Benches & Blackboards

Pulling Faces

For weeks I have been writing to you about Haiti, about the week I spent in Croix-des-Bouquets, about travelling with a team from the Haiti Empowerment Project, about staying in a guest house above an orphanage, about relative wealth, about hand-knit dolls, about what life is like in the tent communities, and about the tent community schools. And for weeks, you have asked, “How can we help?” Well, my friends, this is how.

The Saint Paul School

Saint Paul Institut Empty and Locked

Weeks of exchanging calls and emails with leaders and teachers in the tent communities made it clear that one of their most urgent needs is a school – a real school in a real building.

The building is there. It stands in the middle of Croix-des-Bouquets – it has real walls, cement floors, and a solid tin roof. Red-painted tires are half-planted in the yard to form a playground. There are good teachers ready to teach and an administrator is ready to run the school. But this is all they have. What they don’t have is preventing them from opening the doors.

They don’t have benches for the children to sit on; they don’t have blackboards for them to look at. And without these things, they can’t run this school and school is essential. The tent community kids have little hope of ever improving their lives without it.

..The Sign Outside of the SchoolSaint Paul School from the Yard

Saint Paul School Stands EmptySaint Paul School Playground

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This is something we can do.

We can give the teachers of the Saint Paul School in Croix-des-Bouquets a hand up – a way to get started – so they can open the doors of this school and serve the needs of nearly 400 children who might not otherwise have any kind of education without it. With the help of my immediate family, we have committed to buying 12 benches. With your help, we can buy the rest.

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$80 U.S. buys 1 bench. The school needs 36 more.

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$40 U.S. buys 1 blackboard. The school needs 8.

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As soon as they have these essentials in place, the school will open its doors.

Every cent I collect – every single penny – will be used to help the teachers and purchase supplies in Croix-des-Bouquets. That way, we will be helping the local economy while getting this school on its feet.

And so, there are two really important things you can do. You can hit that DONATE button at the bottom of this page and you can SHARE this story by using any of the share buttons listed below.

From the bottom of my heart – thank-you – for reading, for caring, and for your support.

Joanne

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  1. Joanne’s avatar

    Donations are coming in from all over – Canada, the U.S., England, Australia – and we have so far collected $650.00! That’s enough for 6 benches and 4 blackboards. My deepest thanks go out to those who have donated already and to everyone who has offered their support by helping me spread the word. x

    Reply

  2. Joanne’s avatar

    The last few days have been incredibly exciting around here. As of yesterday afternoon, we were already more than halfway to our goal! Through donations, through sharing the story, and through much-appreciated encouragement, people are showing so much support. My heart is so full of gratitude. xx

    Reply

  3. Susan M.’s avatar

    Are you still accepting donations, or is this over?

    Reply

    1. Joanne’s avatar

      Hi Susan! I am absolutely definitely happily and gratefully accepting donations. Every penny I collect from now until the next trip in March will go to books and school supplies for the five tent community schools in Croix-des-Bouquets, including the Saint Paul School. Thanks so much for asking and hope to see you again soon. x

      Reply

  4. Tracie’s avatar

    Hi! I am very excited about what you are doing and am curious if the benches and blackboards are being made by the Haitians? I assume they are so you are not only working to educate these lovely people but at the same time also giving them so me work. I am going to share your blog with my small group at church. Hopefully this will generate some donations. Thanks for your heart in doing this!!

    Reply

    1. Joanne’s avatar

      Hi Tracie – thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I know that you are all too aware of how much need there is in Haiti (Tracie was actually there during the earthquake last year). And, yes, all the benches and blackboards are being made in Croix-des-Bouquets. In fact, the benches are being constructed on the grounds of the school and 23 had been made at the beginning of last week. I am going to make sure that every penny I take in from now until March will be spent in Haiti as it helps so much more than taking supplies down from here. x

      Reply