Education  Haiti Project #17201

Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year

by Little Footprints, Big Steps - IDO
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Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
Send a Child to School in Haiti for a Year
On their way to school
On their way to school

Even bigger steps. Despite political unrest and lockdowns, we’ve been making progress, while still finding time to celebrate our accomplishments.

 

Our holistic approach

In February, LFBS staff were approached by a single mother who couldn't afford school fees for her two children.The annual school fee for these children was less than $60 CAD each. Not only did LFBS respond to ensure these children had access to an education, but we also entered their mother in our business start up program to empower her to be able to provide for her children without our help in the future. Additionally, our nurse identified that one of the children was unwell, and accompanied her to the hospital where she was treated for typhoid fever. The child has received treatment and is recovering, and both children are now in school while their mother develops her business.

Protecting vulnerable children means empowering families and communities to take care of each other. This is just one example of the ways in which our outreach program helps Haitian families with the training and resources they need to preserve the family unit and pursue self-sufficiency. Thank you for being a partner in this work!

Celebrating success, hard work, and dedication

During the two weeks before Christmas, LFBS staff were able to reunite two children with their families. One of these cases required the staff to travel to another department several times within the two week period to do family tracing and mediation, sometimes working 14 hour days. We are so grateful for our dedicated staff and are proud to have a team that made it their mission to reunite these children with their families before Christmas!

Daniel* and Evens* hesitantly joined a LFBS mentorship and personal development youth group in 2019. Working for odd jobs and begging on the streets, neither young man had completed primary school and both of them had lost their parents. They had been in conflict with the law, and both had become teen parents. We enrolled Daniel and Evens in a construction apprenticeship and paid a local construction site manager to train them. In December 2020, we had a celebration for these young men as they completed their apprenticeship and congratulated them on some great news: the construction site manager who trained the boys had decided to keep them on staff – as workers now, no longer as apprentices! With the income from their new jobs, Daniel and Evens are now able to support themselves and their families, and are excited for their futures.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our beneficiaries

Our medical outreach, prevention and advocacy services continue to play a pivotal role

In late February, a surgeon at a local hospital contacted our staff regarding a girl with disabilities who had fallen and broken her leg. The surgeon was willing to operate on the girl’s leg pro-bono but needed funds for the surgical materials, which her family did not have. Thanks to our incredible supporters, we were able to intervene and provide financial assistance for her surgery. Our staff took the girl and her mother home following the surgery, and we have been following up with nutritional support, aftercare, as well as assessing and developing a plan to address the family’s overall state of vulnerability.

Thank you 

You, our visionary supporters and donors, are a catalyst for change in Haiti and your interest, caring, and support makes a difference every day in the lives of our beneficiaries. Because of you, we have touched the lives of thousands of people in Haiti. We now work in 45 communities throughout 9 departments, and continue to grow every day. Thanks to you, we are empowering children, families, and communities to take even bigger steps!

Together again
Together again
Apprenticeship program
Apprenticeship program
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School's in!
School's in!

Despite new and complex situations arising, the exceptional Little Footprints Big Steps team continues with the vital work underway – sometimes pivoting and revising details and focal points - but maintaining the progress forward!

In late August, our staff accompanied local authorities & other partner organizations in providing COVID-19 prevention training in local public schools that had just re-opened. First schools were closed due to political unrest at the end of 2019, and then shut down a second time due to COVID-19 in March 2020. Students are eager for the chance to pursue their education. School not only adds stability to students' lives, but it also provides hope for a better future - both to students and their parents.

Unfortunately, many parents have struggled to send their children back to school despite classes re-opening. The economic impact of a nationwide lockdown; continuous, excessive inflation; and drastically fluctuating exchange rates has taken a toll on families who already struggled economically. In Haiti, the costs to attend school include registration fees, school uniforms, shoes, all school supplies and books, backpack if possible, as well as exam fees and often transportation costs as well. Please consider helping support one of the many students LFBS sends to school. Education is one of the most empowering forces in the world.

Being able to know, and be proud of, their beautiful country can be a powerful source of healing, and changing outlooks, of the youth that we work with. During their stay in our Transitional Safehouses, we strive to take children on recreational visits as "local tourists" to help them explore and enjoy some of Haiti's stunning natural treasures - aiming to instill in the children a sense of pride and appreciation for their country while also taking some time to focus on their well-being.

We are very grateful to have close partnerships with local child protection authorities - especially IBESR, or Haitian Social Services. Our team has been supporting IBESR with logistics two days per week in order to accompany them in documenting all of the children currently living in orphanages in Southern Haiti. This work will help in the prevention of child trafficking through orphanages, the identification of highly neglectful or abusive institutions, and the collection of data that will help facilitate quicker reunification for those children when possible.

Little Footprints Big Steps was involved with October’s International Day of the Girl virtual conference, hosted by Build a Dream Organization. LFBS Co-founder and Head of Operations was the Master of Ceremonies of the internationally accessible event, while one of the youth that has been involved with LFBS for the past 9 years, was a speaker on the Youth Panel during the inspiring event. This enthusiastic youth shared her story of leaving a neglectful orphanage, reuniting with her family and working diligently and wholeheartedly toward her dreams, leading the way as a role model for others, of what can be.

Every year, LFBS staff, accompanied by local authorities such as IBESR (Haitian Social Services), BPM (Child Protection Brigade of the local police), the local children's judge, and others, host a meeting with the street children in Les Cayes. We speak to the children about their rights, warn of the dangers of going to prison, provide them with a warm meal (and this year, with masks), provide them the opportunity to speak up, and document them. We let them know that access to education and skills training is an option for them. This year we also did rapid psychological evaluations of the children. The objective of the meeting is to motivate the children to return to their families / change their lifestyles, and to connect with them so we can follow up and help them facilitate that change.

Two boys - oneof whom previously lived in the streets and one of whom had been in a situation of domestic labour - were motivational speakers at this event. As they spoke of the changes in their lives, they not only moved our staff members, but actually left several of the street children in tears. Over half of the children were motivated to reunite with their families and no longer want to stay in the streets - now it's our job to help make that happen! Thank YOU for making that possible!

November 20 was World Children’s Day. All that week, our outstanding staff facilitated various activities alongside local child protection authorities to draw attention to, and raise awareness about, Children's Rights. So often we focus on physical needs and rights of children - but it's important that we don't forget their emotional needs and rights. Children have the right to a FAMILY and an IDENTITY. How can we help vulnerable children and families in a way that promotes these rights and prioritizes the children's best interests for the long term? Focus on strengthening families instead of separating them! You are our partner in that important work and example.

We are so grateful that you are a catalyst for this continued work through your caring, meaningful support and interest – it makes a difference each and every day. Please share with friends, family and colleagues, and remember that you can donate as a gift in honor of someone as well!

 

COVID training in schools
COVID training in schools
Street Youth Consultation Session
Street Youth Consultation Session
LFBS Staff - World Children's Day
LFBS Staff - World Children's Day

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Schools open once again!
Schools open once again!

 Although COVID-19 hasn't had the horrific impact in Haiti we'd anticipated, our preventative efforts definitely haven't gone to waste! We're continuing to take precautions and to help vulnerable families do the same. Having provided hand-washing stations, hygiene supplies and training to families in rural regions, we are now focusing on helping them with food security. In our Transitional Safehouses, we continue to take preventative measures such as hand-washing and limited access.

Every week, we purchase fresh vegetables, fruits and spices from the local market to use in our Transitional Safehouses. Since COVID-19 reached Haiti, we've been purchasing produce directly from parents who are in our small business program - which helps those parents generate an income during difficult times, while we get fresh organic produce without having to risk sending staff members to the crowded market place!

Local Social Services (IBESR) has started the process of documenting all children living in orphanages in Southern Haiti. This will assist in monitoring the quality of the orphanages, identifying those which urgently need to be closed, gathering data to facilitate future reunification of those children, and preventing trafficking. LFBS had committed to assisting with logistics in this endeavor, as we did previously in 2017/18.

As we began the documentation process, authorities discovered several new centres that had formed illegally after the 2018 law banning new orphanages in Haiti. They also discovered several orphanages that were so severely neglectful they needed to be shut down – immediately. LFBS assisted IBESR in emergency closures of two small orphanages. Fourteen of these children were placed in foster families. With your support, LFBS has been able to support them with medical care and other needs while their biological families are being traced. Nine children were placed in the LFBS Transitional Safehouses, and most have quickly been reunited with their biological families. THANK YOU for helping us ensure children are able to remain with their families.

With the closure of corrupt orphanages, there is an even greater need for local foster families when local authorities are unable to find children's biological families. These foster families are willing to take in children and care for them as their own - with no support promised by the government. Some of the children placed in foster families are severely handicapped, or are very young babies born in difficult circumstances (such as one 2 month old baby born in the local prison, whose mother has not yet been released). With your support, we can strengthen Haiti's foster family system - allowing separated children to be cared for in a family environment instead of in institutions. LFBS regularly follows up with foster families to make sure that the children's needs are being met. Many of the babies in foster care require support for baby formula and medical care. YOUR support allows us to continue to assist the local foster families during this difficult and critical time.

While Universities were closed due to COVID-19, our most advanced Agronomy student worked part-time with our team. This diligent student, and our Outreach staff, travelled to families to review the land they have available for gardening to ensure sustainable food security. Sometimes this meant several hours of hiking through mountains! We're so proud of our team and this young man for truly walking in the steps of vulnerable families in order to understand their reality, so that the support we provide will truly make a difference. Good work, team LFBS!

On August 17, many schools opened again in Haiti, trying to salvage the 2019/20 school year. Along with closures for COVID19 in March, schools were forces to close due to political unrest in the fall of 2019. We were able to continue private tutoring for children in our Transitional Safehouses and for some children who live with their families. Students are so excited and hopeful that they will be able to continue their education. Thank you for making that a possibility.

The local Civil Protection Unit provided hands-on training for the LFBS staff. The instruction and practice of the safe use of fire extinguishers and how to perform CPR on adults and children took place on the open area of the LFBS land under construction.

Further progress has been made on Phase 1 of the LFBS land development project! The septic field has been completed and the security gates have been completed and installed. Some of the crops planted on Phase 2 portion of the land have been harvested and will be used in the Transitional Safehouses as well as for distribution to families in our Outreach program.

We hope found this glimpse into just some of the activities that your interest, caring and support have made possible over the past three months – please with your friends, family and colleagues. Together we can continue to save, change and build lives and futures.

Produce from our local families!
Produce from our local families!
Children rescued from corrupt orphanage
Children rescued from corrupt orphanage
Agronomy student and LFBS staff
Agronomy student and LFBS staff
Staff CPR training
Staff CPR training
Septic Field Phase 1 complete!
Septic Field Phase 1 complete!

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Education in Safehouses continue
Education in Safehouses continue

Responding to the realities of life in Haiti – the extreme poverty, malnutrition, lack of opportunity for education and medical care, slavery, homelessness – has become more complex with COVID19 and continued escalation of inflation. Like others world-wide, our core programs have refocused. Ensuring health awareness, food supply, Haitian staff well-being, and concentration on what will be needed and what we CAN DO – thanks to your continued support.

With a sigh of relief, our Head of Operations looks out over the land Little Footprints Big Steps has planted crops on near Les Cayes, Haiti. Last night’s rainfall was exactly what was needed to finish sowing the seeds that will soon provide peanuts, corn and plantains to distribute to vulnerable families. 

Back in the office, we are taking advantage of this time to reinforce our team's capacity and effectiveness. A highly respected Haitian Child Protection Consultant with extensive experience and expertise has developed a training specifically for our staff. Two days a week, she works with our staff to teach and discuss modules related to Child Protection - Child Rights, Child Development, Child Protection System, Case Management, Juvenile Delinquency, Justice of Minors, Psycho-Social Support of Children. The staff will also be using this time to review and update all beneficiary files. A part-time Social Worker will be added to the staff to work witih them on the plans toward self-sufficiency specific to each family.

We are grateful that the children in our Safehouses are able to continue with their education despite schools being closed  - thanks to your support, live-in tutors (to minimize COVD19 spread) continue to work with the children currently in our Safehouses. Even as we undertake precautions to protect physical health, it's important to look after mental health as well! Those in our Transitional Safehouses - as well as their guard dogs - have enjoyed some refreshing trips to the beach after study sessions with their tutor.

While Universities have closed due to COVID-19, we've taken the opportunity to hire our most advanced Agronomy student part-time! A welcome addition to our Outreach team, our Agronomist-in-training meets with each family during the team's rural visits to discover their experience, challenges, and potential and when it comes to planting food crops to increase nutritional food security options for them and their community. He then develops an individualized plan for each family. Considering the frightening inflation and economic crisis Haiti has endured starting during last year's political unrest and continuing into this year's pandemic, we believe it's important to focus on sustainable food security options for these families, instead of keeping them reliant on food donations.

As much as possible, while keeping our Haitian staff safe, we continue regular connection with the vulnerable children and families in both local and remote areas is key to keep their capacity - and hope - developing. Before heading our, our team makes washing stations out of buckets and puts together hygiene kits and core food supplies to distribute. During the visits, they update file notes on the well-being of the children, activities the family is involved with and the progress of those involved in our Small Business program. Our nurse provides training about COVID-19, preventative measures families should take, and proper hand-washing techniques.

Thank you for your continued care and support as we focus on and strengthen the areas that we CAN DO. The number of lives you save and change continues to grow each day. Thank you for continuing to stand with us. 

Informative article about impacts of COVID19 in Haiti: http://haitianalysis.com/2020/03/31/haiti-on-the-precipice-of-coronavirus/?fbclid=IwAR1-YbSjLDBevOGEierxpm9KuToajTNdrortTNKNFx5fLp-AexXuKcZ3vq0

Link to LFBS Annual Report:  https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5cf7ecc4996d630001ae475a/t/5e9782ffcf33283db1d96086/1586987780786/LFBS_annual_2019.pdf

LFBS staff making washing stations
LFBS staff making washing stations
Agronomy student working with families
Agronomy student working with families
LFBS Nurse providing instruction
LFBS Nurse providing instruction

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School supplies distributed
School supplies distributed

After several months of incredible stress due to violent protests and instability, students in Les Cayes area were finally been able to return to school in early December! We are so grateful that they finally have a sense of normalcy, and the opportunity to learn, creating hope for a better future. However, the economic impact of the humanitarian crisis is still being felt, and insecurity levels are still very high. Many schools will be having classes on Saturdays to make up for the months of school missed.

During the week before Christmas, in collaboration with Haitian Social Services (IBESR), the LFBS Outreach Team was able to:

-reunite 3 girls with their families! All of them had been in situations of mistreatment and domestic labour before coming to our Transitional Safehouse.
-reunite 2 boys who had been separated from their families;
-have employees briefed on the documentation process of children/youth in prison, and discuss the process of reunification of children in conflict with the law;
-distribute hygiene kits to nearly 40 youth in the children’s cell of the prison, and begin a dialogue with them to motivate them to make some changes in their lives;
-transfer 2 babies who had been abandoned in a hospital located several hours away, into foster families (although the trip to pick up these babies ended up taking nearly 12 hours due to road blocks and protests).
-bring 2 boys with bullet wounds to the hospital for bandaging, twice per week for each child.
-add to the Business Program for 5 parents who have been managing their businesses well, and integrate one new parent into the Business Start-up Program!... and that’s only part of what our small but dedicated team accomplished this week in collaboration with local authorities! In early 2020, we will follow-up with the newly reunited children to ensure they have access to education and potentially to integrate their parents in our Business Start-up Program.

Family structures are important – by strengthening families and empowering parents to care for their children, you are also empowering children…to be children and strive for the future. Please don’t underestimate the importance of community development, family preservation and family strengthening! Helping vulnerable families stay together and become more sustainable impacts their children’s mentality, life choices, self-perception, social engagement, and futures.

While the construction work continues on Phase 1 LFBS Land Development project, crops planted on Phase 2 area yield a nice corn harvest! The agronomy students planned out the crop planting and we hired some of the families we work with to do the planting and maintenance! The harvest of the corn and peanuts will provide nutritious food for use at the Transitional Safehouses and nearby outreach families.

In early January, our staff facilitated an STI training for the children in the local prison, and provided the youth with a nutritious meal. There are over 30 children currently in the local prison, and all of them are in need of medical attention. Together with local authorities, we document each of the children with psychological, academic, and medical evaluations, and gather information about their families. Eventually we hope to trace their families and begin working towards a more successful reunification once they are liberated. We also hope to provide medical care to those who need it, although considering the conditions they are living in it will be difficult for them to be healthy while in prison. With your support, we would like to provide a meal for the children each day we spend with them as they are clearly not well fed in the prison, especially following the prolonged crisis the country recently endured and the resulting inflation.

One Hundred For Haiti Organization provided funds for mental health group counseling sessions for our remarkable staff. LFBS Protection workers are involved with many difficult situations year round, and have been personally and emotionally affected by the political and social unrest in Haiti over the last year, and needed to have their own feelings heard and processed. Development, rather than simply offering relief, means helping people help others. It grows from there. Taking care of our staff, who so dedicatedly care for others, is tremendously important.

Sharing information about the critical development aid issues, and the work being done by LFBS and our partners, having the chance for in-person discussions, meetings and connecting with people of all ages, and having LFBS Haitian staff there to share the stories and culture, is another important part of the mandate to increase awareness, understanding and capacity. LFBS Founder/Head of Operations and two Haitian staff traveled to Canada in January. While in Whitehorse, Toronto and Montreal, they met with students in schools, Universities, Sunday Schools; Service Club members; architects, Senator, Member of Parliament, and Board Directors; they presented and had discussions at community events, fundraisers, and at a Concordia University special event.

Examples of determination and tenacity … from Haiti to the Arctic! Nicolas has been a key employee with LFBS since 2013. While continuing his very demanding work with LFBS, studying and going to classes after a full work day, being a caring husband and father to two sons, he models leadership and motivation as he has graduates from Law School!

While far away in the frozen arctic, Dr. Russ Reinbolt, ER doctor from a San Diego hospital, undertakes the coldest and toughest Ultra Marathon in the world! During this grueling 300miles/483km run in temperatures as low as -37C, he has chosen to champion Little Footprints Big Steps Child Protection Organization! A documentary is being made of his training and run and he hopes that additional awareness will be brought to LFBS work.

Thank YOU for being the catalysts for the continued empowerment and opportunities for lasting change that you bring to so many!

LFBS Medical and Outreach Staff at Youth Prison
LFBS Medical and Outreach Staff at Youth Prison
Sharing at Rotary Clubs
Sharing at Rotary Clubs
Crops planted on Phase 2
Crops planted on Phase 2
Law School Graduation for LFBS staff member!
Law School Graduation for LFBS staff member!

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Organization Information

Little Footprints, Big Steps - IDO

Location: Cambridge, Ontario - Canada
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Twitter: @lfbshaiti
Project Leader:
Little Footprints Big Steps
Cambridge, Ontario Canada
$70,217 raised of $90,000 goal
 
1,149 donations
$19,783 to go
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