Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children

by Beyond Borders
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Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Schools Not Slavery for Rural Haitian Children
Children are back in school and safe from COVID.
Children are back in school and safe from COVID.

Students are Back in the Classroom and Protected from COVID -- Thanks to You

I am so grateful for your generous gift to the Schools Not Slavery initiative. Thanks to you, students at 18 schools on Lagonav Island are back in their classrooms, wearing masks and practicing social distancing and good hygiene. 

And -- also thanks to you -- their teachers resumed their training in nonviolent, native language, participatory classroom management techniques too. It's an approach that is transforming education at these schools, encouraging creativity, curiosity, critical thinking and leadership in girls and boys.

A Teacher Shares How The Training You Support Made Him a Better Educator

One of the best ways to communicate the kind of impact that you are making in the lives of students and their teachers is for you to hear directly from those who benefit from your generosity.

Leonald, a third grade teacher on Lagonav Island, shares how the teacher training that you are making possible is changing how he and his fellow teachers manage their classrooms.

“The work [you] did to develop me as a teacher is extraordinary. I have so many more techniques to use when I’m working with the children. I feel like I don’t have to struggle as hard with my students. Through our school's participation in the teacher training program, I found that my students both learned better and more quickly. I didn't have any students who struggled to read.”

Your Generosity Supports an Approach to Classroom Management that Encourages Creativity, Curiosity, and Democracy

Traditional schools in Haiti perpetuate an authoritarian model of leadership. Curiosity is discouraged, and students are forced to memorize long passages in French, a language that almost no one in the community, including teachers, can actually speak.

Visit Leonald's school -- or any of the schools in Beyond Borders' Schools Not Slavery Network -- and you’ll immediately see the difference that your generosity is making.

Vibrant, active students are interacting and becoming literate in their native language first, with French and English introduced as second languages. Questioning and curiosity are encouraged, democratic decision-making is promoted, and what students learn in the classroom and in a school garden is put to immediate use for the benefit of the community.

Thanks to supporters like you, since 2014, teachers at more than 50 schools on Lagonav Island have been trained in this kind of innovative approach to quality education.

You Make it Possible to Expand the Movement to Guarantee Universal Quality Education

Your generosity is also making it possible to advance another of Beyond Borders’ educational priorities for this fiscal year -- to continue working with local representatives of the Ministry of Education and local educators to develop a new strategy to build and strengthen the movement to ensure access to quality primary education for all children on Lagonav.

One of the ways we’ve committed to this is by adding a new staff member -- thanks to your support -- who will focus on this movement-building effort. Amos, a resident of Lagonav with a double degree from the Haitian State University in Philosophy and Psychology, and other notable educational certificates, is joining Beyond Borders as our Education Officer.

For eight years Amos served as the Pedagogical Director at a local school on Lagonav and as a volunteer philosophy teacher at a public high school there too. Additionally, Amos spent five years with a non-profit working on education on Lagonav. Amos began working with the Beyond Borders team in mid-October.

The focus of this role will be to drive education network-building on Lagonav Island; coordinate advocacy efforts across Communal Sections; represent Beyond Borders at national and regional education advocacy platforms; and, link emerging Lagonav-based networks with national advocacy efforts.

Welcome Amos, and thanks again to you and all of our supporters who made it possible to expand this education work and create the post of Education Officer!

Building the Movement to End Child Slavery Continues -- Thanks to You

With new COVID protocols in place to protect community members and the Beyond Borders’ team, the work to build the movement to end child slavery continues -- thanks to your generous support.

On Lagonav Island, the team continues the social mapping process with communities, helping grassroots and local elected leaders to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and their community-wide priorities, including identifying families most at-risk of sending a child away.

Work with newly created and existing Child Protection Brigades in communities continues, as does work with law enforcement and judicial authorities around specific cases of child slavery (restavèk).

The anti-child slavery Zero Restavèk Campaign continues too, as do targeted children’s rights trainings conducted by partners with local authorities. The team is continuing to collaborate with government authorities and with branches of the Adult Survivor Network as they multiple throughout the country. Work with the Abolish the Restavèk System (Aba Sistèm Restavèk) Network also continues.

Your Generosity Makes New Partnerships & Networking with Key Policy Makers and Allies Possible

Beyond Borders is a formal member of the Working Group on Human Trafficking, and now has direct access to the President of the National Committee Against Human Trafficking. 

Coordination and planning with Committee and Working Group members has advanced (especially with the Lumos Foundation) specifically around direct intervention in cases of child abuse and slavery (restavèk). Both the National Committee and Lumos have pledge to support Beyond Borders’ Child Liberation Initiative -- launched in 2019 with support from people like you.

Beyond Borders will coordinate interventions in communities to identify and document cases requiring intervention, coordinating with the Haitian National Police. Lumos runs a transitional shelter for children and has agreed to receive children who are victims of abuse and/or restavèk while the search for their parents and/or placement in a temporary Welcoming Family (similar to a foster family in the U.S.) can be arranged.

Intervening in and Seeking Prosecution of Cases of Abuse/Restavèk with Your Support

Liberating children from child slavery through direct intervention, and holding those accountable for exploitation and abuse continues to be a priority for the Beyond Borders’ team in Port-au-Prince, in collaboration with the Survivor of Restavèk Network (SRN) and thanks to your generous support.

Earlier in 2020, 160 children potentially living in abusive and/or exploitative situations were identified in eight Port-au-Prince neighborhoods. Since July 1, the Beyond Borders team, working with the SRN has been documenting the cases in order to identify priority cases for intervention. To date, 121 of the 160 cases are in different stages of documentation.

After a long and complicated process, formal complaints have finally been filed in the courts in the cases of two young girls who had been living in situations of restavèk. This was made possible through the partnership Beyond Borders established with the International Office of Lawyers (BAI) in Haiti -- and thanks to your support too.

New Child Rights Education Dialogue Groups Launched -- Thanks to You

Haiti Partners -- a longtime Beyond Borders partners -- launched six community dialogue groups using the Education is a Conversation (ESK) Child Rights methodology that supporters like you made possible. Fifty-seven people in three new communities are participating in these groups with six facilitators that have been trained in ESK facilitation.

Your Generosity is Strengthening the Adult Survivor Network

At the beginning of September, 40 representatives of the eight Port-au-Prince Survivor of Restavèk Network (SRN) branches held a General Assembly meeting (applying Covid-19 protocols) to adopt the statutes of their network; assess the work of the former leadership team; and, elect new leaders. Nine members (including five women) were elected for a two-year term.

SRNs continue to gain visibility and validation in the communities in which they operate, thanks to your generous support. The presence, mobilization, awareness-raising and interventions of SRN members, is changing social norms, knowledge, beliefs and practices around violence against children and the practice of restavèk in communities.

How Adult Survivor Networks Help Community Members Protect Abused and Enslaved Children

An example of this is another instance in which community members in one neighborhood noticed a young girl with several open sores and marks on her body when she was in the market. They began talking with her and determined that something was going on at home.

The community members took a video of the girl, identified where she was living, and went to share the information with one of the SRN members (who they knew was someone they could turn to in their neighborhood when they suspected a child was being abused).

The SRN set into motion the process to follow up -- sharing the information with Beyond Borders (who in turn informed the National Committee), and connected with the Child Protection Brigade of the Haitian National Police, which Beyond Borders has established a working relationship for such cases.

Thank You Again

I am grateful for all the good work that you are making possible through your support for the Schools Not Slavery initiative. Thank you again for your extraordinary generosity and solidarity. All of us at Beyond Borders continue to send our best wishes for the health and well-being of you and your loved ones during these uncertain times. If you have any questions about what you read in this report, please call or write me anytime at (305) 450-2561 or b.stevens@beyondborders.net.

You make the work of Adult Survivors possible!
You make the work of Adult Survivors possible!
A pre-pandemic community social mapping exercise.
A pre-pandemic community social mapping exercise.
A pre-pandemic photo of a classroom transformed.
A pre-pandemic photo of a classroom transformed.
A 2019 meeting about child protection with police.
A 2019 meeting about child protection with police.
All students must wear a mask while at school.
All students must wear a mask while at school.

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A member of the Adult Survivor Network sews masks.
A member of the Adult Survivor Network sews masks.

More Girls and Boys are Growing Up Free from Slavery and Abuse, at Home, and Protected from COVID -- Thanks to You

Thank you again for your generosity and your solidarity with the people of Haiti. Your generous support means that more girls and boys in Haiti are growing up free and safe, at home with their families, in communities that are committed to protecting and educating them. Thank you!

Right now in Haiti, your support for the Schools Not Slavery initiative is building local leadership to protect and educate children and to prevent COVID-19 too.

Before I share with you the latest update on the work that you are making possible through your support for Schools Not Slavery, I want to share with you a message from our Executive Director David Diggs about the actions that we are taking -- thanks to supporters like you -- to help families and communities in Haiti protect themselves from COVID-19.

A COVID-19 Update from Executive Director David Diggs

Thanks to an outpouring of support from so many generous souls, some of the most vulnerable populations in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and on Lagonav Island now have masks, hygiene kits, family garden kits, emergency cash assistance, and the accurate information they need to protect themselves from COVID-19.

We’ve distributed 2,400 hygiene kits, 10,000 masks handsewn by members of Beyond Borders’ Adult Survivors of Child Slavery Network, and purchased an additional quantity of hospital-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) for people working on the front lines.

Health clinics and the hospital on Lagonav got more than 1,250 gallons of disinfectant, while 220 families on the island received family garden kits and 110 received emergency cash assistance to fight off hunger too.

The generosity of supporters like you has also made it possible to get life-saving virus-prevention information out to some of the most vulnerable populations via our Community Megaphone Campaign, so that families can stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves and their neighbors from this deadly virus.

The campaign is up and running in urban and rural communities across Haiti, and is led by a team with more than a decade of experience in public education and mass communication.

These brave women and men -- members of the Adult Survivors of Child Slavery Network, Child Protection Brigades, and Community Activists working to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls -- are using their expertise to get critical virus-prevention information out to families and communities who might otherwise go without it.

And because domestic violence often spikes in times of crisis, these teams are sharing child protection and preventing violence against women and girls messaging too.

I thought you might like to see some of the work that is part of this emergency response. The photo above is of a volunteer -- one of more than 30 who sewed masks -- at her sewing machine on Lagonav Island.

These volunteers made the 10,000 masks we distributed as part of Beyond Borders’ COVID-19 Emergency Response.

Planning is now underway to address escalating hunger fueled by skyrocketing prices and an ongoing drought. Beyond Borders teams are working with grassroots leaders and local elected officials to develop community-based responses so that no family goes hungry and every household has what they need to keep the virus at bay. I hope to share more with you soon about what’s next.

It’s hard to find good news right now, but this outpouring of generosity to fight COVID-19 in Haiti gives me reason to hope, and I hope it does the same for you too.

With deep gratitude,

David

Building the Capacity of Local Elected Officials and Grassroots Leaders to Protect Children

We know that children who are able to go to school are much less likely to be sent away to live with others and risk becoming enslaved. Thanks to your support, Beyond Borders’ Child Rights team expanded efforts to engage local government and grassroots leaders in six communal sections on Lagonav Island to end the practice of sending children away and to ensure every girl and boy in their community grows up free from abuse and neglect.

Efforts this quarter focused on building relationships with representatives of local governments and facilitating collaboration between the established Beyond Borders Child Rights Activist Network and local government.

The goal is to cultivate joint plans to reduce the practice of child slavery and expand awareness-raising and child rights activist training to communities on Lagonav Island that we’ve not yet reached.

Relationship-building and efforts to cultivate the engagement of local government across these six communal sections has taken longer than plans called for, however, there have been very positive outcomes with respect to local government’s engagement to combat the practice of child slavery.

One of these positive outcomes is a new Protocol for the Prevention of Child Trafficking -- made possible because of your investment in this movement-building work.

During a two-day workshop, Beyond Borders colleagues like Freda Catheus, who leads our work on Lagonav Island, drew from their experience working closely with Child Rights Activists in our Child Protection Brigades and Adult Survivors of Child Slavery Network, to draft the protocol with the mayor of Lagonav Island's largest community, Ansagale, his cabinet, and elected officials from five other communities.

The protocol enacts protections to ensure that no child is trafficked from the island to the mainland, and it will be enforced collectively by local officials and Child Rights Activists trained by Beyond Borders -- with your support -- to recognize and intervene in cases of child slavery.

Your generosity is making this kind of movement-building work possible -- organizing local elected officials and Child Rights Activists to protect every girl and boy from slavery and abuse.

Supporting Child Rights Activists in 16 Lagonav Island Communities

You’ve also made it possible for Beyond Borders’ staff to continue to provide targeted support to existing Child Protection Brigades (CPBs) and chapters of the Survivors of Restavèk (Child Slavery) Network (SRN) as they conduct important activism to build the movement to end child slavery on Lagonav Island.

Here’s a look at some of the cases in which your support has empowered CPBs, SRN members, and members of Beyond Borders’ SASA! Activism Network to prevent violence against women and girls to intervene to protect vulnerable children:

Location: Nan Kafe

Local Structures: CPB, SRN group, and SASA! activism network

Child’s Age, Gender: 12 years, female

Incident: Child living with a family (possibly in a domestic slavery situation) was being abused; community members intervened and brought the case to Nan Kafe CPB and SRN groups.

Intervention: CPB and SRN members conducted home visit to speak with abuser. They requested she change her treatment of the girl or return her to her parents. The woman agreed to change how she treats the girl. The child has remained in the family under close observation of CPB and SRN members.

Location: Fonnèg

Local Structures: CPB, SRN group, and SASA! activism network

Child’s Age, Gender: 16 years, female

Incident: An adolescent girl was raped by an adult male and impregnated.

Intervention: The CPB, SRN, and SASA! Activists collaborated to support the mother to pursue legal action for the arrest of the rapist, who is still in hiding; also, they accompanied the family to access medical care for the girl.

Location: Grann Sous

Local Structures: CPB

Child’s Age, Gender: 8 years, male

Incident: The child was not enrolled in school.

Intervention: CPB members collaborated to purchase school supplies and pooled finances to pay tuition; this is one example of 104 children (63 girls) who were supported in this way.

Location: Masikren

Local Structures: CPB and Activism network

Child’s Age, Gender: 14 years, female

Incident: This orphaned child living with disabilities was being abused by the family with whom she lives (not her biological family)

Intervention: Neighbors reported this situation to the CPB and Activism Network; a delegation was formed to visit the household to talk with the girls’ guardians. Activists challenged the parent to improve their treatment of the child, and it was agreed. The parent has begun changing, and the CPB and Activists continue to provide close accountability.

And here’s a look at some of the other quarterly goals and supporting activities to build the movement to end child slavery that your generous support made possible:

Goal: Local elected leaders identify child slavery as a priority issue and lead efforts to eradicate this practice in coordination with civil society.

  • Meetings were held with local government and a draft accord written that outlines collaboration between Beyond Borders and local government on the four objectives of the Model Community Initiatve: ending child slavery, guaranteeing universal quality primary education, preventing violence against women and girls, and ensuring every family can earn a dignified living.
  • Social mapping exercises were completed in five of six communal sections; data is being treated and shared with local government and community members; meetings will be facilitated with communities and government representatives to analyze child welfare results.
  • Twelve planning meetings were held with local governments to discuss child rights.
  • Seven meetings were held to encourage functional linkages between Child Protection Brigades (CPBs), Survivors of Restavèk (Child Slavery) Network (SRN) chapters, local government, and local residents to strengthen collaboration on promoting children’s rights.
  • Local government leaders have not yet reached the stage of recruiting child protection community mobilization teams; this is on hold at the moment due to COVID-19 restrictions on meetings.

Goal: Population in the six communal sections acquire new knowledge and change attitudes and practices toward child maltreatment and the system of enslaving children in domestic servitude (restavèk).

  • Child Rights Training facilitator and supervisor candidates were selected but have not yet been trained to conduct child rights training in new communal sections under the leadership of local government; this will take place after social mapping results are analyzed and priorities are identified for each district (stalled by COVID-19).
  • Awareness-raising activities were held to promote the SRN in three of 16 communities, reaching 99 people (69 women).
  • The SRN conducted an outreach gathering in Nan Sema to organize adult survivors of child slavery for participation in the SRN; 36 adult survivors (24 women) joined this new SRN group in Nan Sema.
  • SRN groups and CPBs have not yet been established in new communal sections; after they are, they will be supported to conduct activities like the Zero Restavèk (No Child Enslaved) campaigns and community meetings to recruit new members to the SRN.
  • Once child rights training takes place in new intervention regions, new CPBs and SRN groups will be created under the leadership of local government officials.
  • Forty-one teachers and principals were trained as Child Rights facilitators in schools participating in the teacher training program.

Goal: Local communities have strengthened child protection systems.

  • A series of meetings were held, and a draft protocol was developed in collaboration with local governments for tracking internal and external movement of children in the Ansagalè municipality (Lagonav Island’s largest city).
  • Twelve CPB and SRN members (3 women) were trained to use the reintegration checklist to monitor the reintegration of children who have returned home from domestic slavery situations.
  • One hundred four children (63 girls) in four of the original 16 communities received material and financial support from local CPBs to attend school.
  • Fourteen exchange meetings were held with 194 (90 women) CPB members, SRN members, and Child Rights Activists.
  • Five CPBs were evaluated to assess their maturity and capacity to lead their communities to resist child slavery.
  • Nineteen CPB members from two communities were trained in organizational leadership.
  • CPBs convened general assemblies of 195 Child Rights Activists (101 women) in 13 of 16 communities where we work.

You are Building the Movement to Guarantee Universal Quality Primary Education for Every Girl and Boy

Thanks to you -- and despite the severe challenges schools in Haiti faced this year in the wake of COVID-19 -- Beyond Borders and our partner organization, the Matènwa Community Learning Center (MCLC), engaged 23 schools in teacher training and advocacy activities designed to improve both the quality of and access to education on Lagonav Island.

Altogether, more than 110 teachers and principals participated in 10 days of workshops prior to the pandemic. Within the 23 schools participating in the Schools Not Slavery Network, 1,576 students (703 girls) benefitted from improvements made as teachers applied new participatory teaching methods and nonviolent classroom management techniques with their students.

Additionally, five advocacy events were held at which school personnel, students, and parents gathered with government education inspectors to discuss the importance of Haitian Creole as the language of instruction. Past studies have shown that students who learn in Haitian Creole -- instead of French, a language rarely spoken at home -- have reading scores that are nearly three times higher than the national average.

Here’s a look at some of the quarterly goals and supporting activities to build the movement to guarantee universal quality primary education that your generous support made possible:

Goal: Local elected officials prioritize access to education and lead local efforts to ensure education for all children.

  • Meetings were held in six communal sections, convening a total of 157 education stakeholders – local school personnel, community leaders, and local government – to begin establishing local structures that will lead efforts to ensure education access and quality; the organizations and individuals present constitute the beginnings of communal section-level education structures; in one section, a central committee was organized to lead the efforts.
  • Meetings are planned to support the professional development of local Ministry of Education school inspectors and foster their leadership in the development of local school federations and education planning at the communal and communal section levels.
  • More than 50 Lagonav schools continue to collaborate and conduct advocacy through the Schools Not Slavery network established via past and current participation in the teacher training program.

Goal: The quality of primary education is improved.

  • Five days of residential teacher training were held for 102 educators at 18 Year 1 schools prior to the pandemic.
  • Five day-long teacher training workshops were held with all 23 schools, reaching more than 50 teachers (21 women) with nonviolent, participative methods, also prior to the start of the pandemic.
  • Sixty-seven on-site visits were held with participating schools; during these visits teachers receive targeted coaching based on classroom observation, supporting them to apply participative teaching and nonviolent classroom management techniques learned during workshops.
  • Twenty-three schools received storage units to house book banks; 738 1st through 3rd grade students accessed Creole language textbooks distributed to 18 schools; 1,235 students (575 girls) at 23 schools benefited from Creole textbook banks.
  • Twenty-three schools received monthly subsidy disbursements to stabilize school revenue to ensure teacher salaries, which improves their attendance at school and their participation in training workshops.
  • Five pre-pandemic community advocacy events were held, convening 4,000 students, teachers, school principals, local government authorities, and Ministry of Education school inspectors to promote Haitian Creole as the language of instruction.
  • Twenty-three network schools received training and held Open Space sessions (pre-pandemic) to increase parent engagement and the engagement of local government authorities and community members in school life; altogether 1,150 parents, teachers, principals, and local authorities participated at these 23 events; discussion topics included parent engagement, violence, children’s rights, family education, and open range livestock grazing.
  • Twenty-three parent committees have been established; 18 are active.

A School Director Shares What It Means to be in the Schools Not Slavery Network

Francilien Mathurin, Principal and Founder of the Sous Kanaran School, shares what it means to parents, children, and their teachers to be part of the Schools Not Slavery Network that your generosity supports:

“The region where my school is located is very vulnerable. Parents don’t have a lot of means to pay school tuition [and associated costs] for their children. The monthly subsidies we receive have helped us greatly to be able to pay our teachers each month. This support has allowed the school to reach vulnerable children in the community who weren’t enrolled in school before.

“There have been many changes made at our school. For example, we don’t use corporal punishment in our school anymore. The teacher training helped us find other strategies to manage the students without having to spank them. Also, I’ve had fewer problems with my teachers in terms of lesson planning. I always had to force the teachers to prepare each lesson every day, while I had never – not even once – showed them how to prepare a lesson.

“To close, I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the staff and their collaborators/supporters for this beautiful work they’re doing on Lagonav Island to improve education! Thank you!”

Thank You Again

You’ve made so many good things possible through your support for the Schools Not Slavery initiative. Even in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, parents, students, school directors, teachers, and elected and grassroots leaders in some of the most rural communities in Haiti know they can count on you.

Thank you again for your extraordinary generosity and solidarity. All of us at Beyond Borders send our best wishes for the continued health and well-being of you and your loved ones.

If you have any questions about what you read in this report, please call or write Beyond Borders’ Donor Engagement Director Brian Stevens at (305) 450-2561 or b.stevens@beyondborders.net.

Our Freda Catheus (L) with Child Rights Activists.
Our Freda Catheus (L) with Child Rights Activists.
Adult Survivors of Child Slavery on Lagonav Island
Adult Survivors of Child Slavery on Lagonav Island
Distributing hygiene items at Sous Kanaran School.
Distributing hygiene items at Sous Kanaran School.
A pre-pandemic teacher training on Lagonav Island.
A pre-pandemic teacher training on Lagonav Island.
Give with confidence.
Give with confidence.

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Your generosity trains teachers in new skills.
Your generosity trains teachers in new skills.

How We are Preparing for the Coronavirus

Before I share with you the latest update on the work that you are making possible through your generous support, I want to share with you a message from our Executive Director David Diggs about the actions that we are taking now to help people in Haiti prepare for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

While we are unaware of any confirmed cases in Haiti at this point, we have little confidence that anyone with symptoms would be able to find a place in Haiti where they could be tested. 

That is why we are acting now to reduce the risk of transmission among our staff and the populations we serve.

As you know, much of our work happens in gatherings of grassroots leaders, parents, teachers, local elected officials, and people from all walks of life.

They come together to share, to learn, and to leverage their collective power to ensure that their communities are free of child slavery and violence against women, that every child goes to a good school, and that dignified work feeds the souls and bodies of each and every one of their neighbors.

Doing this in the age of the coronavirus will be challenging, to be sure. 

We are committed to working with communities to implement measures designed to prevent the spread of the virus just as we did during the deadly cholera outbreak that began in October 2010.

As we did then, we will promote safe handwashing and other preventative practices at all of our trainings, offices, and gatherings of any kind.

We’ve installed handwashing stations at each of these locations, and we are requiring all visitors to our offices and participants at our meetings and trainings to wash their hands according to the guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

We are also copying and distributing widely a Creole-language poster with instructions on preventing the spread of coronavirus developed by Haiti’s Ministry of Health.

Additionally we are supplying hand sanitizer to all of our offices and to our staff members to carry with them in the field, and we’ve begun using bleach to wipe down frequently touched surfaces like door handles and chairs.

We have also suspended all donor delegations and international travel to Haiti through April.

Given the rapid pace at which the coronavirus is spreading globally, we will be constantly re-evaluating these measures to determine their effectiveness, and we are prepared to follow any orders issued by the Ministry of Health -- including the cancellation of trainings and meetings as warranted.

While COVID-19 can infect anyone regardless of their wealth, race, or national origin, people in Haiti face extra risks. Widespread hunger leaves the poorest more vulnerable to infection, and health systems -- where they do exist -- are already stretched extremely thin. In much of rural Haiti there is essentially no health system at all. 

What Haiti is rich in is solidarity among neighbors who often make stunningly generous sacrifices for one another. As the world begins practicing and encouraging social distancing to slow the spread of this virus, we would all do well to draw courage from our neighbors in Haiti who have learned through many hardships the supreme value of solidarity.

David Diggs, Co-Founder and Director

Your Generosity is Building the Movement to End Child Slavery

Thank you again for your generous support for Beyond Borders’ Schools Not Slavery Project on GlobalGiving. We are grateful for your generosity and your solidarity!

You are making so many good things possible for vulnerable children in Haiti. With your support, our team carried out activities that included:

  • The creation and strengthening of Child Protection Brigades,
  • Follow-up with law enforcement and judicial authorities around specific cases of children living in slavery (restavèk),
  • The planning and execution of Zero Restavèk Campaigns designed to build public support for an end to the practice of child slavery community wide,
  • Targeted children’s rights training with community groups; and,
  • The creation and strengthening of branches of the Adult Survivor Network.

You are Supporting the Development of a Protocol for the Prevention of Child Human Trafficking on Lagonav

Your generosity is also supporting work with the Mayor of the commune of Ansagale, on Lagonav Island, to develop a protocol aimed at preventing trafficking of children. During a two-day workshop, the Mayor, his cabinet, and elected officials from five municipal districts along with the Beyond Borders team worked together on the protocol, which includes

  • Rules and procedures related to the moment a child is leaving her/his family,
  • The transportation of a child; and,
  • Cases in which a family receives a child into their home.

The locally elected officials have the responsibility to organize and facilitate community discussions on the draft protocol in their respective communities in order to make changes where necessary.

At the end of the process, the Mayor will issue a municipality decree in June 2020 on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labor.

You are Supporting Capacity Development Work with the Adult Survivor Network

A key component of the Adult Survivor Network strategy is to continue to support the capacity development of each branch – individually and collectively. Your generous support makes this work possible.

Thanks to your support, the Beyond Borders team adapted an organizational maturity assessment tool and conducted an initial diagnostic of six branches of the survivor networks.

The tool assesses the following dimension of an organization: strategic leadership, organizational structure, human resources, relationship with other organizations, program and services management, and organizational process.

The results of the assessment were quite low, with overall scores ranging from 21 out of 120 to 57 out of 120. A structure is considered well-established when it is in the range 81-120. As a result of this assessment, plans are being made to invest in the capacity of each branch.

Despite the low assessment numbers, we found it extremely encouraging to learn how the Adult Survivor Network Coordination and eight urban branches organized and coordinated to commemorate the National Day to End the Practice of Restavèk on November 17th without any significant support from Beyond Borders’ staff.

A press conference was organized (and well-attended by local media) and all eight branches conducted a series of activities in their respective communities, ranging from conference-debates to door-to-door conversations. This clearly demonstrates the motivation and leadership within the network’s Coordination body and the individual branches.

Your generous support also made the following trainings possible:

  • One hundred ninety-four members of Child Protection Brigades and Survivor Network Branches (90 women, 104 men) participate in 14 exchange meeting in 14 communities on Lagonav,
  • Twenty adult survivors of restavèk, from six network branches in Port-au-Prince trained in a community organizing methodology; and, 
  • Ninety-nine adult survivors of restavèk in three communities on Lagonav participated in the final step to create new Network Branches.

You are Building the Movement to Guarantee Universal Access to Quality Education

Thanks to you and your generosity, Beyond Borders continues to work with and support local government representatives of the Ministry of Education to develop and roll out a new strategy to build and strengthen the movement to ensure access to quality primary education to all children living on Lagonav Island.

We also continue working in partnership with the Matènwa Community Learning Center (MCLC) to support work with 23 schools (18 new this year) to strengthen the quality of education through native language instruction, a participatory approach to classroom instruction, nonviolent classroom management, the use of parental engagement strategies, and education rooted in rural life including teaching through school gardens and crop management.

The Engagement with Local Authorities that Your Support Makes Possible

Because of your generous support, initial meetings were organized in all six municipal districts to hold Open Space Dialogue sessions with school teachers, school directors and communities to discuss issues and challenges affecting access to quality education for all children on Lagonav.

Together participants identified the problems, analyzed the causes and explored possible solutions. Follow up meetings with each school in each district and specific outreach to government-appointed school inspectors are part of the plans moving forward.

Beyond Borders is very encouraged by the engagement and political will of many of the authorities and communities as they begin looking at systematic ways to address identified problems and possible solutions. 

This Year’s Teacher-Training Program is Fully Underway - Thanks to You

At the 18 new schools and five ongoing schools participating in the teacher training program, this year’s training is fully underway. Here’s a look at some of the types of training that your support is making possible at these 23 schools for teachers and parents:

  • A one-day trainings was held with all schools on mastering different learning styles within child development phases and monitoring skills to determine proficiency and growth,
  • Seven Open Space Dialogue sessions were held in six rural communities,
  • Fifty-seven teachers (16 women, 41 men) from a selection of the 18 new schools were introduced to the teacher training approach during a five-day introductory workshop on the program,
  • Monthly training with teachers and staff from 23 schools is being held with an average attendance of 51,
  • Thirty-seven pedagogical technical visits carried out by MCLC facilitators,
  • Twenty-three schools received an initial distribution of didactic materials, including the Mother Tongue teacher manuals and books -- Mother Tongue books are written by students themselves in Haitian Creole, 
  • Thirty-three technical visits on school gardening were conducted.

Thank You Again

Thank you again for your generosity, your care, and your concern for children in Haiti. I wish I could tell you what will happen when COVID-19 reaches Haiti. While we continue to closely follow the guidance of public health professionals, no one knows for sure.

Whatever the impact, the only certainty is, it will be even greater for those living on the margins: Haiti’s enslaved children, women and girls caught in domestic violence, families mired in the most extreme poverty.

As Haiti braces for the full impact of the coronavirus, the people we work with today need us to continue to accompany them, to empower them, to stand alongside them -- to keep the faith with them.

Your generous support for Schools Not Slavery is the very best way that you can continue to be there for them -- to keep the faith with them.

If you have any questions about what you read in this report, please don’t hesitate to call or email me at (305) 450-2561 or b.stevens@beyondborders.net.

With deep gratitude,

Brian Stevens, Donor Engagement Director

A poster created by Haiti's Ministry of Health.
A poster created by Haiti's Ministry of Health.
An Adult Survivor shares her story at a gathering.
An Adult Survivor shares her story at a gathering.
Teachers learning interactive ways to teach math.
Teachers learning interactive ways to teach math.
Teachers from all 23 schools at a recent training.
Teachers from all 23 schools at a recent training.
Adult survivors at a recent press conference.
Adult survivors at a recent press conference.

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Jenny is free, safe, and in school thanks to you!
Jenny is free, safe, and in school thanks to you!

Thank you for your generous support for Beyond Borders’ Schools Not Slavery initiative. We are grateful!

No child should ever be enslaved. Every child has the right to grow-up at home with their family, in a community that is committed to educating and protecting them. Every family has the right to earn a dignified living, so they can provide for themselves. No woman or girl should ever face violence, discrimination, or inequality.

Your belief in these fundamental rights and your generous gift to defend these rights is building a Haitian-led movement of women and men, teachers and parents, local elected officials and grassroots activists, and people from all walks of life who are committed to guaranteeing these rights.

Thank you for your generosity, your care, your concern, and your commitment to this human rights movement.

Jenny is Growing Up Free, Safe, and Enrolled in a Good School - Thanks to You

Jenny, 7, is a third-grader at Mondèzolivye School on Lagonav Island.

“I love mathematics,” Jenny told us. “After I finish school I would like to become an engineer!”

Your generous support for the Schools Not Slavery initiative means that more children like Jenny are growing up free and safe, at home with their families, and enrolled in a good local school.

Engaging Local Elected Officials in the Movement for Human Rights

Your generous support is making it possible to expand our movement building for human rights work to include engaging with local elected officials.

Sustainability is at the heart of the move to engage local elected officials. We seek to foster greater engagement from local elected leaders to leverage their democratically-elected authority to listen to their population, establish and strengthen relevant, local structures and practices that are sustainable and rooted in Haitian law, and that do not depend upon outside organizations to continue.

To do this, we’re undertaking the following specific initiatives:

  • Engaging Local Mayors to Determine Local Needs, Assets, and Priorities – Beyond Borders has set in motion a strategy with Mayors and CASECs (district-level authorities) to assess their own communities’ needs and assets through social mapping and other tools. Initial meetings were held between authorities, Beyond Borders (BB) and our new partner, Rasin Devlopman (RD) to: discuss joint mission, vision, and ways of working; the priorities of local authorities, relationships between local authorities and external actors; uncovering realities in the municipalities; and defining next steps and establishing a calendar. So far, four out of six communal sections are ready to move forward with recruiting volunteers to be trained by BB/RD on a social mapping methodology and application.  Local authorities from these communal sections have committed to securing the necessary financial and in-kind resources needed to support these activities. Authorities from the two additional communal sections are very interested but uncertain how they will secure the necessary financial resources to proceed but are committed to continue trying.
  • Development of Training and Implementation Guide – Beyond Borders staff is in the process of finalizing the social mapping training modules and implementation guide to be used to train teams of volunteers assembled by local authorities from communities within their communal sections. Trainings will be organized over the course of four days with each group of volunteers from each communal section.
  • Prioritizing Child Rights Dialogue Groups – Beyond Borders staff met with authorities (CASECs) from all communal sections in the commune of Ansagalè (Lagonav Island) to discuss child protection priorities and initiatives for the commune.  All six CASECs are onboard for developing a protocol for the prevention of child human trafficking as well as a plan to roll out a new strategy for Child Rights Dialogue groups led by BB-trained volunteers recruited by local authorities.   

The Human Rights Movement-Building Work That You Make Possible

Ending Child Slavery - Activities include the creation and strengthening of Child Protection Brigades, follow-up with law enforcement and judicial authorities around specific cases of child slavery (restavèk), planning Zero Restavèk Campaigns, targeted child rights training, creation and strengthening of branches of the Adult Survivor Network and advocacy.

Additionally, your generosity has made these accomplishments possible:

  • Nine children freed and reunited with their families and/or placed in Welcoming Families (foster families)
  • 24 Child Rights dialogue groups with 250 people launched in partner communities
  • New chapter of the Network of Adult Survivors of Child Slavery inaugurated on Lagonav
  • 49 Child Protection Brigades received support visits
  • Charges filed in three cases of perpetrators of restavèk with the State Prosecutor’s Office

Your generosity also makes it possible to build the Network of Adult Survivors of Child Slavery, giving those who’ve lived through child slavery the opportunity to become leaders in the fight against it.

An Adult Survivor of Child Slavery Shares Personal Testimony

Vano, 32, is a member of the survivors network in Port-au-Prince.

This is not a small battle we are fighting – it is a very big one. There are some communities where we meet with families and parents who are thinking about and wanting to send their children to go live with other people but they have no idea the misery and suffering that their children might face. Sometimes when we are trying to bring a child home to their parents, the parents will ask what kind of support can we give them because they just don’t have the means to support them.  They do not comprehend the total depravity of slavery that their child is living in.

In the network that I am a member of, we meet together and talk about what we suffered, the situations we are encountering today, and what we are going to do about it now.  We do not want any other child to suffer the experiences that we suffered.” (Vano’s photo courtesy of Nadia Todres)

Guaranteeing Quality Primary Education - Beyond Borders and our primary education partner on Lagonav Island, the Matènwa Community Learning Center (MCLC), began working with local government representatives from the Ministry of Education to develop and roll out a new strategy to build and strengthen the movement to ensure access to quality primary education to all children living on Lagonav.

Included in this vision is the development of a Communal Education Platform (CEP) that will integrate all schools that have participated in MCLC training in the commune of Ansagalè along with others. The CEP, comprised of representation of all education stakeholders, will allow for school directors to interface with local Ministry of Education staff and local authorities to advocate for improved resources and influence education planning for their communities. 

Likewise, it will enable local authorities and Ministry staff to develop a joint education strategy for the island and play a greater leadership role in ensuring all children in their communities are able to attend quality schools.

Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) - Seven communities on Lagonav continue to work through SASA!* community mobilization programming to prevent VAWG. Nan Kafe and Matènwa continued to work through the Action Phase, the last phase of SASA! with an evaluation completed this quarter. The Rethinking Power team is supporting the Lagonav team in diving deeper into the data and determining an action plan moving forward. Masikren, Fonnèg, Chenkontan, Gransous and Bouziyèt are moving into the Action Phase.

In the Southeast, Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power team continues to roll out SASA! and Power to Girls in eight communities in the area of Lavale. The program is in its final year of this three-year cycle and are working toward completing it by the end of this fiscal year.

Additionally, your generosity has made these accomplishments possible:

  • 14 Girls’ Clubs played in the soccer championship with 97 girls participating
  • 33 people from six organizations trained in SASA! Start Phase & Power to Girls Phase 1
  • 50 local activists & local authorities dialogue about ways to foster trust between community members & authorities with a role to play in protecting women & girls
  • Three-day interactive training with staff and Program Specialist on Action Phase and Phase 4 of SASA! and Power to Girls
  • 15 Church Pastors and their wives trained on balancing power between women and men in their congregations 
  • 50 journalists explored the imbalance of power in society and are now equipped to take this into consideration in their reporting

*Created by our friends at Raising Voices and adapted for Haiti by Beyond Borders, SASA! (Start, Awareness, Support, Action) is a ground-breaking, internationally-recognized model of community-mobilization to stop violence against women and the spread of HIV.

Empowering Families to Escape Extreme Poverty - Your generosity allows us to continue to implement the Family Graduation Program in three communities on Lagonav. The current cohort is now scheduled to graduate in September 2020. Through weekly home visits, case workers monitor, in real-time, participants’ progress against program indicators.

All of the 110 participating families have received at least one of two productive assets offered as part of the program. Twenty-four weeks of cash stipends have been distributed and Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) were created following training with program participants and community residents.  Twenty trained volunteers created four Village Committees across intervention communities comprised of 131 volunteer members (112 women), including community leaders, rural police officers, teachers, religious leaders, and volunteer Child Protection Brigade members.

Additionally, your generosity has made these accomplishments possible:

  • 69 participants received two productive assets each 
  • 220 goats, 18 pigs, 45 donkeys, and start-up funds for six small businesses distributed
  • 103 families trained on animal husbandry
  • 100 people trained on how to start a Village Savings & Loans Association (VSLA) 
  • 3 VSLAs created 
  • 40 families received materials to rebuild/repair their houses

Thank You Again!

We are deeply grateful for your kind, thoughtful, and generous support for the Schools Not Slavery initiative. You are building a Haitian-led human rights movement through your support and solidarity. If you have any questions about what you read here, please contact Brian Stevens, Beyond Borders’ Donor Engagement Director, at (305) 450-2561 or b.stevens@beyondborders.net. 

Engaging local officials in human rights work.
Engaging local officials in human rights work.
Vano, a survivor working to end child slavery.
Vano, a survivor working to end child slavery.
Activists organize a march to prevent VAWG.
Activists organize a march to prevent VAWG.
Ketia teaches in the Schools Not Slavery Network.
Ketia teaches in the Schools Not Slavery Network.
We are proud to have earned the trust of GG!
We are proud to have earned the trust of GG!

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The first day of school on Lagonav Island!
The first day of school on Lagonav Island!

More Girls and Boys are Free, Safe, and Heading Back to School Thanks to Your Generous, Kind, and Thoughtful Support.

Thanks to you, in 16 rural communities on Lagonav Island, young children are sharpening their pencils, cracking open fresh new notebooks, and heading back to school. That’s because your generous support for Schools Not Slavery is ensuring that every child in each of these 16 communities is enrolled in a quality school and no child is sent away to the city, where they risk becoming enslaved.

You made the first day of school on Lagonav Island a joyful and fulfilling day for girls and boys at 23 schools -- many of whom are brand new to Beyond Borders’ Schools Not Slavery Network. That’s because 20 schools graduated this past academic year from the Schools Not Slavery teacher training program -- also because of your support.

Now, we’ve added these new schools and expanded the reach of our work to protect and educate every child -- an accomplishment made possible by your support.

I’m lucky because I have the chance to visit Lagonav and talk to teachers and students and see inside the kind of classroom that your support for Schools Not Slavery makes possible.

I get to see students devouring their Creole-language textbooks and classroom walls decorated with their work. And thanks to the training that your partnership supports, their teachers are committed to nonviolent classroom management and encouraging the unique creativity and curiosity of each student.

Outside the classroom, your partnership trains the local Child Protection Brigade and the local chapter of the Adult Survivors of Child Slavery Network to protect these same girls and boys from slavery and abuse.

And in addition to making sure every girl and boy is free and in school in these 16 communities, your generosity continues to support work to lift the very poorest families out of extreme poverty and to organize women and men to prevent violence against women and girls.

Thank you again for all that you are doing to promote liberty, dignity, education, and hope in Haiti.

Building the Movement to End Child Slavery

Here’s the work that your generosity is making possible in support of the movement to end child slavery: 

  • Trained 1,934 child rights activists (1,266 women) using a nine-session grassroots, community mobilization methodology
  • Trained 216 Child Protection Brigade members (73 women) to facilitate Open Space to mobilize their communities
  • Used Open Space to facilitate town hall meetings with 1,169 residents (771 women) across 14 communities
  • Supported 16 communities to hold awareness-raising activities with 1,754 residents to mobilize the movement to end child slavery and commemorate World Day Against Child Labor
  • Delivered training to 28 Child Protection Brigade members and six volunteer Adult Survivor of Child Slavery organizers on how to provide psychosocial support to children experiencing trauma as a result of slavery or abuse
  • Supported 62 child protection cells in 14 communities to roll out use of the Performance Assessment Tool to self-monitor their work and evaluate their effectiveness as local change agents for the advancement of child rights
  • Supported Child Protection Brigades as they intervened to protect three children in crisis (one girl)
  • Supported Child Protection Brigades to identify and recognize 34 residents (20 women) who practiced stepping up to protect children
  • Held an Open Space meeting with 82 members of the Adult Survivors of Child Slavery Network (63 women) from Nan Kafe, Fonnèg and Chen Kontan groups
  • Organized a workshop on child rights with 11 local government representatives (11 women)
  • Organized a two-day training to build the advocacy skills of 28 Child Protection Brigade members (13 women)

Building the Movement to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls

Here’s the work that your generosity is making possible in support of the movement to prevent violence against women and girls: 

  • Community mobilization for the prevention of violence against women and girls in seven Lagonav communities, with two in the Action Phase and five in the Support Phase of SASA!*.
  • Convened 417 SASA! network members and Community Activists at bi-monthly network meetings for exchange, continue skills building, and planning
  • Held monthly meetings with 91 Community Activists to reinforce community activism skills and encourage volunteerism for the achievement of SASA! community mobilization activities
  • Shared preliminary results of Awareness Phase rapid assessment with 72 SASA! network members
  • Conducted Support Phase training with 43 SASA! network members in Fonnèg

* Created by our friends at Raising Voices and adapted for Haiti by Beyond Borders, SASA! (Start, Awareness, Support, Action) is a ground-breaking, internationally-recognized model of community-mobilization to stop violence against women and the spread of HIV. Engaging all actors in the community — women, men, cultural and religious leaders, local officials, police, health-care providers — SASA! fosters critical reflection on gender and power and instigates local-level activism.

Building the Movement to Guarantee a Quality Primary Education for Every Child

Here’s the work that your generosity is making possible in support of the movement to guarantee a quality primary education for every girl and boy: 

  • Conducted monthly observation and coaching visits with 25 schools to support application of nonviolent, participatory teaching methods and classroom management techniques, and school gardening skills learned at workshops
  • Disbursed monthly subsidies to 25 schools to increase fiscal stability and facilitate educators’ salary payments, to ensure participation in training and attendance at work/school
  • Supported two hub schools to establish regional model schools to promote nonviolent, participatory education
  • Continued accelerated education classes for nine students (six girls); seven students demonstrated readiness to advance to the seventh grade
  • Supported five schools to conduct advocacy activities to promote the importance of Haitian Creole as language of instruction; 535 community residents participated
  • Held a one-day workshop with 45 teachers (14 women) on how to prepare student assessments

Building the Movement to Lift Families Out of Extreme Poverty

Your gift supports a variety of economic initiatives designed to empower the 110 families in Beyond Borders Family Sponsorship Program to lift themselves out of extreme poverty AND ensure that they can provide for themselves long after the 18-month sponsorship ends. Here’s the work that your generosity is making possible in support of the movement to empower the very poorest families to lift themselves out of extreme poverty:

  • Held program launch ceremonies in three Cohort 3 communities, convening 156 participants and family members (112 girls and women)
  • Held three days of refresher training with 110 program participants, covering the following themes: the importance of goat farming; how raising pigs can contribute to families’ economic development; how owning a donkey can be useful to a family; and, the importance of small business management
  • Procured, gave deworming treatment, and distributed 80 goats; livestock distribution continues
  • Conducted weekly home visits with participants to track and encourage progress against socio-economic outcome indicators, coaching participants and discussing productive asset growth and management; backyard vegetable gardens; and, plans and goals for future
  • Distributed 11 of 24 weekly cash subsidies of 350 HTG to remove immediate pressure from participants so that they can focus on growing new skills and building their livelihoods
  • Conducted training on Village Savings and Loans (VSLA) with 100 Family Graduation Program participants, distributed materials, and facilitated the creation of three VSLAs with 140 members
  • Facilitated a nomination and selection process to identify candidates to serve as volunteers members of Community Development Committees (formerly known as Village Committees); Community Development Committees serve as local solidarity support mechanisms for Family Graduation Program participants during and after their participation in the program; the hope is that they will also play a role in leading initiatives for local economic development
  • Delivered training to 20 Community Development Committee members (five women) to orient them to their function and build knowledge of the program; these themes were covered: Objectives of the Family Graduation Program, Definition of Community Development Committees, Village Committees’ importance and the roles and responsibilities of its members, How to organize committee meetings and record minutes, Simulation of a Committee meeting
  • Facilitated creation of four Community Development Committees comprised of 131 members (112 women) that include community leaders, school teachers, rural police officers, Child Protection Brigade members, and religious leaders
  • Improved the food security of 29 families by providing training and materials to cultivate backyard vegetable gardens, rainwater harvesting systems were installed for the same 29 families to increase access to water for irrigation of home gardens and household use 

Thank You Again!

We are deeply grateful for your kind, thoughtful, and generous support for the Schools Not Slavery initiative. You are changing the trajectory of life for vulnerable children and families in 16 rural Lagonav Island communities through your support and solidarity. If you have any questions about what you read here, please contact Brian Stevens, Beyond Borders’ Donor Engagement Director, (305) 450-2561, b.stevens@beyondborders.net.

These girls and boys are in school thanks to you!
These girls and boys are in school thanks to you!
Meeting with Child Protection Brigade members.
Meeting with Child Protection Brigade members.
Visiting a graduate of the Family Sponsorship Pgm.
Visiting a graduate of the Family Sponsorship Pgm.
Distributing goats to families in the sponsor pgm.
Distributing goats to families in the sponsor pgm.
Give with confidence.
Give with confidence.

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Organization Information

Beyond Borders

Location: Norristown, PA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @beyondbordersHT
Project Leader:
David Diggs
Washington, DC United States
$25,955 raised of $32,000 goal
 
229 donations
$6,045 to go
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