Hello from Health for Haiti! We have some updates to share from Grande Saline and a new scholarship program to tell you about.
Health for Haiti is excited to announce that we are working with Dr. Gary Valsaint and Pastor Dorcent Berlando to offer a health clinic in Grande Saline one day each month. Dr. Gary and his staff will see patients at the church in Grande Saline and continue to distribute the over-the-counter and prescription medications that were collected by the 2017 Health for Haiti class. The first clinic was held on February 10th. The team saw 120 patients and gave out 10 pairs of eyeglasses. Dr. Gary sends his thanks to the Health for Haiti donors because this community is in great need of medical care and appreciates the opportunity. Health for Haiti donations will be used to help support this monthly clinic throughout 2017. Professor Hankin and I would like to thank Dr. Gary and his staff and pastor Berando and his staff for organizing the clinic and making sure that it was run efficiently. You can see some pictures of the February 10th clinic below.
We would also like to issue a special thank you to StarSmilez for their generous donations of puppets and stickers over the past four years. The puppets are used by Health for Haiti students to teach the Haitian children how to properly bush their teeth. The children really love to use the puppets. The kids also enjoy receiving a sticker, and the stickers are really useful for helping us to keep track of which children have received a fluoride varnish. Thank you StarSmilez (https://starsmilez.com/) for helping us to bring better oral health (and a lot of smiles!) to the communities we serve in Haiti.
Things are progressing well at the sewing school in Grande Saline. The teachers, Dana and Chesnil, report that the students are continuing to do great work. After Dr. Gay’s economic development lecture in January, the teachers and students were inspired to start making some small bags that can be used to store and protect cell phones. We hope to sell these beautiful hand-made bags to help support the sewing school.
In other news, the newly constructed large classroom is now being used for classes. Students can learn in the church or one of the three classrooms that Health for Haiti has helped the community to build. The wood for the children’s desks was also purchased with money donated to Health for Haiti and the desks were built by members of the Grande Saline community.
In not so good news, we have had a lot trouble with one of the generators used to power the water filtration system. However, with some help from Greg, the operators have managed to keep the system running on one generator. These generators havebeen used almost every day for two years, and they are starting to fail. Access to clean water is so integral to the health of this community, and it is a primary goal of Health for Haiti to continue to support this initiative. We are working hard with Jeff Smith, of the Endwell Rotary, and Dr. Gay Canough, of the Endicott Rotary and ETM Solar Works, to put together a Rotary International Global Grant to fund purchase and installation of solar panels that can power the water filtration system. We are excited to be very close to the funding we need to raise in order to apply for matching funds from Rotary International. Thank you so much to the Rotary clubs, corporate partners, and community organizations who have pledged money to this project. Switching the system from gas to solar-power will be a huge leap forward in making this project secure and sustainable for the community of Grande Saline. We hope to reach our funding goal in the next couple of weeks.
Lastly, we would like to introduce an new initiative to help increase educational opportunities for children in Grande Saline and support the teachers and primary school in this community. Working with Pastor Berlando, we have identified several local children who are unable to attend school or who are in danger of having to leave school because their family cannot afford the school fees. The “Grande Saline Helping Children School Scholarship Program” is a way to link donors with children and families who need help. Anyone who is interested in helping to support a child’s education in Grande Saline can fill out this form (https://healthforhaiti.org/grande-saline-helping-children-school-scholarship/) to indicate how much support they are able to offer (anything from $10 to $130). Donors will be matched with a child who needs their help. We can then share information about the child and the child’s family, and hope to provide some periodic updates about his or her progress. Below you can see some of the first recipients of a scholarship from the Grande Saline Helping Children School Scholarship Program. If you want to participate, you can click the link above or on the tab at the top of the Health for Haiti website. There is no long term obligation and even $10 can make a difference for one of these kids.
As always, thank you for your continued support of the Health for Haiti projects!