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Nov 27, 2017

Knowledge + Skill + Confidence = Potential

Ready for the first day of school. EVER.
Ready for the first day of school. EVER.

October 4 marked the first anniversary of the catastrophic Hurricane Matthew that devastated Haiti's southern peninsula. Students – who had just returned to school – lost everything connected to their education: books, uniforms, shoes, and even school buildings. This year, we were able to register even MORE children and youth in school – many for the first time ever! Simond's family lives in a village in the remote countryside, only accessible for our staff by motorcycle. We met his family in July. Simond, 8 years old, bright and enthusiastic, had not thought of school being an option for him. Yet, here is his, going to school proudly in his uniform, backpack over his shoulders with his school books and supplies! 

School books arrive to LFBS office. Our staff are putting LFBS stamps on them, ensuring children and families understand that we are lending them the books and they must return the next year. If they don't return them they will not be lent new books again. Responsibility is part of the education too and responsible expenditures are a key part of LFBS operations. Tutoring continues at our Transitional Safehouses providing encouragement for those new to school. Our Tutor is a University student and his wages help him with those expenses. Win-win-win! 

We recently had a young woman graduate as a school teacher! This was one of the youth who was in the horrific orphanage our Head of Haiti Operations lived in during 2011, and was instrumental in having shut down. How amazing to see this young woman become a teacher! The possibilities are real. 

Our Staff are also continuously increasing their knowledge and expertise. A partner organization, Lumos, hosted a training, “Reinforcing the Resilience of Adolescents and their Families”. One of LFBS senior staff attended the training in Port au Prince, and he then duplicated the training for the rest of our team in Les Cayes. We’ve been applying some of the tools learned through this training in meetings with the children and youth as well. How incredibly applicable this is to our work and lives - we are surrounded by remarkable resilience. 

LFBS Head of Haiti Operations, Morgan, was a presenter/participant at the Family Preservation Symposium held in Port au Prince in September. Her presentation focused on: “It's not just about orphanage transition but about investing in families.” Morgan and two staff members also attended Ansanm Pou Ayiti (Non-Profit and NGO Summit "The Effectiveness of Aid") in Port au Prince, October 19 to 21. This event was opened by the Prime Minister of Haiti. What a wonderful, much-needed event discussing innovative solutions to more effective methods of supporting Haitians, and bringing government officials into an open discussion with NGOs. INTERESTING POINT: of all NGOs working in Haiti, only 4% are in regions outside of Port au Prince (where there is tremendous development need, and where LFBS work is focused).

Building a local knowledge base and capacity in rural communities is critical to true change. Our staff once again coordinated and participated in community training offerings in rural regions of Randell and Tiburon to raise awareness about the Rights of the Child and to engage local people in basic ideas, discussion, and how to take action to prevent violence and sexual assault. Every one of these targeted training sessions we have provided this year has resulted in communities setting up their own systems for follow-up and community self-monitoring. Our partners with Haiti's IBESR (Social Services) and the Working Group for Child Protection (GTPE) assist with facilitation, and One Hundred for Haiti provided funds to make it happen.

When possible, we have continued to rebuild houses of families in remote communities. SO many lost their homes during Hurricane Matthew. The families are completely involved in preparing the base and assisting with construction. Some home locations are far up rural mountain areas, requiring all of the building supplies and tools to be carried up steep, rocky trails! 

LFBS Medical team continue to provide medical care to those who would not otherwise be able to access it. We have our own pharmacy and the team travels and sets up Medical Outreach Clinics in various communities. Just days ago, in the impoverished community of Renaud, the three doctors saw over 90 children during the two day clinic!

Just a glimpse into all that is going on! Our 2016/17 Annual Report will be available on our website soon. 

Thank you for supporting us and making this possible!

Staff sorting and stamping school books
Staff sorting and stamping school books
From corrupt orphanage...to School Teacher!
From corrupt orphanage...to School Teacher!
LFBS staff discussing situations and plans
LFBS staff discussing situations and plans
Community Training. Child Rights. Prevent Violence
Community Training. Child Rights. Prevent Violence
LFBS Medical Outreach Clinic
LFBS Medical Outreach Clinic

Links:

Aug 31, 2017

Summer of Growth - on the Land and in the People!

Apprenticeship begins at solar energy company
Apprenticeship begins at solar energy company

Throughout the summer months, your generosity and care enabled the nurturing of body, mind, spirit and the land to recover and revitalize. Here is an update on just some of the activity highlights. They are a joy to capture and share…especially as we head into the overwhelming busy-ness of the fall school year and harvest time!

A new life chapter began for two of our youth, both rescued by LFBS 5 years ago. They have begun an apprenticeship with a solar energy company based in Haiti’s north.  They will be boarding in the town where the manufacturing takes place and will also be continuing with theirregular schooling at the same time! Other youth training pursuits include IT and computer courses, applying to nursing school, teaching and hospitality!

We renewed our small business start-up program, working with several women to mentor them as they develop a source of income generation with which to better care for their children. We started with these parents sharing their experiences followed by training and preparing for the next steps. Along with these women, we have  numerous other parents with new business start-ups underway following the destruction of Hurricane Matthew last October. The parents are working toward healthy self-sufficency while including and settig an example for their children. 

Throughout the rural communities across the southern peninsula, our team continues to build homes, provide medical care, as well as agriculture supplies and support from our Agronomist. Lives and livelihoods rebuilding. Families together and strengthening. In the month of August alone, we collaborated with the local Haitian Social Services (IBESR) to hold 6 Medical Outreach Clinics. Through the dedication of our staff, your donations and our relationship with local Maxima Housing, we were able to build still more homes in remote villages. Our Community Training Campaign for Violence Prevention, supported by 100 for Haiti Organization, resumed. With 15 facilitators, including some of our staff and colleagues in the Southern Working Group, traveling to 13 schools in rural community locations – we reached over 3000 students and 210 community leaders! This not only resulted in key messages and teachings being provided to girls, boys, men and women, but also the establishment of a local Protection Committee in each community! With the new school year about to begin - our team has also been busy purchasing and delivering backpacks and school supplies to the children in our programs who live with their families in the rural communities. 

In Les Cayes, we held our 4th annual Street Child Consultation session, meeting with all the street kids in town - which has been reduced to only 18 kids - from 150 the first year we hosted this initiative. Through your support, we are making such huge impacts in so many areas! Many of those 18 are now motivated to return home. AND, two former street boys had the confidence and leadership to stand in front of them all and explain how their lives have changed. One actually pulled out a book, read a poem and explained how each line in the poem related to the street kids' lives! We had three psychologists from three different institutions observing the kids' drawings and interacting with the youth. Police joined us and spoke with the youth as well. What an amazing day.

 

This summer we started working with new local partner, COSOFH, a group of 30 local volunteers (psychologists, social workers, doctors etc) who provide family counselling and therapy. They assist us with our families and children and join our team to deliver both Outreach counselling sessions in remote communities and medical consultations for street youth. We also provided support for a seminar they led for local youth, targeted at motivating them to be agents of change and to discuss subjects such as responsible sexuality and leadership. It was wonderful to have many of the former street children we work with participate! To celebrate Haitian Father's Day, LFBS provided assistance and support to COSOFH to host a Father's Day party in a vulnerable community - acknowledging and raising awareness about the importance of a father's role in his family.

LFBS staff incorporated tremendous learning into their summer as well! Morgan, the Co-founder and Head of Haiti Operations, attended Haiti's first National Anti-Trafficking Conference. An important inclusion in the Conference was the recognition that orphanage systems are a common method of child trafficking, and protection of children separated from their families was identified as a key preventative measure. That's what we do! One of our significant partners, LUMOS Organization, has discovered that $100 million USD are funnelled into orphanages in Haiti annually, making for-profit orphanages an appealing business. Imagine the immense difference it would make if those funds were invested in community development and keeping families together!

Some of our staff attended a Trauma Resilience for Caregivers workshop, providing them with tools to keep themselves well as they help others, and networking opportunities with others working in the field. Two of our Social Workers attended a seminar focused on techniques for leading with compassion. Rebecca, a Registered Nurse from Australia, volunteered with us for several months and included both specialized training with our staff nurse as well as training on dehydration in children, newborn care and disaster preparedness for all of our staff. The past Director of Social Services provided all of LFBS staff with a crucial training seminar focused on child protection policies and technical aspects. Additionally, staff based in Les Cayes had the opportunity to join in on summer English lessons. A number of our youth leaders were included in the training sessions increasing their awareness and ability as well. We are proud of our dedicated staff team as they continue to become stronger, more effective and skilled with each passing day!

Continued motion forward. New chances for big steps toward dignity and a self-sufficient future. Thanks to you. 

Please share this update of the work and progress that you are a part of making happen.

With much gratitude from all of us at Little Footprints Big Steps Child Protection Organization.

Agriculture supplies and lessons continue
Agriculture supplies and lessons continue
Home-building replacing makeshift shelters
Home-building replacing makeshift shelters
Former street youth presenting at public session!
Former street youth presenting at public session!
Leadership seminar for youth
Leadership seminar for youth
Training on infant measure and weighing
Training on infant measure and weighing

Links:

Aug 30, 2017

Summer of Growth - on the Land and in the People!

First ever - Haiti Police Summer Camp!
First ever - Haiti Police Summer Camp!

Throughout the summer months, your generosity and care enabled the nurturing of body, mind, spirit and the land to recover and revitalize. Here is an update on just some of the activity highlights. They are a joy to capture and share…especially as we head into the overwhelming busy-ness of the fall school year and harvest time!

Little Footprints Big Steps was a key collaborator supporting the local Haiti Police in their first ever summer camp for children! This initiative hoped to shift communities' perception of the police as protectors instead of being afraid of them. This is so important - during our Community Outreach Trainings for Violence Prevention, we found that many victims are reluctant to report serious incidents. Some of the former street children we work with participated in this summer camp, receiving civil education but also doing sports and dance! Other summer camps included music schooling that culminated in a wonderful concert performance.

Throughout the rural communities across the southern peninsula, our team continues to build homes, provide medical care, as well as agriculture supplies and support from our Agronomist. Lives and livelihoods rebuilding. Families together and strengthening. In the month of August alone, we collaborated with the local Haitian Social Services (IBESR) to hold 6 Medical Outreach Clinics. Through the dedication of our staff, your donations and our relationship with local Maxima Housing, we were able to build still more homes in remote villages. Our Community Training Campaign for Violence Prevention, supported by 100 for Haiti Organization, resumed. With 15 facilitators, including some of our staff and colleagues in the Southern Working Group, traveling to 13 schools in rural community locations – we reached over 3000 students and 210 community leaders! This not only resulted in key messages and teachings being provided to girls, boys, men and women, but also the establishment of a local Protection Committee in each community! With the new school year about to begin - our team has also been busy purchasing and delivering backpacks and school supplies to the children in our programs who live with their families in the rural communities. Your continued support to ensure the school year can be a reality for these children is so greatly appreciated.

In Les Cayes, we held our 4th annual Street Child Consultation session, meeting with all the street kids in town - which has been reduced to only 18 kids - from 150 the first year we hosted this initiative. Through your support, we are making huge impacts in so many areas! Many of those 18 are now motivated to return home. AND, two former street boys had the confidence and leadership to stand in front of them all and explain how their lives have changed. One actually pulled out a book, read a poem and explained how each line in the poem related to the street kids' lives! We had three psychologists from three different institutions observing the kids' drawings and interacting with the youth. Police joined us and spoke with the youth as well. What an amazing day. 

LFBS’ consistent assistance and collaboration with local Haitian authorities resulted in the closing of another corrupt orphanage this summer, and the reunification of the children and their families; our leadership and participation in the Child Protection Committee; and being called upon to temporarily receive children-at-risk in our Safehouse when they would otherwise have to stay in prison holding rooms.

This summer we started working with new local partner, COSOFH, a group of 30 local volunteers (psychologists, social workers, doctors etc) who provide family counselling and therapy. They assist us with our families and children and join our team to deliver both Outreach counselling sessions in remote communities and medical consultations for street youth. We also provided support for a seminar they led for local yout, targeted at motivating them to be agents of change and to discuss subjects such as responsible sexuality and leadership. It was wonderful to have many of the former street children we work with participate! To celebrate Haitian Father's Day, LFBS provided assistance and support to COSOFH to host a Father's Day party in a vulnerable community - acknowledging and raising awareness about the importance of a father's role in his family.

LFBS staff incorporated tremendous learning into their summer as well! Morgan, the Co-founder and Head of Haiti Operations, attended Haiti's first National Anti-Trafficking Conference. An important inclusion in the Conference was the recognition that orphanage systems are a common method of child trafficking, and protection of children separated from their families was identified as a key preventative measure. That's what we do! One of our partners, LUMOS Organization, has discovered that $100 million USD are funnelled into orphanages in Haiti annually, making for-profit orphanages an appealing business. Imagine the immense difference it would make if those funds were invested in community development and keeping families together!

Some of our staff attended a Trauma Resilience for Caregivers workshop, providing them with tools to keep themselves well as they help others, and networking opportunities with others working in the field. Two of our Social Workers attended a seminar focused on techniques for leading with compassion. Rebecca, a Registered Nurse from Australia, volunteered with us for several months and included both specialized training with our staff nurse as well as training on dehydration in children, newborn care and disaster preparedness for all of our staff. The past Director of Social Services provided all of LFBS staff with a crucial training seminar focused on child protection policies and technical aspects. Additionally, staff based in Les Cayes had the opportunity to join in on summer English lessons. We are proud of our dedicated staff team as they continue to become stronger, more effective and skilled with each passing day. 

And now another school year is about to begin. An exciting time for so many. School tuition; school supplies; uniforms; shoes, socks and undies; transportation costs for some. A new chance for big steps forward. Thanks to you.

Please share this update of the work and progress that you are a part of making happen. 

With much gratitude from all of us at Little Footprints Big Steps Child Protection Organization. 

A family's makeshift shelter after the hurricane
A family's makeshift shelter after the hurricane
And NOW....in front of their HOME!
And NOW....in front of their HOME!
Former street youth presenting at public session!
Former street youth presenting at public session!
Youth Leadership seminar underway
Youth Leadership seminar underway
School supply distribution has begun!
School supply distribution has begun!

Links:

 
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