Determined to build a school, 11-year-old needs your help
ABC Channel 10 report on Rachel Wheeler’s school building initiative.
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Aug. 10, 2011) — In May, 11-year-old Rachel Wheeler traveled to Haiti to dedicate the village for which she fundraised for two years. It was built with the nonprofit Food For The Poor. The residents in “Rachel’s Village” greeted her with a hero’s welcome, clapping and singing songs of praise and thanks. It was here, in the coastal village of Kay Piti, in Leogane, among the new vibrantly painted homes, that Rachel realized that not all children are able to attend school. Determined to make a difference, Rachel’s new goal is to build a school.
“I want to build a school because they need education to make their lives better so they can learn and teach their own children how to have a better life,” said Rachel Wheeler, who was named one of America’s 2011 top 10 youth volunteers out of approximately 29,000 applicants.
Rachel’s school will be constructed in Reap de Morel, Leogane, near the epicenter of the January 2010 earthquake. Prior to the earthquake, 250 students from kindergarten to the sixth grade were registered and attended the school. Classes are currently held in a one-room, makeshift structure that floods when it rains. Rusted sheet-metal, pieces of wood and blue tarps offer students little protection from the weather.
Students at Ti Aiyti, in Cite Soleil, energized Rachel Wheeler.
“Without education, Haiti will never be able to improve the lives of its people,” said Rachel, who is preparing to enter the sixth grade at Zion Lutheran School in Deerfield Beach, Fla.
While in Haiti, Rachel and her family visited the Food For The Poor-sponsored school Ti Aiyti in Cité Soleil. The students, dressed in blue and white uniforms, greeted guests with laughter, smiles, handmade cards, and performances.
“I believe that knowledge is power,” said Julie Wheeler, Rachel’s mother. “Education is the solution to poverty. Seeing the school in Cité Soleil gave me hope, those children are the future leaders of their country.”
In addition to providing supplies, Food For The Poor also supports school feeding programs. For many poor children, the nutritious meal they receive at school may be their only meal of the day. The meals not only help a child concentrate, learn and develop, but they also serve as a powerful incentive for parents to send their children to school.
“Rachel is an incredible young lady who has dreams of a better life for poor children,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director. “With the construction of this school, children from Rachel’s Village and the surrounding area will be able to wear uniforms, walk proudly to school and learn how to read and write.”
Rachel’s school will replace this one-room, makeshift structure that floods when it rains.
Food For The Poor’s August 2011 newsletter features a young girl who said that if God could answer any of her prayers, she would ask Him to answer two. “I’d ask God to help my family, because the living conditions here are very bad. And I’d ask God to send me to school,” said Filona Bernard, 13, who is unable to attend school because there is not enough money for a school uniform, books, and other essentials.
“I like school because I think that without school, you can’t succeed in life. You can’t be anything,” said Filona, who watches her six younger siblings while her mother is at the local market, selling mangoes for five cents apiece.
To support Rachel’s building initiative, tax-deductible donations can be made through the charity’s secure website at www.FoodForThePoor.org/Rachel. Donations can also be mailed to Food For The Poor, 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. Please make checks payable to Food For The Poor and include the special source code “SC# 80982” to accurately route your donation to the school-building effort.
Months ago, as Rachel boarded a Food For The Poor fishing boat to leave Rachel’s Village, the residents called out and waved to her from the beach, saying, “You are always welcome here. Please come back.” It is as if they knew Rachel’s determination would someday bring her back to Haiti.
Filona Bernard, like many children in Haiti, pray for the opportunity to attend school.
Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.
For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Jennifer Leigh Oates
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054