HIH funds three local schools serving children preschool through 12th grade in NanWo and Kawo. In classrooms divided by age and grade, the students are learning French, English, math, writing, reading, social studies and singing. Teachers primarily utilize route memory and the call and response teaching methods with students seated on benches facing the classroom’s large chalkboard. Each sponsored child attending school receives classroom teaching 5 days a week, books, school supplies, hot lunches during the school week and a new school uniform annually. Most importantly these children are receiving hope for a better life because of their education. Sponsorships at $30 USD/month per child make this possible.
Nan wo is about a mile south of the city of Dessalines, which can be found near the center of a map of Haiti. Kawo, which actually means “the mountains” is not a particular village but a region southeast of Dessalines up in the mountains. There are no roads into the mountains so when we walk to Kawo it is a 13 mile, 10 hour hike gaining 3500 feet of elevation. Rigorous in the heat to say the least but worth every ounce of sweat and toil to be able to serve these beautiful people. In the near future, we hope to expand our efforts to work with a larger population in the Kawo region and we are also open to expanding to other areas in Haiti.
Although our primary focus at HIH is our schools, the positive effects of HIH’s work ripple through each community. HIH funds jobs for 20+ full time workers, including teachers, directors, cooks and janitors in these local communities funneling funds into those local economies. The construction of HIH schools is currently being done with local materials and labor, further supporting these economies. The school lunch program eases the burden for families in a country where 70%-90% of their income is used for food and 3-10 children per family is the norm.
In addition, teams led by Dixie Montgomery visit these communities at least twice a year bringing supplies and providing oversight, accountability and encouragement. On several of our trips we have also provided fluoride treatments, dental education and new toothbrushes for each child attending a HIH school. As medical needs surface within the communities where we work, HIH is able to notify our donor and sponsor network of the needs and funds can be sent to help with specific medical costs.
One example, was a young boy in HIH’s Nan Wo school who needed surgery for his eyes to continue his education and a normal life. The $1000 USD needed for his corrective surgery was a staggering amount for his mother but was affordable for a sponsor here in Washington state. The funds were wired to Haiti where the boy and his mother traveled to a hospital in the capital where he underwent successful surgery. The young boy has now graduated from HIH’s primary school and is continuing his education in a secondary school.
This story is representative of the many lives that are being impacted as sponsors and donors partner with HIH to provide hope to the beautiful people of Haiti. To learn more or be a part of HIH’s extraordinary work please see our volunteer page!