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Nov 7, 2018

Changing the Light in Children's Eyes

Igniting the light
Igniting the light
Below is a powerful statement made by the Founder and Head of Haiti Operations of Little Footprints Big Steps Child Protection Organization...it is the truth of the children and youth whose lives YOU have impacted with the opportunity for education, to live and thrive with their families in their communities. YOU ignite the light in the eyes of a child through your support. THANK YOU for making true change possible, each and every day. 
"To the child who has been let down by every person you counted on;

To the child on the hospital bed who wanted to live, and to cuddle, and to fight for survival– but was left, weak and untouched, until it was too late.

To the child who’d been gang raped so many times that at age 14, you thought it was normal and gave your body up willingly. You even ran away to return to your abusers.

To the child who was so badly abused and neglected, you’d never learned that hurting others was wrong… after all, those who were meant to care for you had only hurt you. You followed their example.

To the child sleeping on a prison cell floor, unable to roll over 
because it’s so crowded. Perhaps you couldn’t handle the hunger anymore and were driven to desperate measures – or perhaps you’d joined the wrong group of friends, because they made you feel accepted in a world where you’d faced too much rejection.

To the child whose life experiences have taught you it’s better to be feared than to be fearful; who’s become the most violent person around so that others won’t attack you… Whose eyes are dark with what looks like anger, coldness and a lack of empathy – but what is truly a disguise for pain.

I see the window of vulnerability when our eyes meet.

I see that I get through to you when we speak alone – but as soon as you step back into your world I see negative influences draining your motivation and hope and self worth.

I see the genuine desire you have to live a different life, to break free and be yourself… I see through the years of pain, mistrust, and hopelessness that have built over your positivity and morale.

I see you.

I see all that you could have been if this world hadn’t let you down."

An exciting September unfolded once again, with many children experiencing their first day of new school year! LFBS Outreach staff were tremendously busy bringing school supplies, uniforms, backpacks to hundreds of children throughout Haiti's southwest - with truckloads going to the rural villages of Jeremie, Pestel and Chanta, Randell and Les Anglais! All students were registered for school.Our Haitian staff team are tremendously committed to the important work they're doing, and work tirelessly to ensure this is accomplished in a short period of time - and are so proud of the future they are instrumental in making possible. Our vehicles and staff don't seem to have the word 'tired' in their vocabulary! We are so grateful for all that our hardworking team, and dedicated supporters, allow us to accomplish each week!  (photos below) 

The school year also saw a new start for many that LFBS has supported for health recovery. This lovely, grateful student was deathly ill when we met her and had trouble breathing, so certainly couldn't go to school. After months of hospitalization...she has been thrilled that she's been able to return to school! Guerna, in the peach school uniform, was so badly burned she was unable to wear a shirt or dress. Now after operations and healing, and tutoring assistance, she is ready to embrace school days and learning with others!

Good nutrition is key to good learning. Our Agronomist not only works with rural families to ensure optimal crop growth, he has also planted crops on the land that LFBS has purchased, and he and our Youth Leader team have harvested corn, plantain and peanuts! Our Transitional Safehouse staff then shelled and roasted the peanuts, and ground them into fresh local peaunut butter that we have been able to distribute to families so that the children can have healthy snacks before and after school! 

Sharing awareness of the realities of the children we rescue and reunite with their families, and the unique programs, initiatives and partnerships that LFBS undertakes to ensure they can stay together, learn and thrive toward healthy self-sufficiency, is critical to continue building awareness and support. In October, LFBS Co-founder and Head of Haiti Operations traveled to Ontario, Canada and presented at numerous events, including the District 7010 Rotary Conference, “Dare to Dream” in Deer Lake; “An Evening with Morgan Wienberg” hosted by Windsor Rotary Club; and “International Project Celebration of LFBS”, hosted by Whitby Rotary. At that event, Morgan was presented with the prestigious Wilf Wilkinson Peace Award! This award recognizes “the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace”.

Recently, one of our local Haiti Government Department partners, IBESR (Haiti’s Social Services Department) did a thorough review of the ‘orphanages’ across the country. Of 754 orphanages visited and evaluated by local authorities, only 35 in the whole country are up to minimum standards! Several have been identified to have sexual abuse, and 302 have been identified to have physical abuse (likely figure is probably even higher). It is critical that international donors be vigilant about what their donations are going towards and that the education of local parents and support to reunify and strengthen families continues. THIS is why family reunification and strengthening toward healthy, safe and self-sufficient futures is so important! LFBS is so very proud, and grateful to YOU, for supporting our work over the past 7 years toward making it possible for us to do exactly that <3

Our 2017/18 Annual Report will be coming out soon. Please join us on Facebook (Little Footprints, Big Steps) and see your support unfolding. 

Please share the work and progress widely. Let others become catalysts for the kind ofr change that YOU make possible each and every day - igniting that light in the eyes of others! 

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for your love, care and support. 

 

School supplies to rural communities
School supplies to rural communities
Healed, and ready for school!
Healed, and ready for school!
From youth harvesting to...
From youth harvesting to...
...fresh, nutritious peanut butter!
...fresh, nutritious peanut butter!
Rotary International Peace Award
Rotary International Peace Award

Links:

Aug 16, 2018

Building Lives and Momentum!

Learning ceramic tile work
Learning ceramic tile work

Another full summer - school year ended and it was full steam ahead for vocational skills training, special training sessions for LFBS staff, youth leaders and parents ... new paths firmly undeway! 

Many of our youth undertook various vocational skills training through the summer months. Courses included window installation, masonry, sewing, pastry arts, cooking, hotel services, automotive repair, electricity installation, plumbing, ceramic tiling…we will be able to hire many when we begin construction on the land we have purchased! We have several new street children we’ve reunited with their families since June, who are doing very well. One boy who is now 15 but was in the streets since age 7 has been admitted to our Transitional Safehouse and has started to make drastic changes! He’s in literacy tutoring over the summer as well as an electricity course.

Below is a photo with members of our Youth Leadership group and LFBS staff ready to go to church together. We had special t-shirts made with LFBS logo on the front and “Jen se Developman msen kapab, ou kapab nou tout kapab” – “Youth are Development. I’m capable, you’re capable, we’re all capable”. A powerful message from youth to youth.

More parents entering LFBS small business set-up program! We now have 107 people involved in their own small businesses! Our staff members provide a training to participants (in groups of 10 - 15) regarding business management and the program. Following their initial training, we provide them with a business capital. They repay a portion of the funds each month. We store those funds for them in a bank account, and once they have fully repaid the business capital we give it back to them so they can reinforce and continue to grow their business. A partner organisation called Haven Partnership International also provides weekly training to groups on subjects including entrepreneurship, marketing, human rights, health, personal relations, self-esteem, etc. We continue to work with the individuals regularly and encourage networking amongst them to share successes, problem solve and build each other’s confidence and capacity. An example of the success of this program includes a single mother that sells dishes and laundry bins. She is on her second cycle of the program now and is able to care for all of her and her child’s needs. Another great collaborative situation is where one family’s business is to harvest salt in Haiti’s salt flats area in the Artibonite (east-central) Region, is a supplier to a LFBS entrepreneur in the southern peninsula!

LFBS staff assisted local Child Protection Authorities providing training workshops on Children's Rights and Violence Prevention in numerous local schools, including many rural communities. We also worked with MSPP (Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health) to provide a youth workshop on Personal Hygiene and STI. Knowledge has the power to change and save lives. Our collaboration with, and support for, local authorities in these awareness initiatives makes reaching many youth possible.

June 10 was the National "Day of the Child". Included in the series of activities leading up to that day, LFBS was invited to a special meeting with Haiti Government Departments working in the Social Services and Child Protection areas. Along with the Regional Directors of those Departments, a young girl among the panel of speakers! She was the "representative of children". Her speech was AMAZING! Congratulations to IBESR (Haiti Social Services) for prioritizing child participation. What a sound demonstration for all involved to recognize and honor the 'voice of a child'!

We were able to bring HAPPI (Healing Arts Peace Projects Organization) to Les Cayes. These highly skilled professionals provided training for our staff team in trauma informed care and arts therapy intervention, as well as holding arts therapy groups with a number of LFBS children and youth, and an outreach project with street children.

This year our Agronomist and Outreach Team have been focused on the families in rural communities devastated by Hurricane Matthew. Together with the family and community members, they have brought back the land and have developed gardens, reintroduced livestock and repaired or rebuilt homes. The family living in Grand Anse is shown with Morgan immediately following the Category 5 Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 with the ruins of their home and countryside in the background…and NOW (June 2018)!!  Thank YOU for your part in helping make this transformation happen!

With determination and perseverance, and overcoming seemingly unsurmountable obstacles – and your love and support -anything really is possible! 

Thank you so much.

Hospitality training
Hospitality training
LFBS Youth Leaders
LFBS Youth Leaders
Youth Health and Hygiene workshop
Youth Health and Hygiene workshop
Immediately following Hurricane Matthew
Immediately following Hurricane Matthew
NOW - rebuilding and lush
NOW - rebuilding and lush

Links:

Aug 16, 2018

Building Lives and Momentum!

Graduation!
Graduation!

As the school year drew to a close, many students proudly completed their first year of school -ever! One of the children we reunited with his family last fall was one of them. His enthusiastic dedication to his opportunity to attend school resulted in him excelling in all subjects. As a special surprise to acknowledge his great work, we brought him (and his family) sheep – they live in a rural area and our agronomist has been working with them toward self-sufficiency.

Now, the new school year already approaches! Our team has already started with school preparations as time goes by so quickly and there is so much to be done. We have uniforms being sewn, schoolbooks being purchased and even some school payments being made. Along with the many children who experienced their very first schooling last year, it was amazing to see several students graduate from secondary school as well! Many are hoping to go to post-secondary school, and we will assist to make that possible where we are able.

LFBS staff assisted local Child Protection Authorities providing training workshops on Children's Rights and Violence Prevention in numerous local schools, including many rural communities. We also worked with MSPP (Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health) to provide a youth workshop on Personal Hygiene and STI. Knowledge has the power to change and save lives. Our collaboration with, and support for, local authorities in these awareness initiatives makes reaching many youth possible.

Photo below shows some of the members of our Youth Leadership group and LFBS staff ready to go to church together. We had special t-shirts made with LFBS logo on the front and “Jen se Developman msen kapab, ou kapab nou tout kapab” – “Youth are Development. I’m capable, you’re capable, we’re all capable”. A powerful message from youth to youth.

We were able to bring HAPPI (Healing Arts Peace Projects Organization) to Les Cayes. These highly skilled professionals provided training for our staff team in trauma informed care and arts therapy intervention, as well as holding arts therapy groups with a number of LFBS children and youth, and an outreach project with street children.

More parents entering LFBS small business set-up program! We now have 107 people involved in their own small businesses! Our staff members provide a training to participants (in groups of 10 - 15) regarding business management and the program. Following their initial training, we provide them with a business capital. They repay a portion of the funds each month. We store those funds for them in a bank account, and once they have fully repaid the business capital we give it back to them so they can reinforce and continue to grow their business. A partner organisation called Haven Partnership International also provides weekly training to groups on subjects including entrepreneurship, marketing, human rights, health, personal relations, self-esteem, etc. We continue to work with the individuals regularly and encourage networking amongst them to share successes, problem solve and build each other’s confidence and capacity. An example of the success of this program includes a single mother that sells dishes and laundry bins. She is on her second cycle of the program now and is able to care for all of her and her child’s needs. Another great collaborative situation is where one family’s business is to harvest salt in Haiti’s salt flats area in the Artibonite (east-central) Region, is a supplier to a LFBS entrepreneur in the southern peninsula!

So wonderful to so clearly see the difference that you have made in a child’s life – and to see the root of why Little Footprints Big Steps was founded. When Morgan first met this little fellow in 2011, he was an abused and traumatized 2 year old boy living in an abusive orphanage. He was beaten with fists and sticks; deprived of water, food and attention. This was the year LFBS was formed. Today he is a happy healthy boy, living with his family in his rural community. He attends school and the LFBS Agronomist works with his family growing their vegetable crops.

With determination and perseverance, and overcoming seemingly unsurmountable obstacles – and your love and support - he and over 220 children have been rescued and reunited with their families.  YOU did this! Amazing!

Thank you so much.

First ever report card - outstanding work!
First ever report card - outstanding work!
LFBS Youth Leaders
LFBS Youth Leaders
Trauma Art Therapy
Trauma Art Therapy
2011 ... Before YOU!
2011 ... Before YOU!
Today...Thank YOU!
Today...Thank YOU!

Links:

 
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