Hope in Haiti

 In News, News

Marte_reisebrev2For decades, Haiti has been marked by poverty, corruption and political unrest. In 2008, we visited Haiti together for the first time, and in March 2012 we went back. In the meantime, the country has been hit by an enormous earthquake that left large parts of the country in ruins.

We can see the tent camps even before we land at the airport. More than half a million people still live in provisional camps two years after the earthquake. It is incomprehensible that in less than a minute in January 2010, large parts of the country were left in ruins. More than 220 000 have been confirmed dead and more than 300 000 people were injured.  Then you have those who are still missing. The earthquake destroyed 70 000 homes, half of the country’s hospitals and 85% of all schools in Port au prince. Even if the need for aid naturally has been large following the earthquake, the story of Project Haiti starts much earlier.

 

Ingvill and Edwin Ceide and Nina Konradsen Bønå established the school ”Petit Troll” already in year 2000. The first time Marte visited was in the start of 2003 and then the school had 30 students. Today, project Haiti’s two schools has more than 300 students. In addition, project Haiti runs a youth club, a sports club, a choir and arranges summer camp for the students every summer.  Another project that we are very happy that Project Haiti has managed to establish is ”Manman Troll”, a women’s network that aims at educating women. This is a very exciting project that has resulted, inter alia, in a bakery, a dressmaking studio and a beauty salon. Project Haiti works according to the saying: “If you give a man a fish, he will have food for a day. If you teach him to fish, he will have food for the rest of his life”. In a country where less than half of the population are literate, it is extremely important to give the women an opportunity to create a stabile future for herself and her family.

During our visit his time, we held  a few English classes for the youth club. It was very nice to teach such motivated students! Ronja also held a lecture about the UN. The youth were very motivated, and before the lecture was over we had even touched upon the discussion f political interests in the Security Council and the Palestinians application for membership in the UN. It seemed important for the youth to be able to understand the UN better and to put the UN into a broader perspective than its presence in Haiti – we all agreed that this had not been up to standards! Lastly, we also held a creative workshop for the youngest kids at the school, which also was very pleasant.

We also want to tell you about Jaina and Jimmy who are both 16 years old, come from poverty and have been connected to Project Haiti for years. They are both talented at school, happy and good young people. Jimmy used to do his homework at a nearby gas station as it was the only place in his neighbourhood that had electric lights after sunset. With their good grades and will to work hard, they have been accepted to the IB program at Finnfjordbotn high school in Norway, and they will start there next autumn. They want to become a doctor and an engineer – and we are quite convinced that they will do just that! One of the many things that we appreciate with Project Haiti is that there is never any stagnation in the projects and there are always dreams and visions of new goals and projects so that more people can get the help they need.  Additionally, Project Haiti works at an individual level with long term goals. By for example helping Jaina and Jimmy to reach their dreams, they are also creating resources that Project Haiti and the communities in Haiti can draw upon in the future.

The reason why we are involved in Project Haiti is that w know the money reaches the  right recipients and that they make a difference. We know personally know the children who are so happy for opportunity to go to school, the grown women who goes to school at night to learn to read, and we know the youth woo learn English at the youth club after school.

 

We feel that project Haiti is much more solid now. It is some years since we had to hold lotteries at Domus at Saturday in order to pay the bills on Monday. However, there are still financial challenges, and we are depending on loyal supporters in order to continue the work.

Haiti will still face many tough challenges in the years to come. But there are bright spots: the 16 year old who wants to study in Norway and become a doctor in order to help other Haitians. Mothers who go to evening class to learn to read and write so that they can get a job and move their families out of the slum. The new bakery that will employ several women in the community. The children who get an education so that they are well equipped for what the future has in store for them.

The common denominator for all these things is Project Haiti. A small, but successful organisation, originating in little Lenvik.

With this, we would like to thank you for receiving us. It is always delightful to be in Haiti, and we are already looking forward to the next time.

Love from

Marte Lajord Frøseth og Ronja Trolie

 

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