Supporters Fund A New Place to Learn in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2020) Family, friends and supporters are making the dream of a new school a real possibility for students and staff in Milot, Bonnet à l'Evêque, Haiti, thanks to the Food For The Poor Building Dreams virtual event.
The Zoom gathering on Thursday set the ball in motion for funds to rebuild Ecole Claire Heureuse de Milot, a tuition-free school for nearly 200 students.
Event Chairman Fr. Medard Laz, a FFTP supporter for nearly two decades, expressed gratitude to guests. He assured them that their gifts would give children living in poverty an opportunity to build dreams of opportunity.
"I want to thank everyone who joined us on our virtual event," Fr. Laz said. "We all have dreams and the pandemic has put some of our dreams on hold for a while, but you can help our sisters, brothers and their children who are just off our shores to fulfill their dreams. They aren't looking for a handout, they are looking for a hand up. With Food For The Poor, your donations will actually reach and touch the people in Haiti who need help the most."
Jennifer Charles, a South Florida Physician Assistant, was one of several speakers at the FFTP Building Dreams event. Every year, she travels to Haiti on medical missions, something she's done since the 2010 earthquake. On one of those trips, she learned about the dire needs at Ecole Claire Heureuse de Milot, an old house that's been converted to serve as a school.
Charles, who is of Haitian heritage, spoke about her mission of overseeing the school and the positive impact a new building will have on students, staff and the entire community of Milot.
"Poverty is a vicious cycle that gets passed down from generation to generation," Charles said. "The average income is about $2 per day and the primary schools in Haiti, 90 percent of them are private, with only 10 percent of them being public. An educational center will benefit this community whose population is already vulnerable due to the lack of resources. This project will empower those directly affected by poverty to dismantle this cycle."
Milot is a community of around 10,000 people and is located 12 miles south of Cap-Haitien. Funds from the Building Dreams virtual event will be used to construct a nine-classroom school, a cafeteria, an eight-stall sanitation block, four solar-powered streetlamps and a 6,500-gallon reservoir for clean water. The school also will be used for adult literacy and vocational training.
Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor EVP & Chief Marketing Officer, also spoke about the priceless gift of education and the impact it will have on the current and future generations of students.
"We need a school in the city of Milot, and we need it because there are many young people there with beautiful brains and we want to make sure it doesn't go to waste," Aloma said. "I was a teacher in Catholic schools for 28 years before my 20 years with Food For The Poor, and I understand that an education will allow them to live more abundantly. An education will allow them to appreciate art, to love poetry, to love music, to destroy prejudice and bigotry. It also will allow them to have a life of dignity and success."
One of the highlights of the event was a tribute to Andrew and Florette Sokulski. For 14 years, the couple hosted Dreams, Past & Present, Julie's Legacy Dinner with Fr. Laz to build homes, community centers, clinics and schools throughout Haiti. All of this was to honor the memory of their daughter who died at the age of 32.
"Sixteen years ago, Florette and Andy invited me out to dinner; they wanted to talk about how they felt the Lord was calling them to do something really special to remember their daughter, Julie," Fr. Laz said. "Each year we have taken on a new project for a village, a school for the children, and a hospital for those who are sick. They have worked hard year after year to make this happen and we are so grateful to them. Thousands of people in Haiti have joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces because of them."
To make a donation toward the building of Ecole Claire Heureuse de Milot, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/buildingdreams.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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