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.
Jan 7, 2014

First Tournament in Quite Awhile

Supesta participated in their first tournament in a few years. Only the players age 12 and under were allowed to participate in this tournament. Games were played every Saturday for four weeks. Some weeks we played two games in one Saturday afternoon. We ended with two losses and four ties, and were unfortunately eliminated early on. However, we told the players that they should not be disappointed, because they did not lose the majority of their games. We also continue to sit them down at the end of each game or practice and hand out a strip of paper with a bible verse on it, which we go over with them. Over Christmas break we took a break from soccer and are hoping to start back up in January. We told the kids this, but nonetheless, when I visited the school building one Saturday afternoon, there were about 12 boys waiting for the bus to take them to soccer. We let them play in the school yard for a bit and let them know that the team was on break. I am also happy to announce that an organization in the UK called Kits for Causes is sending 40 cleats and 40 pairs of shin guards for our players! 

In October, Wyclef Jean did a concert at a hotel in the area. If you don't know, he is a Haitian American music artist who has supported quite a lot of education and development efforts in Haiti. We desparately wanted to get his attention but had trouble getting an inn. After soccer practice on the day of concert, we drove to the hotel where he would be playing, to try to get the guards' attention even more. They said he had not yet arrived, but would let any of his staff know that an entire soccer team had come to see him. We ended up sending our coach to the concert, finding a very cheap ticket, with several copies of the attached flyer. He actually got the chance to hand one directly to Wyclef as he passed through the crowd, but we never did hear from him. However, the verse we went over that day was:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. - Matthew 7:7

And in Haitian Creole:

Mande, y'a ban nou. Chache, n'a jwenn. Frape, y'a louvri pou nou. - Matye 7:7

Thank you for your support! We couldn't do it without you!

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Dec 16, 2013

Looking Ahead & Evolving

registering students
registering students

Hello! A very special thanks to those of you who supported us in the recent YouthSpark matching day!

We will probably edit this project to increase the desired budget so it can continue, because you can see that we have almost reached our goal, but that goal was set four years ago, and it was meant to cover the school's expenses for about two years.

I want to share that the public school in the community of Munoz is rapidly completing a large addition so that rather than functioning 8am to 12pm, they will now function 8am to 4pm, quite an extension! As it is, they have some students attend in the mornings, and some in the afternoon. Now all students will attend all day long. This will greatly affect our school, as some of our students, those whose parents are for one, more responsible and proactive and two, have spent more time in the country and community, go to the public school for half a day where they are educated in Spanish, and go to our school for half a day where they are educated in French/Haitian Creole. This change is set to take place at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, in August. So we have to determine if we will continue with the school pre-K through 6th as we are now, and we will have a significant drop in students, or will do perhaps a Montessauri pre-school for those too young to attend the public school, and vocational training for teenagers and young adults in evenings or on weekends. These are some different options. My vote is that we continue the school as it is, but to make it feasible, we will need to be sure that we will maintain the same amount of students we currently have.

Surely once this change takes place, there will still be a percentage of students wandering the streets, not in any school. Munoz has three bateyes, or communities that are often also referred to as slums or refugee camps. Each batey has a school with Haitian teachers, focusing on educating the Haitian children, as ours does. There was a fourth school created as well a few years back during an unfortunate church split. The lack of unity among these schools is ridiculous, inefficient, and creates lots of small town politics. It is our desire that we collaborate with these other schools to form one school, because with the opening of the new full day public school, none of these schools will be able to efficiently operate, as all will be lacking students. We have talked to one so far which is in agreement. But the details will be complicated. Each school either operates in an owned church building or in a rented building. It is necessary that a collaborative effort be made and that a plot of land is purchased, and a building constructed to form one Haitian school. This is an ideal plan, and we have not had enough fundraising success up until this point to do that, but it is what seems to make the most sense. Surrounding the bateyes, the government owns all of the land, and it is for sale through the Central Bank. I have called to find out a price but learned that to do that would requiring visiting the capital and arranging for a representative to visit the area. I have to make a trip to the capital soon, so I plan on fitting that in on the trip. Recently the government bulldozed all of this land, knocking down mostly toilets, trees, and gardens, just to show batey residents that it was the government's land, and not theirs. Many people were upset by this.

Thank you for your continued support. Please stay with us as we work toward the goal of forming one, efficent Haitian school to serve the three batey communities, and to get it accredited by the government, creating a model curriculum for these specific students.

registering students2
registering students2

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Oct 7, 2013

Still Going Strong!

 

I am sorry that it has been so long since you have received an update on the Christian Upliftment School in Kampala, Uganda. We recently were able to send Hellen $568.75 from funds accumulated throughout the summer. We have another $112.88 to be sent. This is still a long way off from the over $1,000 US a month the school needs to function properly, but it is a great start, and they are still going, despite what they lack!  

School & Personal Update from Hellen
I have not updated because I have been waiting on an update from Hellen. It turns out that she has been in the hospital again, still suffering effects from the car accident she was in months back. She said that she also had a case of malaria. She believes she will be out and back home on Monday and can send me a breakdown of expenses and pictures at that time. I know that the funds sent are so much less than the school needs, but it sure is great that we are still able to help out in some way. 

I recently spoke with Hellen on the phone as it was difficult for her to write much via e-mail. I asked her if the school is still functioning fine without her presence and she said yes, of course. There are seven teachers working, basically voluntarily, teaching 260 students! They ask for a small fee from parents but many cannot pay and others pay inconsistently, so this is all the teachers have to live off of. I asked if teacher pay is the school´s biggest need. She said no, and reminded me of the inspections going on this year that will determine whether or not the school is allowed to continue functioning in the building they are in. Their most urgent need is to make some building repairs. Then another big pressing need is consistent payment for teachers, as well as school meals, and materials to work with. 

I also spoke to Hellen a little to learn more about her personally. You probably know that Hellen's husband who founded the school passed away in 2006, but you may or may not know that she has 3 children, all in their teenage years, who she is also putting through school. Two boys and a girl. If you are waiting for a picture of your sponsored student, we hope this will move along a little quicker when Hellen is out of the hospital, although I am not sure how much access she currently has to a camera either, although she mentioned having some pictures to send. But bear with us! 

New Giving Opportunity - Global Giving Matching Day!

More than half of the funds we have raised recently has been through Global Giving. Global Giving has a matching day coming up for projects in Africa on Wednesday, October 9th. Start time: 7:00 am Nairobi, 5:00 am London. Let's see, this means that it's 12am EST, correct? There are $25,000 in matching funds and they tend to go fast, so try to get your donation in early. Donations are matched at 30% and there are two $1,000 prizes - one for the project that raises the most funds this day and one for the project that brings in the most unique donors this day. So spread the word and give CUSchool a chance at winning one of these extra prizes! 

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/christian-upliftment-school-in-kampala-uganda/
Social Media for CUSchool

Does anyone want to create a Facebook page for CUSchool to post updates and pictures and maybe gain more support and interest? I think it would be a great idea!

Let's stick together and continue to grow on what we have going to allow this school, and everyone involved in it, to thrive! 

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