Students fill out applications RG's Headquarters
Recruiting New Students:
Thanks to our incredible donor support, REBUILD globally was able to expand the number of its Apprenticeship Program participants this year -- from twenty to thirty students. In July, eight of our students graduated high school and completed the program, leaving space for eighteen new applicants to join for the coming school year!
Our Education Program Manager worked tirelessly to recruit the most vulnerable and most qualified students for the program. He received applications from more than sixty students, and among them, he selected thirteen young women, and five young men.
Below are a few quotes from the applications of the selected students:
Wenson (9th Grade): "Education has been the greatest gift that my mother has been able to give me. It is one of the most important elements of life."
Wismie (8th Grade): "If I were President of Haiti, on my first day, I would start making more schools and more hospitals. I would provide more electricity, and I would clean the streets."
Maika (8th Grade): "I believe that education is the first need of the people. I believe that education is like food. When a person nourishes themselves with education, tomorrow will change for the advancement of my country."
In order to accommodate the expansion of the Apprenticeship Program, REBUILD globally offered our Education Program Manager, Djemson, a salaried position. Last year, Djemson served as a part-time staff member, but now he will be able to dedicate himself to the program full-time. He is currently working on hiring additional tutors and support staff for the program.
Commitment to the Most Vulnerable:
Beyond the formal Apprenticeship Program, in the 2015-2016 school year, REBUILD globally will continue to finance the education of four young men forced to work in the streets due to their extreme vulnerability. Jameson, Gitson, Givenson, and Elton have each been granted a financial scholarship that will cover their school fees, books and uniforms. Our leadership team is confident that school will serve as a form of discipline for these young men; an escape from their stressful daily routines, and a pathway out of their dangerous lifestyles.
A Vision Becomes Reality:
Since its inception, the mission and vision of the Apprenticeship Program has been to provide employment opportunities for its students upon their graduation. In order to make this vision possible, sustainable, and duplicable, our team was tasked with implementing a training curriculum that would allow our graduates the opportunity to transform from pupils to professionals. Celebrating the graduation of eight students in 2015 was one of REBUILD globally’s proudest moments to date. The pressure was on, however, for our leadership to provide these students all of the tools necessary to become successful members of our sandal-making team at Deux Mains Designs.
The commencement of this training was an opportunity to prove that our unique model that blends traditional business with development was all that we dreamed it could be. The training began on September 1, and has been a tremendous success thus far. Our Haitian Management Team – the shareholders of Deux Mains Designs -- have worked together to create and implement this training.
Jean Robert, our Quality Control Manager, has spear-headed this effort by teaching the apprentices all of the intricate processes involved in making Deux Mains sandals, and ensuring that each and every one of them has the skills necessary to create beautiful sandals of the utmost quality.
Jolina, our Workshop Supervisor, has dedicated herself to teaching the students about respect in the workplace, and how cooperation and commitment to ones’ craft are the ultimate ingredients for success.
Finally, Brunel, our Haiti Liaison Officer, has held seminars throughout the trainings to provide the students with a blue-print for personal financial success. Topics included how to budget your money, how to avoid overspending, best-practices for savings, and how to open a bank account.
On Tuesday, September 15, the students received their first paycheck for their training compensation. Each student is being paid well over the local minimum wage for their participation in the training. When asked what they would use the money for, they all collectively agreed that they would use their income to enroll in University preparation courses. All of the students are reassured in the knowledge that, if accepted into University, they will be able to pay tuition through a part-time job at Deux Mains Designs.
In an informal Management Team Meeting, Jean Robert reported to his fellow shareholders, Brunel and Jolina, on the perspective he has gained from working with the trainees for five hours every day: "I am so impressed by their intelligence," he raved. "They are so respectful and so eager to learn. I know they will make a really great addition to our team at Deux Mains. REBUILD globally’s Apprenticeship Program has been preparing them for this for the last few years, and it shows."
Closing Remarks from REBUILD globally’s Country Director:
It has been a transformative experience to watch our Haitian Management Team step so seamlessly into such profound roles of leadership to work with the former Apprenticeship Program Students as they transition into Deux Mains Employees. I am filled with gratitude and pride that everything our Founder, Julie Colombino, set out to accomplish with the incorporation of a scholarship and training program is coming to fruition. In all of the time I have spent in this beautiful complicated country, I have never seen anything like what is happening right now at REBUILD globally and Deux Mains Designs. It is revolutionary. It is world-changing.
Someone once told me that the one wish they had for Haiti was that it would be "normal." What would it look like if life was a little easier for everyone? If jobs weren’t as difficult to come by? If people could successfully take care of themselves and their families without support from charitable aid? Indeed, how refreshing it would be for the population of Haiti to wake up each morning to the resounding comfort of "normalcy"
Thanks to our donors, this is what is happening with the collaboration between REBUILD globally and Deux Mains Designs. We are creating "normalcy." We are breaking the cycle of generational poverty. These young people will look back on their youth and their young professional lives very differently than their parents do. They will look back and think about how they graduated high school, paid for their own college by working part time, or held a full-time job to start financially preparing for adulthood.
In the past, most of our staff members at Deux Mains Designs knew the pang of fear that they wouldn’t be able to provide food for their families, or send their children to school. Fortunately, they now have a job that ensures they will never have to experience those fears again; but the memory of those days will never leave them. These young people, however, will never have those painful memories. They will come into adulthood with freedom from poverty and insecurity’s powerful grip.
At 62, Mami Anne is the eldest member of our staff. As the trainees filed into the office to collect their first paychecks this week, she said to each of them: "I wish I had started working with Deux Mains when I was your age," she said. "My life would have turned out much differently. I would be a different woman today. You are blessed in your youth, and in this opportunity."
Djemson and a new student, Antoinette
Brunel teaches students financial best practices
Levy works diligently on the daily assignment
Deux Mains Shareholders: Training Faciliators
Jean Robert conducts daily training