The following is a continuing account from our Administrative Assistant Kyla, on her recent journey to visit ASC’s partner programs in Haiti. This was Kyla’s first experience visiting one of our project sites. Check out part one here! We hope this series will give ASC’s kind and caring supporters, like you, an inside look at what our team and partners experience in the developing world on a regular basis!
On the second day our team traveled to visit a partner school which ASC has supported for many years. Entering Father Jeri’s School in Haiti, I was immediately overcome with joy. At this school there are 351 students, ranging from ages 3 to 19 – enrolled from Pre-Kindergarten to 11th Grade. All of the children were dressed in uniforms and were very kind and well mannered. We took a tour of the school and were able to see all of the classrooms, meet with many of the loving teachers and staff; and learn about how the school first started and expanded to its current size– thanks to the passion of those involved at the school as well as kind supporters abroad!
For this school, I created gift bags with school supplies and other materials for the children to take home that day. I included a toothbrush, coloring book, a stamp, crayons, a marker, stickers, and a notepad. We also brought footballs, soccer balls, and basketballs for the children to play with. When we arrived, children were playing soccer with a beat-up soccer ball that was completely deflated. It was torn up and had holes everywhere. The looks on their faces when they received the new soccer balls were priceless. It was amazing to see how great an impact something as small as a soccer ball could have on an entire school!
Sadly, malnutrition is a daily reality for a majority of the children in Haiti. The food program at our partner school allows children that live nearby to receive a plate of food Monday through Friday. They serve over 800 meals every afternoon that include: fresh vegetables, rice, beans, and sometimes a small piece of meat or fish. We also help support a food pantry at the school, which allows local families in need to pick up rice, beans, and vegetables to cook at home. This ensures that each child is able to properly develop and maintain a healthy diet! Many families in the community simply can’t afford to pay tuition for school, but luckily, here they have offered a school scholarship program since 2001. This allows children, who otherwise would be unable, to go to school since only 10% of schools in Haiti are public and the tuition for private schools is too expensive for the vast majority families to afford. Thanks to the support of caring and compassionate donors, hundreds of children during that time have been given the life-changing opportunity to gain a valuable education!
The biggest impact on me in Haiti was that the children we visited all had the biggest smile on their faces, despite living in destitution. Families have to walk miles just to receive clean drinking water and the meal they receive at school could be the only meal that they receive that day, yet they were all still happy and smiling. We do not realize how well we have it and this experience truly made me appreciate all the things that I do have.