Peterson (Peter), Wideline, and Lovelyca are siblings, and their family lives along the coastline not far from the Thrive Ansanm resource center. You might remember them from our previous post By The Sea. When many of us think of an oceanfront home, we imagine beautiful houses and pristine sandy beaches, but this is far from the reality here. At one time this area was essentially a garbage dump, but after the 2010 earthquake, many people lost their homes and relocated here where they constructed temporary, makeshift shelters. For Peter, Wideline, and Lovelyca’s family, this “temporary” shelter has been their dwelling since they lost their home in the earthquake, so it’s the only home they’ve ever known.
When we first met this family a couple of years ago, the three kids had ever been school, but through the generous support of our donors, they were able to go to back to school. They all passed their classes, but then due to covid, political instability, and a lack of funding they had to take a break, but thanks to your support they’re all back in school as of Monday!
First day back to school.
When you support students through Thrive Ansanm, you’re not just paying for their school, but you’re connecting them to a local mentor, and supplying them with everything they need to succeed. The girl’s mentor, Alexandra, went all over town last week purchasing backpacks, shoes and basic hygienic items such as soap and shampoo. We also purchased basic school supplies such as books, notebooks, crayons, and pencils.
Not only are these children receiving an education, but they’ll also receive a good lunch every day through the school’s lunch program. This is a really big deal because most families battling severe poverty are lucky to get even one substantial meal each day, so not only do we know that the kids will get the sustenance they need to focus at school, but this takes a tremendous amount of pressure off their parents who, like most Haitians, do not have steady employment. Now their parents can be confident that if they provide one solid meal per day, then this combined with the school lunch will keep their kids healthy and growing.
We all know that sometimes kids need a little prodding to get up early and go to school, but this is not a problem for Peter, Wideline, and Lovelyca. In Haiti, children are often separated into two broad categories “timoun lari” which means “street children” and “timoun lekòl” which means “school children.” Children such as Peter, Wideline, and Etienne who were previously “timoun lari” look upon the “timoun lekòl” with longing, perhaps even envy.
In Haiti, children are often separated into two broad categories “timoun lari” which means “street children” and “timoun lekòl” which means “school children.”
If you’re one of the street children, it can be easy to feel like you’re not worth much or that you’ll never do anything with your life. So when these kids, put on their uniforms and head to school, it’s more than just a school day. It’s pride and dignity. It’s an affirmation that they are valuable, and they deserve to learn and have someone invest in their lives.
My favorite moment happened a few days ago, when I dropped by their house with our friend Jimmy who we hired to sew uniforms for the kids. When it was Peter’s turn to try on his shirt, he was attempting to keep his face serious, trying to act grown-up, but he couldn’t suppress a bashful smile that lit up his face as he donned his uniform. For him, that uniform is a reminder that he’s not just a “street kid.” He is a bright, intelligent young man who has a unique purpose in this world.