hannah’s and my high school as well as posting updates on our online communities. By the end of 2 weeks we had collected more than enough supplies to bring with us to Haiti. When we went to Haiti again in the spring of 2018, we brought all of our supplies for the children and explained to the principal what we wanted to do with the children, and she agreed that was a great idea. The 5th and 6th graders loved coming up with a fantasy or real-life story and wrote in beautiful cursive. A favorite story that was written was one of them going on a field trip to the National Museum in Haiti in Port-Au-Prince called Musée National d’Haïti where they learned about the culture and history of Haiti. My sister Hannah and I helped the kids to decorate their stories that turned out beautifully. After our 1 week trip where we were able to see so many different stories that they had written for the younger grades, it was time to go home; however, we knew that we wanted to grow the idea of writing stories. After a few months, we got the idea to find and bring stories from the U.S that would be translated to French for the kids in Canaan, Haiti. From the start of our organization, we wanted to incorporate seniors of our community, and we realized that this would be one great way of doing so. Our hopes before our next trip in the spring of 2019 are to visit with senior centers each weekend to listen to the life stories and lessons that the seniors have learned throughout the years to make them more involved with our organization and including all generations into our cause.