In 2010-2011 the Haitian American Caucus announced its volunteer placements. This was a great opportunity for friends to volunteer in Haiti in a safe and productive way. $25 per day provided individual volunteers with three meals a day, lodging, and in-country transport. The compound has on-site security, electricity, running water, and internet.
Volunteers had the opportunity to work in various fields including:
Community Garden, Tree Nursery and Seed bank
In an effort to provide economic development, HAC is building the capacity of local farmers in a variety of ways. Farmers now have access to improved farming techniques that yield higher outputs on their crops. We are also building a tree nursery and garden to provide subsidized plants to give them an edge on getting into the global market.
Haiti’s streets are filled with the evidence of the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives here. HAC is capitalizing on this already present interest in entrepreneurship and providing resources to take business owners into viable, sustainable businesses.
The Haitian American Caucus has begun a project to provide interested families that display need with a female goat. In an effort to sustain the project, exponentially expand its effects and give families the opportunity to become a donor themselves, HAC facilitates the “gifting” of a female goat. After the first offspring, the owner of the goat will pass on a kid back to HAC to sustain the project and one to another community family who will start the same process.
Metal Artisans Project
The Metal Artisans Project aims to increase the capacity of local artists to reach international markets while sharing the beauty and pride of Haitian artwork. Economic development is a priority at HAC. 50% of the proceeds go to the artists while the remainder of the proceeds directly support HAC programs in Haiti.
Community English Courses
Haiti’s proximity to the United States and English’s growing prominence in global markets is making the English language an attractive quality to prospective employers in Haiti. After many in the Croix-des-Bouquets area displayed interest in learning English, HAC started three English courses in 2010: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
Illiteracy rates in Haiti are currently hovering 70%. This not only limits employment opportunities, but also makes the population vulnerable. For example, consumers in the marketplace can easily be taken advantage of when they are unable to do simple arithmetic. HAC is combating this statistic by offering literacy courses to adults in Croix-des-Bouquets.
Education is the foundation for the development of communities and nations. In Haiti, over 90% of primary schools are private and require their students to pay tuition, books, and uniform costs. The result is that families are often forced to choose between which children to send to school and many students miss out on months to years of education when their family is unable to pay. HAC is supporting Ecole Shalom in Michaud, a small community in Croix-des-Bouquets to provide a quality education for all children, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay. This school was established in 2003 and as of school year 2011-2012, over 50 students are enrolled.
Teachers’ Summer Institute
There was a huge shortage of teachers in Haiti that have received adequate training to prepare them for the difficult task of teaching several subjects to various ages, not too mention other issues that arise in the classroom setting. The Haitian American Caucus recognizes this injustice and has proposed to start an annual Teachers Summer Institute. During this week-long program, teachers from around the area, and eventually the country, would participate in advanced training led by volunteers from Haiti and around the world. These teachers would then take the practices back to their schools and for each teacher trained an average of 25 students a year would benefit. In total, we’re looking at impacting over 2500 new children each year.
The Women’s Empowerment project came about on March 8th 2011 which was International Women’s Day. HAC decided to celebrate the women of the community through song, encouragement and sharing a meal. During this event, community women decided to begin meeting once a week to discuss various issues and socialize. “Cercle de l’Amitie de la Ferme Blanchard” or “Circle of Friends from La Ferme Blanchard” was established.
Since this initial meeting, they are already mobilizing to realize goals discussed in their meetings. Personal development classes such as computer, sewing, cooking, art classes, English classes are in the process of forming. The ladies also decided to have a committee to help them better achieve their goals.
HAC proudly hosts quarterly community meetings where members can present their concerns to their elected officials. This is through a partnership with the Croix-des-Bouquets Mayor’s Office.
For more details: http://www.idealist.org/view/program/JnCX2nkks7mD/
Visit the HAC blog: http://hacus.org/blog/
Visit HAC on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Haitian-American-Caucus-Haiti/182529828483449