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