Monday, October 17, 2016

Hurricane Matthew October 4, 2016

We have had numerous inquires asking about how hurricane Matthew has affected our school in Pignon. As anticipated there was only minor damage in Pignon, which is located nearly 100 miles from the hurricane's path. There was plenty of wind and rain that created damage to homes and property but fortunately no serious injures.

The challenge for rural areas like Pignon is that when family homes are destroyed in more urban areas, like the destruction from Matthew, people migrate to unaffected rural areas to find food and shelter by staying with friends and relatives. We expected that over the next few months many people will move into the Pignon area thus putting increased strain on local services including our school. Student attendance has already increased to nearly 200 students from pre-school to 6th graders. This has been due to the commitment that Director Rimbol and his staff have made to provide an education to any child who asks. This commitment, at times, has meant that the staff forgoes getting paid in order to insure that school supplies and healthy lunches can be consistently provided.

Haiti is still dealing with ongoing challenges from the 2010 earthquake and the affects from Matthew will be felt for years. We are wholeheartedly moving forward to insure that we can continue to provide education, heath classes and school lunches for deserving students.

We know that education is the way to alleviate poverty. Your continued financial support is needed to help us meet this goal. Please go to the "How You Can Help" tab and click on the "Donate" button to set up a onetime contribution or monthly gift. Your donation will change lives in Haiti.    

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Susan had the distinct pleasure of visiting the 3rd graders at Oakhurst Elementary School in California yesterday. She shared photos showing students' lives here in the US, compared to life in Haiti (school, food, water, etc.). The kids were respectful, engaged, attentive and asked very thoughtful questions. Susan said, "I think it was my favorite presentation I've done yet! When I sent a letter of thanks to teacher Mrs. Harsha, this was her response:
"Great! And thank YOU! As soon as we returned to class, students were digging into their backpacks for coins and dollars. Others were talking about bringing money next week. One little boy asked me to untie a little bag he had. It was too tight but it was time to round them up for the busses. As the last child was heading out the door I noticed Anthony at the Power of One canister. He'd managed to undo his bundle and was placing coins in the canister!
You inspired them! Your presentation was perfect showing the contrast of what they have and what the Haitians have. Mrs. Murphy wonders if it will also make them more grateful for what they do have:)"

Young children seem to make a quick connection to their counterparts in developing countries.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

School Well Repairs

Jean-Ronel sent us some pictures today of repairs on the school's well. The hand-pumped well was drilled by Haiti Outreach in 2012 with support from Oakhurst Sierra, Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise and Tracy Rotary Clubs. At that time the Rotary Clubs set monies aside for future repairs. Oxidized and pitted pipes are being replaced to increase cleanliness and efficiency.
This well provides the students and staff with clean, easily accessible water. It is also opened to the community at scheduled times bringing clean water to many families in the area. Prior to the well being drilled students had to leave their class and walk to a nearby river if water was needed at school. Besides missing class time the river water is not nearly as healthy since the river is also used to water animals, wash clothing, wash cars and bathing.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Health and Hygiene Classes Start

We are very excited that this month we were able to start offering health and wellness classes at the school in Pignon. Classes are offered every week by a visiting nurse. She has established lesson plans that are geared to each grade level and the kids are loving it.
Healthy kids have better attendance and are able to focus more clearly while at school.
Classes will be taught on the importance of personal hygiene, proper dental care, good nutrition and how to avoid transmitted diseases like malaria, typhoid, cholera, etc. For older students classes will include how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and the role of teenagers towards one another both socially and sexually.
We are aware of the importance of healthy students and healthy families. Our Board has agreed to take on this additional financial commitment for the rest of the current school year. We are actively pursuing financial support to assure that this important program will continue in the future.
As always, thanks to Jean-Ronel Joseph and Director Rimbol for all their work in Pignon!

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 An Exciting Time….

This has been an exciting and busy year for Be the Power of One. Your support has allowed us to maintain funding for our school in Pignon, Haiti. The school continues to grow, we are over 150 students from Pignon and the surrounding community. As a result we have increased the amount of food we provide so that we are sure each child is receiving a hot lunch every school day.

We again travelled to Pignon this year and were joined by three dynamic women from our own community; a retired teacher, a nurse and a business woman.  It was wonderful to share our experience with others who had a fresh perspective.  The trip came together quite nicely, with a comfortable room and three delicious meals a day at the Haiti Outreach Guest House.  Haiti Outreach is a non-profit that is drilling water wells throughout rural Haiti, bringing fresh, clean drinking water and reducing water-borne diseases. See them at HaitiOutreach.orgWe are confident that future group trips will be just as successful.  Please let us know if you’re interested in coming with us.

The coming year looks to be full of wonderful possibilities.  A friend and fellow Rotarian in the Los Barilles Club, Baja, Mexico, shared the need for an expanded kitchen and eating area for a local school. Our board has tentatively supported this project, pending more information.  In addition, with the help of a grant writer, we are exploring the possibility of applying for grants to make several big changes to the school in Pignon, Haiti. More exciting details will follow as the grant process unfolds.

It is with your help we are able to continue the work of Be the Power of One, providing hope through education. The need for quality education is great throughout the world, indeed it is the way out of poverty for so many.  In our travels, we are humbled as we see how excited the children are to attend school and how proud their parents are. As you celebrate the New Year with friends and family, please take some time to be mindful of the blessings we all enjoy. 

Your donations are changing lives, making the world a healthier more peaceful place. Just $25 provides more than 300 healthy school meals in Haiti. Please contact us if you'd like to become a monthly donor or donate here.