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Feb 5, 2019

The Lives You've Changed!

From outcast on the streets to Apprentice!
From outcast on the streets to Apprentice!

With a new year upon us, it is a terrific time to reflect on the tremendous impacts you have made possible. To see the tangible changes in the lives you have touched through your love and care and support. 

Because of you, today there are hundreds of children in 19 communities putting on school uniforms and socks and shoes. Because of you, they will put their books and papers and pencils in backpacks and go to school. Because of you, they will come home and be able to have a nutritious snack. Because of you they will have access to a tutor's help. Because of you their parents may have small businesses and they may live in a house with real walls. Because of you, their dream of having a good job, of having a future with promise, health and dignity, is an actual possibility. Because of you, some of these children will go on to University and have the chance to make significant impacts of their own. 

Please savor the 'Before and After' photos that are included in this report - they are just a small sample, but "a picture really is worth a thousand words", and you can see so clearly what you have made happen! 

The learning and life changes you make possible not only happen to the children that we rescue, or the families that we reunite. The lives of Little Footprints Big Steps staff and their families have been transformed. Each and every staff member (all Haitian) have tremendously busy and varied work – sometimes dangerous with critical situations arising, often exhausting physically and emotionally. All work long, long days. Some are new to the types of tasks and interactions that come along. To build their confidence, capacity and expertise, we continuously seek out options for training and team-building. And to acknowledge and celebrate their dedication and the achievements they are such an integral part of. In November we hosted a training session including Interpersonal Communication Skills, Conflict Resolution and Team-Building. We also held the 4th Annual Staff Appreciation Celebration. Much love, respect and gratitude to all of those who put care, diligence and determination into their work each and every day.

The impacts of your care resonate through Haiti's entire Southern Region.  During an interview with Shot in the Dark Productions, that was recently in Haiti to film the final footage for the upcoming full feature documentary, the Police’s Chief Inspector of the Child Protection Brigade of Southern Haiti (BPM) stated, “LFBS represents, for BPM, what the heart represents to the body. Without LFBS, there would be so many children in our office, in the streets, at risk for their lives. LFBS supports and works with BPM unconditionally like no other NGO." and “LFBS is a partner that is unconditional, exceptional, irreplaceable...like no other". Thank YOU for your support in making this unique and strong partnership possible!

As we work to complete plans to build permanent structures on the LFBS property, providing effective and efficient LFBS services and programs into the future, our agronomist has planted crops on the land. This is a teaching opportunity for local youth and allows us to harvest the seeds for community gardens, AND to harvest for LFBS Outreach families and use at the Transitional Safehouses – providing our own healthy food source! Many of the youth that have been able to undertake vocational training will have jobs helping build the various structures as the land development moves forward. 

Our Annual Report for 2017/18 is attached to this report and available on our website. We are so excited to share this with you, and to have you share it with friends and colleagues - a tribute to you and the impacts you have each day. 

From abandoned burn victim to happy student!
From abandoned burn victim to happy student!
From leaf walls and dirt floor to safe home!
From leaf walls and dirt floor to safe home!
From corrupt orphanage to a healthy future!
From corrupt orphanage to a healthy future!
From street living to 1st in Class!
From street living to 1st in Class!
LFBS Amazing Staff!
LFBS Amazing Staff!

Links:

Nov 7, 2018

Igniting the Light in People's Eyes!

Vocational School Graduation!
Vocational School Graduation!

The lights you have ignited! Not only do we have multiple vocational school graduates, who have new found empowerment, dignity and opportunities for employment, but we have bee able to suppport youth in medical school and agronomy studies in University this year! AMAZING! We are so incredibly proud of these youth who graduated from vocational training this year! Two of them even gave speeches at the graduation ceremony! They have come so far and created so much change in their own lives already! Our staff are so proud of the tremendous challenges and hard work that these youth have ovcome in just the past few years! 

Our incredibly hardworking staff have trained additional groups of vulnerable mothers in the Grande Anse and another in Les Cayes area so that they can enter our business start-up program. Let's empower parents so they can better care for their children and further develop their own communities! Thank you to our incredible staff and YOU, our committed supporters, for making these families' futures brighter – and demonstrating to their children and communities what IS possible!

Our Agronomist, and our Outreach team, work with multiple families continuing to grow sustainable food supplies and marketable food sources in the rural communities across the southern peninsula. A few months ago we provided many families with livestock. One of the former street youth, reunited with his family last year, received sheep... and now has little lambs! Our dedicated staff team spend very long days making these essential trips to the Grande Anse area, ensuring to provide agricultural supplies and nutritional support to reunited families. In June 2018, we were able to convince this boy (photo below) to leave the streets. He's now reunited with his mother, helping her rebuild her home, planting his own family's garden, giving us gifts of fresh avocados from his yard, and back in school!

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!  And what better way for youth to learn and grow their self-esteem, than to have them involved in providing for their communities?

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 was invited to travel to Miami, Florida and to Ontario, Canada, presenting 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”. Your support makes that work possible.

Recently IBESR, one of our local Haiti Government Department partners, (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

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."

Thank you so very very much for making the difference and being a catalyst for igniting the lights in people's eyes ... and the path to a real future.  Please share our work with friends and colleagues. You can see change unfolding on our Facebook page (Little Footprints, Big Steps), also please visit our website for further information and details. 

 

New Business Start-Up participants
New Business Start-Up participants
Newly reunited and new gardens!
Newly reunited and new gardens!
Youth Harvesting LFBS peanut crop!
Youth Harvesting LFBS peanut crop!
Rotary International Peace Award
Rotary International Peace Award
Through a Child's Eyes
Through a Child's Eyes

Links:

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:

 
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