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 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
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
Pride in school work, joy in opportunity
Pride in school work, joy in opportunity

We continue focusing on what can be done and celebrating what has been accomplished; on empowering and building the capacity of a dedicated staff; on including affected individuals, families and communities in solutions; on collaborating deeply with local organizations; on persistently moving forward – one step at a time – and having the courage of conviction. Everything in the world that is accomplished starts with the decision to try. Your interest and support for Little Footprints Big Steps Child Protection Organization is in evidence daily as brave beginnings unfold.

Each Christmas our staff as well as the children in our Safehouses prepare and distribute kits with hygiene supplies and food to all of the patients in the pediatric ward of the general hospital. Not only does this help the patients, but it also empowers the Safehouse children to realize that they can help others.

To ensure options and access to all areas of health care and preventative education is available to the children and families living in the 22 communities across Haiti’s southwest, LFBS can rely on the teamwork and partnerships that we have forged over the past years. Recently we were happy to assist a local volunteer organization called COSOFH, to provide a mobile medical clinic to the rural community of Randell. It is inspiring to see locals volunteering their time to make a difference in other's lives. Collaboration is key to having the greatest impact possible!

Recently, our agronomist and nurse visited the family of a former restavec (slave) who passed through our Transitional Safehouse last year and was then reunited with her family by IBESR (local Haiti Social Services department). We are so grateful for our dynamic team, for our partnership with local authorities, for parents who take responsibility for their children, and your support ensuring these changes can continue!

Along with availability of nutritious foods, safe homes and health access, education is key to continuing to move forward. Excitement and pride in being able to participate in school and to progress in learning is evident with the hundreds of children and youth that you are ensuring have that opportunity. They are so proud and work so hard on their studies!

In our last Update we introduced you to Simond, who was reunited with his family in a remote village and started school for the first time. In January a group of youth we've worked with for several years (some former street boys and some children previously in orphanages) worked alongside our staff, helping carry construction supplies up a mountainside to the remote area that Simond’s family lives, and where we were able to build them a new HOME! The family participates in the preparation for the building, the building itself and the painting of their new home.

We were thrilled to have been able to be able to send an LFBS employee as well as an employee from Haitian Social Services (IBESR) to attend a critical international training in Maryland, USA  focused on Security Management in Disaster Response for Humanitarian Organizations.

Back in Haiti, youth leaders that LFBS works with have formed “Jeunes se Devlopman” or “Youth are Development”. Together with some of LFBS key staff, they have regular meetings discussing challenges, opportunities, morals, etc. Some will soon be undertaking construction training to be able to assist with home building and repairs.

Early February is Carnaval time in Haiti! LFBS, IBESR and other child protection actors in Les Cayes collaborated to send message to ensure lost or abused children receive help during the festivities. Thanks to One Hundred for Haiti Organization, we were able to do television broadcasts, have the use of a soundtruck, and create a special banner. This year’s Carnaval banner motto was "While we're dancing, let's protect the children/Pandan nap danse, Ann pwoteje timoun yo”.

What remarkable movements forward will the months ahead hold? Whose lives will you touch, change, save through your support and care? Find out in our next Update! You can also follow us on Facebook at Little Footprints Big Steps.

With gratitude for all that you mean to so many.

Distributing goods to pediatric ward patients
Distributing goods to pediatric ward patients
Practicing texting skills?! :-)
Practicing texting skills?! :-)
New homes - first homes for many!
New homes - first homes for many!
"Youth are Development" group
"Youth are Development" group
"While we are dancing, let's protect the children"
"While we are dancing, let's protect the children"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for supporting us and making this possible!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Spring flowers at the Girl's Safehouse
Spring flowers at the Girl's Safehouse

FOLLOWING the traumatic, devastating affects of Hurricane Matthew in October, where many lost everything – including their homes, clothing, school supplies and school buildings - we were able to assist over 300 children to continue their schooling in January! The need was greater than before the Hurricane as many families who were previoulsy able to pay the registration, uniform and supply fees had nothing left and no means of livelihood until they could grow their crops and rebuild their homes. And an especially busy time for Little Footprints Big Steps Child Protection Organization!

AS this school year comes to a close and children finish their yearend exams, they can have the simple joy of knowing that they will be able to continue learning and gaining knowledge and confidence when the new school year begins. Through your support, some of those children will also participate in summer school activities such as music camps, English lessons, art and cultural recreation.  

SPRING flowers in full bloom at our Girl’s Transitional Safehouse – but the most beautiful ‘flower’ of all is little Neissa (photo). She was abandoned in December and has filled the house with her sweetness ever since. A milestone for one of LFBS youth, Vedette – she will be graduating as a TEACHER from her post-secondary studies on July 9th –  a photo of that wonderful event will be included in our next report!! One of the Morgan first met her in 2010 and 2011 – when she was one of the children in the corrupt orphanage that became the catalyst for the founding of Little Footprints Big Steps Child Protection Organization! We reunited her with her family in 2012. This incredible next step on her journey toward a future with dignity and self-sufficiency is a tremendous achievement and a motivating example for others that this truly is possible!

EVEN our Safehouse security and healing dog, Sasha, had a special spring event - she gave birth to a litter of puppies on Easter Sunday (photo)! They are a wonderful mix of Great Dane and Bull Mastiff, and will be a new generation to provide love and security to others.

NEW beginnings that you have helped create...in 2015, LFBS found 8 year old Guerna in the paediatric ward of the General Hospital. She sat alone, propping her body up, wincing, tears of pain rolling down her face. Her entire midsection, shoulder and legs were covered in severe, open burns. Her hair was white with malnourishment and her eyes were sunken. When Morgan asked her age, she didn’t know. When her entire body had been burned, it was only her old brother who took her to the hospital and stayed with her. When we found her she was fighting infections as her gaping wounds seeped puss (photo). TODAY, thanks to our dedicated team and her caring sponsor, she's healed incredibly! Her brother has remained at her side and they are living with family friends in Port au Prince. She has had several more surgeries to enable her to lift her arm, increasing mobility. She has such a brilliant smile and is tremendously happy to be able to attend school for the first time (photo)!

FOLLOW-UP to Wubinson, who we introduced you to in our last report: Following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, people in Southern Haiti became very desperate. Poorly organized aid distributions resulted in chaos as people fought for food and during one incident in November 2016, several children were shot. One of those children was Wubinson. He had left his distant rural community and traveled on his own to Les Cayes, so his parents had no idea where he was or what condition he was in. He laid, alone, for eight days in the general hospital with two bullets in his head and absolutely no medical care – not even painkillers. He hadn’t been fed and was too weak to walk on his own. Local Social Services referred him to LFBS and we quickly transferred him to a hospital in which he had eye surgery to remove one of the bullets.  His family home had been completely destroyed by the hurricane and his mother made a makeshift shelter covered with sheets – she didn’t even have a tarp (photo). Once Wubinson was healthy, he was reunited with his family and began attending school. However, doctors were concerned about Wubinson’s wounds staying clean in such unsanitary living conditions. NOW, we through strategic partnerships and amazing supporters, this family now has a clean, safe home (photo)!

Because of YOU, these children can know a life with their families, with healthcare, safety, education and joy – the chance for a real future! Please share with friends so that they too can be catalysts for true and continued change.

Sasha and Easter puppies!
Sasha and Easter puppies!
Guerna today - attending school!
Guerna today - attending school!
Wubinson's family home before...
Wubinson's family home before...
...and now!
...and now!

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New Homes, New Skills, Rising Up to the Challenges
New Homes, New Skills, Rising Up to the Challenges

The amazing co-founder and Head of Haiti Operations, Morgan Wienberg, a fitness enthusiast when she gets the chance, recently reflected that “Life is like a workout: When you accept a challenge - try something difficult, or new, or heavier than you're used to handling - that is when you grow. That is when you learn that you're stronger than you thought!” In the short months since the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, the examples of our children, families, staff and communities rising to the challenges are everywhere! 

Homes have, and are, being built and repaired in Hurricane aftermath, led by LFBS staff and workers including the family members as well as LFBS youth as skills training for components of home building. Having a basic shelter is a huge step forward! (photos)

A New Year and back to the important work of learning...it's school time! Uniforms, shoes, books, school supplies lost in Hurricane Matthew’s devastating path have been remade or repurchased thanks to your support. (photo) Schools have been repaired and reopened.  School also begins for the boy, Wubinson. who in October - was laying abandoned at the hospital, with two bullets in his head and, following the surgery to remove a bullet and his eye, he remained in LFBS care at our Safehouse until he was well enough to be reunited with his family.Well, here he is, a happy student! (photo)

Our outstanding staff team have participated in numerous training sessions, building their capacity, confidence and knowledge-base: Informed Trauma Care training workshops, with UNICEF for training in the identification and referencing protocol for malnourished children, Gender Based Violence with OXFAM, (photos)

Outreach and Advocacy - Medical and Agriculture. Our Outreach Medical team continues to provide consultations and care to children and families in both Les Cayes area and the communities of the southern peninsula. Our medical team has also facilitated medical clinics in vulnerable orphanages, resulting in reports of concern to the Haitian Social Services staff that we work along side. This includes abandoned babies in the general hospital. Agriculture training and replanting continues under the expertise of LFBS’s local Agronomists. Replanting crops and trees – all of which were destroyed, during harvest time, in the hurricane, will mean not only food security, but provide opportunity for income as well. Re-establishing crops, nurseries, and grassland is also a critical aspect to support the ecosystem and environmental recovery. (photos)

Proud and excited to help spread the message during Karnival – our children, wearing t-shirts bearing the same message and logos of the large banner they carried – joined in the parade down the main streets! "Pwoteje timoun yo se Konstwi yon demen miyo! Protecting children is building a better tomorrow!" (photo)

Many thanks to each and every one of you for the support you have provided for each child, family member and staff to meet the recent, unimaginable challenges, and to not only survive and work toward recovery from October devastation...but to RISE UP! Along with photos, you will find a link below to our Annual Report. 

YOU helped this to happen <3

Wubinson, missing an eye, but an eager learner!
Wubinson, missing an eye, but an eager learner!
Children across the south return to school
Children across the south return to school
LFBS staff undertaking special learning as well
LFBS staff undertaking special learning as well
Outreach Medical Clinics and Replanting Assistance
Outreach Medical Clinics and Replanting Assistance
Protecting Children is Building a Better Tomorrow
Protecting Children is Building a Better Tomorrow

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Organization Information

Little Footprints, Big Steps - IDO

Location: Whitehorse, Yukon - Canada
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Little Footprints, Big Steps
Project Leader:
Karen Wienberg
Whitehorse, Yukon Canada
$66,047 raised of $90,000 goal
 
1,003 donations
$23,953 to go
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