The girls are HOME!!!

The girls are HOME!!!

In November 2011 Pennies for Haiti began working closely with an orphanage to provide help and activities to the children. It all began with hosting holiday dinners, cupcake day (birthday celebration), back to school bashes, and other childhood activities. We wanted the kids to have a chance to enjoy their childhood. Soon after we started fixing and painting beds to increase the quality of life for the children. We were able to begin ministering to the children about 2 years ago. Missionaries extended this effort and over a dozen missionaries have now fallen in love with these wonderful children.

Now, after all these years and with the effort and support of so many, Pennies for Haiti will be moving 13 girls from the unfavorable conditions they’ve known into a home of stability. On August 8, 2017, 13 young girls (ranging in age from 1-15) will move into a home where they will each have their own assigned beds, running water, functioning bathroom facilities, new clothes, toys, reputable (better rated) schools and 3 meals a day eating together as a family, they even will gain a grandmother who will love on them whenever she visits.

While living in the orphanage, the children experienced unfavorable living conditions. Many of the children were often unwell and unclean. They didn’t have clean clothes or often times even a place to sit while they ate their meals.

The Pennies for Haiti Home for Girls will encourage these children in all aspects of life including manners, proper speech, personal cleanliness, education and a feeling of love and acceptance as they live as a family. These girls, through this program, will receive more than a better standard of living; they will experience a feeling of self-worth and an understanding of family and community that every child should feel. You can help these girls grow and succeed by offering a loving donation of

-underwear (new, in package please)
-soft bristled toothbrushes
-children’s toothpaste
-fitted twin-sized sheets
-towels
-pillows (new please)
-clothing (for girls of all ages)

We welcome you to sponsor a child to assist with their education. We can help you choose either by age or date of birth or assign one that hasn’t been sponsored to you. If you’d prefer to make a monetary donation, please visit our website at http://www.penniesforhaiti.org/index.php/donate

Please pray for these young girls and the many volunteers and missionaries that, by God’s grace, will create a home for them through Pennies for Haiti. It is with continued prayer and support that this program will be able to succeed.

Please check out our FB page frequently for updated information on the girls’ new life; while there please like our page.

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Discover STEM Conference

stem-logo-consortium-frenchIn observance of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the Haiti STEM Alliance invited 125 high school girls in Caradeux, Haiti to the first “Discover STEM” conference. The goal was simple; get a conversation started. We invited two groups of speakers to the conference. During the registration session, we had speakers give a brief introduction of the STEM fields and allowed the participants to ask questions. The second session of the conference involved female college students studying in their respective STEM fields sharing their experiences. We chose college students in hope to better connect with the participants. We also had an EMT team present their training program and commit to train anyone who was interested in becoming an EMT.

This activity was a kick off for three Summer Programs that will be conducted in June and July 2017.  There will be two programs lasting 3 weeks for girls ages 5-13 involving hands on activities around areas of STEM.  The third program will be a pilot for the STEM Technology Centers being launched in each of the 10 departments or states in Haiti.  This program will meet every Saturday starting in September 2017 for four hours throughout the school year.  The first year’s focus will be to introduce the girls to computer basics, typing, robotics, and English as a second language.  The goal by year two is to have each participant choose a STEM track and further their knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math through activities related to each field ie. Coding, Science Projects, Building Bridges, etc.

We were all excited to begin this conversation with these young ladies. We were able to educate them not only about the disciplines, but also encourage them to pursue their dreams even if it was not in STEM fields.

We wanted to just get the conversation started…we did just that!

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I would like to thank the participants for being open minded and attending the conference. I am grateful to our speakers who said yes to this challenge without really knowing what to expect. I can honestly say we were all pleasantly surprised. Also to our sponsors, we could not have pulled this off without your financial support. One last thank you…to Institution Mixte Juvenile and their volunteers for trusting us and hosting this wonderful event at their location.

Sponsors…
Family and Friends, AMF Experts, Haiti Teen Challenge, FELB, Patisserie Marie Béliard, DLM Transport and Logistics and Hero Dispatch
#WomenScienceDay

#HaitiTC

#HEROClientRescu

Nwel Pou Timoun 2016

Jesus is the reason for the season!

We started preparing Christmas dinner two days ago. We knew we were to feed over 100 people. So we took the time to properly prepare such a feast and also to avoid the craziness all too familiar in the grocery store and open market during this time of year.

We packed the “Hulk” and headed to the orphanage. Upon arrival I found the kids eating dinner. This is a problem; I was very annoyed because I informed the director days ago we were feeding the kids today. Also, I am very sad that today wasn’t a special day for the kids. However, that was not God’s plan.

Houston we have a problem…slight predicament! It is 1:00 PM we have food for over 100 people what do we do now? I posted a message on our community page…dead air…no takers!!! Than one Santa helper says let’s feed the kids from the neighborhood instead. Great idea for two reasons!

First, many of the kids we fed today have participated in many of our activities however within the walls of the orphanage. Second, feeding the kids as we did solidified our work in this particular community beyond the walls of the orphanage. It was such a blessing to see God’s plan unfold today. It was a pleasant surprise.

One sure thing differentiated the kids we fed from those living at the orphanage; their meal was not guaranteed. I asked a few moms’ permission in the neighborhood before feeding the kids my request was answered with much gratitude.

On my way to the orphanage I heard a song Konkou Chante Nwel 1999 – Michael Benjamin a.k.a Nwèl Tristès “Christmas sadness.”  Although our kids might not have eaten the food we so carefully prepared for them but I know they ate something today; whereas these little ones could have gone to sleep tonight on an empty stomach. I hope in a very small way this Christmas was not a sad one for these children. I am praying we can do even more next year!

Two questions:

Do you love Christmas?

Do you want to make Christmas day special for a child in Haiti?

In that case, please consider joining the “Pennies for Haiti – Christmas Committee” we have a lot of work to do and only 365 days to do it!!! Let’s start planning…I can be reached at info@penniesforhaiti.org if you are interested.

 

img_20161225_112515_editMerry Christmas…may God abundantly bless you as He has us!

 

Belle Fontaine: The Road Taken!

Since March of this year, I’ve been determined to serve in Belle Fontaine, Haiti; it all

started when USAID released an rfa on malnutrition, the WASH project and agriculture. I code named it the “David and Goliath” grant. I knew we did not have a chance but I felt led to try. So for a few weeks Birdy Reynolds and I researched and wrote the concept note that would transform us to two individuals wanting to save lives in

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Looking over Belle Fontaine #1

an area unknown to most in Haiti. In our research, we discovered that Belle Fontaine has an extremely high child malnutrition and mortality rate. Soon after we submitted our concept note we found out we were not among the finalists. As the months passed by we discussed about the best methods to introduce ourselves to the community. Before any plans could be finalized hurricane Matthew had devastated the area.

I chose, through Pennies for Haiti, to provide relief efforts in this community instead of the South like so many others. Though Belle Fontaine is in the West Department the hurricane was so large that Belle Fontaine was also impacted. With the help of so many of our supporters we reached out and started to work in this community by pulling all our efforts together to raise funds and collect much needed items for them. To date, we’ve organized two food distributions and have completed two mobile medical clinics in partnership with Societe Haitienne de Pediatrie.

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Non-4×4 truck could not make it passed this point…2 more hours to go! Yikes

Belle Fontaine is divided in four communal sections: Belle Fontaine #1 and #3 are accessible from Croix-des-Bouquets, Belle Fontaine #2 is accessible from Jacmel, and this section is in the commune of Croix-des-Bouquets as are 1 and 3. Whereas, Belle Fontaine #4 is accessible from, and is in the commune of, Kenscoff. All the communes of Belle Fontaine are located deep in Haiti’s mountains with barely any descent roads in some areas not even an ATV off road vehicle or two-wheeled motorcycle can make it there. As per the latest census numbers released by L’institut Haïtien de Statistique et d’ Informatique (IHSI) Belle Fontaine is a community of over forty thousand residents.

Belle Fontaine has had a heartbreaking medical history. In 2011, Belle Fontaine was so severely affected by cholera that Terres des Hommes, a Netherlands based non profit, built multiple rehydration and treatment centers in this area. Unfortunately, a few were damaged and one destroyed during hurricane Matthew.

Since the hurricane I’ve been in communication with community leaders in all four communal sections. I’ve created a committee that’s made of one community leader and one resident to ensure the voices and needs of the community are heard. They are responsible to do the same in each area that forms the four Belle Fontaine’s. It’s imperative to Pennies for Haiti that the community feels a partnership and not a dictatorship as we come alongside them for the betterment of the community.

Long before I even knew where Belle Fontaine was located; I knew I wanted to become part of this community and help save their children. On Sunday, October 23rd I thought I had the opportunity to do just that. We were running a mobile clinic in Belle Fontaine #1. The need was overwhelming. We could not have expected such a turn out. By the end of the clinic I realized we needed all of the following medications for all future clinics: cough medication, children antibiotics, pedialyte, children acetaminophen and ibuprofen, de worming medication, children vitamins, pre-natal vitamins, pregnancy exams and the list goes on and on!!!!

 

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Baby Julien in his mother’s arms

While there I wanted the pediatrician to examine any children suffering with malnutrition. We were introduced to a 1 year old baby boy named Julien. His Mom had just carried him for over 30 minutes to make it to the mobile clinic site. Even to the untrained eye it was clear the baby was suffering with severe acute malnutrition. Baby Julien’s hands, feet and stomach were swollen and poor baby was whimpering so ever softly. With the diagnosis of the pediatrician, what I had feared was confirmed. I immediately contacted the malnutrition center Pennies for Haiti works with and we headed back into town. During our very long ride of over three hours to the malnutrition center the parents were worried as they thought the baby had gotten. I hoped he had just fallen asleep in his Mama’s arms. Unfortunately, they were right, minutes after our arrival there Julien was pronounced dead; it was too late…there was nothing anyone could have done. I cried so hard I had an asthma attack that caused me to feel sharp pains in my arms, legs and chest. How and why was it possible I was feeling so much sadness, I had known Julien for such a short time yet I cried as if I had just loss a dear family member. I did not understand the sadness that consumed me, one thing I knew this could have been avoided had there been a malnutrition center closer to his home. In that painful moment I decided in memory of Julien, I would fight for others who are suffering just like he had been since August 5, 2016.

This story is sad not only because the baby passed away but the Sunday before we were distributing a donation of bread and peanut butter in that community. There are so many what ifs that has gone through my head since then. But I’m sure had there been regular mobile clinics servicing the area Julien would be alive today. Malnutrition has unnecessarily claimed one more life in Belle Fontaine. I want to spare another child and parent of Julien’s fate by starting a pediatric clinic in Belle Fontaine.
Bread, Sandals & Peanut Butter Distribution

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bread, sandals, peanut butter distribution

This call to action is different from that of the last six years. The budget for this project includes salaries for doctors, nurses, lab technicians, medicine, awareness programs and building clinics such as this one “Clinic in a Can”. I need your support in a way I’ve never asked before. This project needs many committed prayer warriors, volunteers, corporate sponsors, medical partnerships, grant writers; I need your help to save lives in Belle Fontaine. Let’s take this road together, please consider joining me in this fight. I thank you in advance for your prayers and continuous support. Together we will make a difference in the fight against malnutrition in Belle Fontaine, Haiti!

Make a Difference Day 2016 – Day at the Beach

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The storms have passed, the repairs are beginning, some places needing much more than others. But, in this one moment, on this one day, when there are no rains and only sunshine, on a beach not quite recovered yet, some beautiful orphaned children were brothers and sisters on the beach.

This is why Megan, Abby, and myself came here, to give them just an afternoon away. Originally it was to be just an afternoon away from the orphanage, but in the events after Hurricane Matthew, it also became a day away from thinking about places and people whose lives were forever changed. Although, lives were changed here as well in little, incremental parts, but the change in a single life is always profound.
Let me share two moments that truly touched my heart.

The first involved Abby and one of the little girls. She was so terrified to the point of tears of the water that she kept running back and forth between the edge of the water and where we had left our things on the beach. I asked Abby if she would just walk with her for a little bit, which she did, but that walk turned into a truly grace-filled moment. She sat down with the little girl on the beach, and slowly moved her more and more into the water with a tenderness and a care that moved that young girl past her fears and dried her tears and brought her into the water. You couldn’t keep her out after that.

The other moment took place at our lunch that we had there. Megan had been designated as the photographer for the day. It would’ve been easy enough to just take lots of pictures, but instead, with each photograph, she also asked the children how they were, how the food was, and if they were having fun. For Megan, it was more than the pictures. It was wanting to share in that moment with children who don’t usually sit at a table, and eat off of plates, and use knives and forks. That was the real image, one that couldn’t be captured with a camera, only with another heart.

The caring for, and offering of hearts have become the hallmark of every person who comes and ministers with us through “Pennies for Haiti.” I wanted to share these times with you and invite anyone who is reading this to pray about perhaps join us or make a donation to our cause. Be a part of bringing these children to even grander experiences in the future.

Written by: Fr. John

Make a Difference Day 2016 – Day at the Museum

We drove up behind the bus, I could see the children from the orphanage starring out the windows, the anticipation for the activities of the afternoon, so present on their faces. And then we walked up, Megan, Abby, Raygine and myself10-15-16-madd-mupanah the doors slid open on the side of the bus, and without hesitation children streamed out, immediately embracing everyone present. The smiles on their face weren’t just about seeing friends from the past, but the joy was that of people being reunited as family.

There is something that always amazed me about ministering to these young orphan children, it’s how profound their understanding of family really is.  And we have been welcomed into it. Today was a special day, some of the children had been chosen to go to the “Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien.” I was wondering as we were walking towards the door, how many of them actually know their history? Would they be like American kids who do not even care about their history? But in this beautiful moment, watching children hand in hand, ascend the staircase to the door, none of that matters.

As we enter in and begin the tour, two things become abundantly clear to me. One is their immense curiosity and desire to want to know things. They look at everything, point at everything, if its touchable, they want to touch everything. They may not understand the significance of everything, but they understand that this is a significant moment. The other is that this is a moment that they desire to share.  One of the children could not help but to stop and read every plaque she could find.  Not for herself alone, but because she was one of the few who liked to read, so she wanted to make sure everyone else knew what was to be learned.

Children have grabbed the hand of every hand possible, and were pulled along in the excitement of what is to be next. And it’s not just a thing they want to see, they want to see it though each other’s eyes, through our eyes. They want to see the excitement they feel, in everyone else. In moments like this, I really just like to sit back and observe everything. Take it all in, rejoice in it, but the little hands pulling on mine were not going to have any of that today. I wasn’t going to be allowed to just stay behind and observe, today I needed to be a part of everything. And I saw that in my companions as well. Abby being covered in the loving embrace of young girls pulling her through the gallery of Haitian artists and Megan trying to ask questions and then realizing that the small faces before her were more important then the answers.

Again, these memories, show forth, yet another aspect of what our ministry at Pennies for Haiti really is. It’s being pulled into the love of children. It’s being reminded that you just can’t stay on the sidelines and observe, it’s a recognizing that any questions that may come to mind can wait when a child is smiling with such innocence.

So I wanted to share this time with you and again as I always do, welcome you to be a part of our journey at Pennies for Haiti through your donations, through your prayer, and if you feel so called through your participation in our events.

Written by: Fr. John

2016 International Day of the Girl

 

Our October calendar is PACKED with activities!!! As we recognize International Day of the Girl, Pennies for Haiti is proud to say we will be celebrating 8 of our girls from the orphanage that we support on October 22nd. We have chosen to show these girls that they are “Queens” loved unconditionally by God. We’ve code named the day “Cinderella Day.” Everyone involved with this celebration is very excited. The plan is to spend a few hours painting pottery, followed by a pizza pool party. We will be spending the day at a hotel where the girls will be able to take first of all a hot shower and second not from a bucket. We will close out the day by having a “Princess Party” at a restaurant where the girls will have a buffet style dinner “all you can eat” and individual birthday cakes!!! We’ve had beautiful dresses, jeans, swim suits and various other articles donated in celebrations for the girls.

Thank you to all of our:

Sponsors: Days for Girls, Macy’s Clinique, Marion’s Gifts & Clothing

Donors: Cindy McBride, Joan Murzin, Shelley Morefield

This day could not be possible with your dedication the mission!!!

 

SOS for Belle Fontaine!

I want to first say thank you to the pouring of love and concern about the safety of my family and myself during the past few days. I have moved a lot over the years but I know more than ever that the people I’ve met were not just for a season but a lifetime. I am blessed for the relationship we have and proof that distance and time does not affect what we built so many years ago.

It’s been quite a busy few days trying to figure out the logistics of bringing relief aid to some of the nearby affected areas. I understand the lack of trust that exist following the reports of the large NGO’s wasting so much money in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. So many of you knew me before I created Pennies for Haiti and toady I ask that you trust me the person and not the history of NGOs in Haiti.

In recent days, we have received many calls in regards to dropping off donations; thank you so much I am grateful for the support. However, I wish I could say yes to all that we are being offered. Honestly, that’s the issue we can’t seem to find a way around right now. Any donation needing to be shipped will require that we pay shipping and customs fees. In addition, to the fees we have to wait in line to receive the shipment because there are thousands of donations for larger organizations coming into Haiti. I spoke to one of the shipping companies yesterday and they are not reducing their shipping fees in light of the Hurricane.

So I ask that you trust me and anyone on my board to make a monetary donation to Pennies for Haiti. You can hold me responsible to not only show you the receipts for all that we purchase here in Haiti, which is good for the local economy, but also to post pictures of the aid we distribute.

I am sure many of you have seen the pictures of the cities devastated by Hurricane Matthew. Pennies for Haiti will not go into a city that is already receiving aid from so many. Our focus is on an area named Belle Fontaine they have about 40,000 residents made up of four communities. In the last hour I have spoken to two people that are familiar with the area. I am told their primary need is food, medical attention and assistance with home repair. They are very worried about cholera affecting this area once again. The damages are as follows so far 4 reported deaths, 95% of destroyed homes and 100% of crop lost.

The worst affected of the communities is Belle Fontaine 4 even before the hurricane the roads were already inaccessible by vehicle you can only reach there by helicopter or horse/donkey. I am waiting to receive any pictures from the representatives to share with you.

My promise to you is that you can trust me to use every penny you donate to be given to the people that need it most. My family and I already started creating dental kits to distribute. We are not done yet! We have to get food and clean water supply to them. Please show your support and make a donation at the below link.
We are using PayPal Giving Fund instead of a gofundme account because 100% of your donation is deposited into the Pennies for Haiti account. PayPal Giving Fund pays all the transaction fees associated with a donation.
Pennies for Haiti PayPal Giving Fund

Cost:
55 lbs bag of rice — $17.00
50 lbs bag of beans — $33.00
Small bottle of oil — $4.00
Water tablets box — $4.00
Salt/Maggie — $2.00
Thank you for your trust and support!!!

Follow Me – 2016 Mission Trip

Follow Me Mission Trip
Follow Me Mission Trip

Dear Friends,

I have a very special mission trip opportunity to share with you!

Please accept our invitation to our upcoming “Follow Me – Mission Trip” from July 10 – 20, 2016; become a Follow Me International Haitian Missionary. We will be working with children living in an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Our objectives are to brighten the day of the children living in a sad and difficult situation. Join us in witnessing a transformation in the lives of young children; last year one of our missionaries had this to say “to watch a child whose eyes are dark, tearful and sad blossom into eyes filled with love, joy and wonder is truly miraculous and makes one question why we as God’s children do not do more to help these innocents.”

We are planning to…
1. Share the gospel
2. Expose the children to life skills such as art, music and gardening
3. Teach them how to speak English by starting an ESL program for them

DATES:
July 10 – 20, 2016

COST:
Airfare + $500 to help cover vehicle rental, housing, food, translators, and mission essentials.

Have you been praying about going on a mission trip? Have you heard the call to “go and make disciples of all nations?” Join us on this year’s mission trip. If you are interested in being an International Haitian Missionary on our Follow Me – 2016 Mission Trip, please complete our mission trip application at the following URL https://goo.gl/bI6jc1.

Volunteers will be placed according to their gifts and abilities. If you are unable to volunteer; we still need your help please consider making a donation towards the House of Hope project.

F. Garza one of our board members had this to say after her mission trip “Being with the children is always the most rewarding part and the familial atmosphere of the group of volunteers themselves is a blessing. I hope many more people become a part of this wonderful venture.

Sincerely,
Raygine Francois
Pennies for Haiti, Executive Director

Volunteer Grant Writer Needed!!!

In desperate need of a grant writer!!! Please let me know if you or someone you know is available to look over a grant for me…time is of the essence less than 30 days to get this done.

We have the opportunity to apply for a grant for our “Feeding Haiti’s Children” project. This project is projected to feed 2500 children this year. Your assistance is greatly needed and appreciated for this grant writer request.

I can be reached at rfrancois@penniesforhaiti.org. Thank you for your assistance regarding this matter.