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May 21, 2018

Continued Growth, Change and Celebration!

New construction graduates shop for tools!
New construction graduates shop for tools!

As we move toward the end of another school year - and look forward to options of continued learning through Summer School and Summer Vocational training - we celebrate our most recent Vocational and Skills training graduates! It was exciting to shop for tools for three of our youth who graduated from vocational skills training program to work in specialized construction areas. We have also had a recent graduate with a diploma in ‘Windows for Computers’ - at his graduation ceremony, Juno’s teacher spoke to his work drive and wise temperament. Then Juno gave a speech to thank LFBS for supporting his progress through all of his learning!

A group of 8 youth that we've been encouraging and working with, were able to join alongside our construction team and help build a family a home! It is not only a learning experience for these young men but also an opportunity to help others. The homes are built where the family lives…even if that is up remote mountainsides and requires carrying all of the building materials, tools, ladders, cement, paint, etc up steep rocky trails! The confidence and new found self-esteem from learning what you can do, can change everything. 

New crops, new market business! Our agronomist has been working to make parents of children in our programs more self-sustainable. This former street child is now able to help his mother sell cabbage produced in their own garden! We are thrilled to see the parents in our business start up program having such success! This is definitely a program we need to continue to grow - most children are abandoned into orphanages or end up on the streets simply because their parents don't have the economic stability to care for them. So empowering that these parents can help protect their children!

Sustainable nutrition is also the focus of our Agronomist as he works with families across the southwest villages. With crops once again growing following the devistation of Hurricane Matthew, we have been able to reintroduce livestock to our families there. We are so grateful for our committed staff who worked long hours over weekends to ensure families in the Grande Anse region received pairs of goats and the children had their school fees paid for the remainder of this school year! In April, we were thrilled to provide several reunited families in Pestel region with sheep. Once the animals have babies, the youth who received them will share their livestock with other families!

Medical supplies arrived in time to restock our small pharmacy. Medical patients of all ages are supported through our Outreach program to pediatric wards of local general hospital, home visits from our medical team and LFBS Medical Outreach Clinics. Along with the children in the villages and those in our care, we have children referred to us by IBESR (Haiti Social Services), Terre des Hommes, Ministry for Women's Rights, foreign doctors volunteering in the hospital, etc.

 Ensuring continued team and capacity building, we undertook a brief trip to Ile a Vache for LFBS staff. We were able to visit, firsthand, the Business Start-up Program our partners Haven Organization have created on the island, and also had the chance to do some team bonding and appreciate mother nature's beauty of their country. Additionally, 7 LFBS staff members attended Train-the-Trainer Micro Finance workshop to further strengthen their capacity in the Outreach work they do for small business start-ups and family self-sufficiency and sustainability guidance. 

Always happy to share LFBS work and inspire others around the world, LFBS Head of Operations, Morgan, and one of our Haitian staff traveled to Canada in April. While in Whitehorse, in Canada’s far northern territory of the Yukon, they met with supporters, spoke at Rotary Club meetings and schools and the videography team that will be producing a full feature documentary. Then on to Vancouver, British Columbia where Morgan was a key note speaker at Rose International Conference. The conference theme was Maintaining Compassion in a Fractured World. Morgan also led two breakout sessions focused on Cultural Competency and Sustainable Empowerment. Morgan was then key note speaker at Rotary District Conference in Michigan, where the organizers of that event noted that “We’ve never seen a speaker touch so many hearts as Morgan did today in all the years we have been attending conferences”.

 Thank you, our supporters and team members, for making this possible! Whose lives will you touch and change through your support and care? Follow us on Facebook at 'Little Footprints, Big Steps' and on our website at www.littlefootprintsbigsteps.com. 

Building homes up mountain trails
Building homes up mountain trails
New crops to market!
New crops to market!
Sheep to families in remote Pestel
Sheep to families in remote Pestel
What a team! <3
What a team! <3
Train-the-Trainer MicroFinace Workshop
Train-the-Trainer MicroFinace Workshop

Links:

May 21, 2018

Continued Growth, Change and Celebration!

Back-packs arrive via sailboat!
Back-packs arrive via sailboat!

 Although this school year will soon be drawing to a close and moving toward various Summer School pursuits and opportunities, we continue to gather supplies for next school year! Back-packs and other school supplies were gathered from numerous schools in Connecticut  and medical supplies from surrounding hospitals and medical clinics by the wonderful folks at Move to Matter Organization. From there they were all transported to a sailboat in Florida, and once conditions were good, were sailed to Haiti for LFBS to pick up! We try to purchase as much of our goods in Haiti but some costs and item availability doesn't allow that. And, there are very few ways to actually get supplies to Haiti, so the folks that volunteer the use of their sailboats as they travel the Caribbean is so very important! 

Medical patients of all ages are supported through our Outreach program to pediatric wards of local general hospital, home visits from our medical team and LFBS Medical Outreach Clinics. Along with the children in the villages and those in our care, we have children referred to us by IBESR (Haiti Social Services), Terre des Hommes, Ministry for Women's Rights, foreign doctors volunteering in the hospital, etc.

The continued growth in the children and youth’s confidence, skills and abilities in so many areas was clearly evident during recent Haitian Flag Day celebrations. Our staff spent the holiday hosting a party for a group of nearly 50 children and youth. Youth were involved in all areas of the event - presenting poetry and speeches about their country, singing songs and performing cultural dances! 

Other clear signs of the growth and change underway was seeing some of our youth leaders joining in with the local Rotary Club reforestation efforts and others joining a girl’s soccer team. These are not pursuits they would have thought possible just a few years ago!

Ensuring continued team and capacity building, we undertook a brief trip to Ile a Vache for LFBS staff. We were able to visit, firsthand, the business start-up program our partners Haven Organization have created on the island, and also had the chance to do some team bonding and appreciate mother nature's beauty of their country.

LFBS Head of Operations, Morgan, and one of our Haitian staff traveled to Canada in April. While in Whitehorse, in Canada’s far northern territory of the Yukon, they met with supporters, spoke at Rotary Club meetings and schools and the videography team that will be producing a full feature documentary. Then on to Vancouver, British Columbia where Morgan was a key note speaker at Rose International Conference. The conference theme was Maintaining Compassion in a Fractured World. Morgan also led two breakout sessions focused on Cultural Competency and Sustainable Empowerment. Morgan was then key note speaker at Rotary District Conference in Michigan, where the organizers of that event noted that “We’ve never seen a speaker touch so many hearts as Morgan did today in all the years we have been attending conferences”.

A wonderful new partnership to assist with the nutritional needs has recently come from UBSuper Nutritonal products. These individual high protein and nutritionally supplemented packages are easy to transport and to use and can be distributed to our Outreach youth as well as used for our medical recovery support patients. We are excited about the difference this will make to the children and youth that we will be able to provide this to. Nutrition can make the difference not only between living and growing well, but also being able to learn well!

Sustainable nutrition is also the focus of our Agronomist as he works with families across the southwest villages. With crops once again growing following the devistation of Hurricane Matthew, we have been able to reintroduce livestock to our families there. We are so grateful for our committed staff who worked long hours over weekends to ensure families in the Grande Anse region received pairs of goats and the children had their school fees paid for the remainder of this school year! In April, we were thrilled to provide several reunited families in Pestel region with sheep. Once the animals have babies, the youth who received them will share their livestock with other families!

 Thank you to our supporters for making this possible! Whose lives will you touch and change through your support and care? Follow us on Facebook at 'Little Footprints, Big Steps' and on our website at www.littlefootprintsbigsteps.com. 

Medical Supplies arrive as well
Medical Supplies arrive as well
Reciting a poem at Haiti Flag Day celebrations
Reciting a poem at Haiti Flag Day celebrations
Staff team building <3
Staff team building <3
Inspiring high school students in Canada
Inspiring high school students in Canada
Delivering goats to rural families
Delivering goats to rural families

Links:

Feb 26, 2018

Dwelling on Movements Forward!

Pride in school work, joy in opportunity
Pride in school work, joy in opportunity

We continue focusing on what can be done and celebrating what has been accomplished; on empowering and building the capacity of a dedicated staff; on including affected individuals, families and communities in solutions; on collaborating deeply with local organizations; on persistently moving forward – one step at a time – and having the courage of conviction. Everything in the world that is accomplished starts with the decision to try. Your interest and support for Little Footprints Big Steps Child Protection Organization is in evidence daily as brave beginnings unfold.

Each Christmas our staff as well as the children in our Safehouses prepare and distribute kits with hygiene supplies and food to all of the patients in the pediatric ward of the general hospital. Not only does this help the patients, but it also empowers the Safehouse children to realize that they can help others.

To ensure options and access to all areas of health care and preventative education is available to the children and families living in the 22 communities across Haiti’s southwest, LFBS can rely on the teamwork and partnerships that we have forged over the past years. Recently we were happy to assist a local volunteer organization called COSOFH, to provide a mobile medical clinic to the rural community of Randell. It is inspiring to see locals volunteering their time to make a difference in other's lives. Collaboration is key to having the greatest impact possible!

Recently, our agronomist and nurse visited the family of a former restavec (slave) who passed through our Transitional Safehouse last year and was then reunited with her family by IBESR (local Haiti Social Services department). We are so grateful for our dynamic team, for our partnership with local authorities, for parents who take responsibility for their children, and your support ensuring these changes can continue!

Along with availability of nutritious foods, safe homes and health access, education is key to continuing to move forward. Excitement and pride in being able to participate in school and to progress in learning is evident with the hundreds of children and youth that you are ensuring have that opportunity. They are so proud and work so hard on their studies!

In our last Update we introduced you to Simond, who was reunited with his family in a remote village and started school for the first time. In January a group of youth we've worked with for several years (some former street boys and some children previously in orphanages) worked alongside our staff, helping carry construction supplies up a mountainside to the remote area that Simond’s family lives, and where we were able to build them a new HOME! The family participates in the preparation for the building, the building itself and the painting of their new home.

We were thrilled to have been able to be able to send an LFBS employee as well as an employee from Haitian Social Services (IBESR) to attend a critical international training in Maryland, USA  focused on Security Management in Disaster Response for Humanitarian Organizations.

Back in Haiti, youth leaders that LFBS works with have formed “Jeunes se Devlopman” or “Youth are Development”. Together with some of LFBS key staff, they have regular meetings discussing challenges, opportunities, morals, etc. Some will soon be undertaking construction training to be able to assist with home building and repairs.

Early February is Carnaval time in Haiti! LFBS, IBESR and other child protection actors in Les Cayes collaborated to send message to ensure lost or abused children receive help during the festivities. Thanks to One Hundred for Haiti Organization, we were able to do television broadcasts, have the use of a soundtruck, and create a special banner. This year’s Carnaval banner motto was "While we're dancing, let's protect the children/Pandan nap danse, Ann pwoteje timoun yo”.

What remarkable movements forward will the months ahead hold? Whose lives will you touch, change, save through your support and care? Find out in our next Update! You can also follow us on Facebook at Little Footprints Big Steps.

With gratitude for all that you mean to so many.

Distributing goods to pediatric ward patients
Distributing goods to pediatric ward patients
Practicing texting skills?! :-)
Practicing texting skills?! :-)
New homes - first homes for many!
New homes - first homes for many!
"Youth are Development" group
"Youth are Development" group
"While we are dancing, let's protect the children"
"While we are dancing, let's protect the children"

Links:

 
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