Project Esperanza

Project Esperanza is a non-profit organization that began as and remains a Virginia Tech student organization. Project Esperanza serves to connect the Blacksburg, Virginia community and the Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic community through service. Our programs are designed to work toward breaking the cycle of poverty present among the lower social classes in these two communities, as well toward breaking the cycle of apathy present among the upper classes.
Oct 15, 2012

Still Preparing

I regret to inform that we still have not starting practicing regularly. I am hoping that after a fundraising trip to the US in November, we will be able to start in January. We have been short on long term volunteers to help run our other programs and therefore have not really had the staff to dedicate to this program. But this should also be changing around the month of January. So hopefully we will start up at that point. 

During these past few months, I have been able to spend some more time meeting some of the younger boys on the streets - boys who were not around when we began working with this population in 2006. I met one who comes over each week from a town called Navarete which is about an hour away. I asked about his family. His mother lives in Navarete. I asked if she sends him over to Puerto Plata where he shines shoes, begs, and sleeps on the streets and in random places. He said no. I asked if she is happy that he comes. He said no. She does not want him to come. I encouraged him to then, not come. Because he is little and when you aren't under your mother or father or caregiver's wing, people can take advantage of you, influence you badly, etc. He should listen to her and stay home. Is she not able to feed him? He said that she is able to feed him. Does he not have neighbors to play with. He said that he does. Then stay home! What are you looking for? You're a little kid! He smiled and nodded to all of this. This is a common practice among Haitian male youth. And I have learned that with a boy on the street, you have to make sure that they are not being disobedient to parental figures before helping them..or else you are actually luring them from parents. Mothers stay absolutely heart broken over their young boys who love the streets. 

Another boy who shoe shines is in a different situation. His mother is dead and his father is a boko, which is a voodoo priest. He does not like to be around the morbid and Satanic practices that go along with his dad's lifestyle and profession and does not live with his father. He makes quite an effort to earn money shining shoes. He is a great canditate to receive help through the soccer team. However, we would take much caution before entering him into our group home as he is already 15 or 16 years old. If he were to decide to disobey at some point, he is already large and would be hard for the responsible members to handle. This is why, when introducing new members, we normally introduce younger boys around age 12. 

We recently created an online store to sell t-shirts and other items. One design is specific for supporting these boys on the streets. "Grapiyay" is a word that means a person who lives in the streets in Haitian Creole. Many Haitians use it in a derogatory manner, but boys on the streets often own it, calling each other this word and even sometime one's own self. Therefore, we have created this design to support these boys with the home, soccer team, and other classes such as the sewing class we recently began. Sewing is a skill that can provide quite steady income and many men actually do it. 

Thank you very much for your support. Oct. 17th is a Global Giving Matching Day. If you donate on this day before the matching donations run out, your donation will be matched 30%. So this is a great time to give! 

Links:

Oct 3, 2012

Full Bellies and Fuller Brains

new fair trade art shop location
new fair trade art shop location

School began September 3rd and we are definitely in full swing! With the help of the donations of some food items, we have begun serving school meals three times a week, which has been the community's request for years. We served a few meals last spring, but we are finally able to now serve meals consistently. We have items to serve oatmeal, a corn meal porridge called mazorca which is really quite good, spaghetti, and rice and beans. We are doing this two times a day (for morning and afternoon school) three days a week. The cooks are mothers of students in the school who have volunteered for one of the six shifts for a month. The six volunteers will then rotate each month. 

I am also happy to share that our fair trade art shop which sells artwork done by community members and is set up to fundraise for the school as well as create income for community members, has moved to a new and improved location. We have a long term volunteer who has been working hard to prepare the shop and contact tourist excursion guides who pass by daily to bring their groups by the shop. We just opened last Thursday and have only had one sale so far, but hopefully it will be rolling soon! We also now sell our t-shirts online. Check them out!

16 students have been sponsored so far this year, which leaves 45+ left to be sponsored. If you are interested in sponsoring, please e-mail Sponsor@EsperanzaMeansHope.org. If you donate $100 or more, we will contact you asking if you would like for your donation to go toward a student sponsorship, which is a $100 annual donation and you receive your student's profile complete with a family picture. Don't forget that Oct. 17th is a Global Giving matching day where donations are matched at 30%! So that's a great day to donate!

Thanks always for your support!

Links:

Sep 13, 2012

A Great Summer, Starting School

Counselor Cole carries camper Aniverca.
Counselor Cole carries camper Aniverca.

There is lots to report with this program. The six weeks of summer camp were really amazing! Around 30 campers led by around 12 counselors throughout the summer had a lot of fun and learned a lot of English! Stations included Arts & Crafts, Story Time, Songs, and Active Games. Most of the campers were sponsored campers from marginalized communities whereas others were registered and paid for by their parents. Most of the counselors were from the United States with a few from Canada and the UK.

On August 20th we launched our English immersion pre-school! The idea seems somewhat foreign to many community members and registration has been quite low, but several have promised to register in October. This is a bit of a pilot program and it is important that we carry it through so that people can observe, get used to the idea, and consider registering their 2, 3, and 4 year old children in the future.

Three students were granted scholarships this year. Miguelina Joseph was once again awarded a scholarship to attend the Colegio Sueño de Los Niños and has entered the 7th grade. Eriverto Osbaldo has also again received a scholarship to attend the same school and is attending 5th grade. Lastly, Freddy Jean Piet has been awarded a scholarship to attend the university OyM in Puerto Plata and is studying modern languages.

Thank you so much for your support!

Arts & Crafts
Arts & Crafts
Story Time
Story Time
Cha Cha slide
Cha Cha slide
Songs Station
Songs Station

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $20
    give
  • $30
    give
  • $70
    give
  • $125
    give
  • $250
    give
  • $750
    give
  • $1,115
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $70
    each month
    give
  • $125
    each month
    give
  • $250
    each month
    give
  • $750
    each month
    give
  • $1,115
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Project Esperanza

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Project Esperanza on GreatNonProfits.org.