Don't send food; it only lasts a day. Please send us education; it lasts a lifetime!
—Ralph Lapointe, Mayor, Ganthier, Haiti
After the earthquake in 2010, everyone wanted to help Haiti. Maybe you, like many others, sent a donation. But perhaps you wondered, would your contribution really make any lasting difference? How could you be sure that your money would be used effectively and not wasted?
In Ganthier, Foundation For Peace (FFP) did not presume to tell the Haitians what they needed; we asked. The Ganthier provincial government responded that there was no vocational school in the entire region, and they desperately needed one to lift themselves out of poverty. They were willing to donate five acres of land if FFP would build an educational complex there. Community members have said that the educational complex is "the answer to our prayers." Many will literally walk several miles from their home to the site, just to volunteer their labor. The vocational school is aptly named "Lekòl Pwofesyonèl Men nan Men" (Hand-in-Hand Professional School).
Thanks in large part to volunteer mission teams from groups such as Konekte and Westerly Road Church, the first floor of the vocational school building is now essentially complete, but the second floor remains to be built. Funds are needed now so that the school can be completed in 2013. FFP is committed to finishing the construction, but if funds are not raised now then the completion date will be postponed to 2014 or later, and the students' education will be correspondingly delayed.
If you want to do more than just donate a few dollars towards temporary relief, and want to be part of a long-term solution, then supporting the construction of this school is one of the best ways we know of doing it.
What We Need
Volunteer missions teams are expected to provide about $100,000 in 2013 towards the completion of the school building. However, we need funds to pay Haitian workers to continue the construction when volunteers are not around. The estimated cost of labor for the second floor of the school building is $30,000, and that is what we are aiming to raise with the current campaign.
Ideally, we would like to raise $80,000, because then we will have funds for the other needs of the educational complex, such as solar energy and a water supply.
If we raise less than $30,000, then the amount raised will still be used to build as much of the second floor as we have funds for, but construction will stall when the money runs out, until volunteer teams arrive to resume work.
FAQ: Why Should I Trust FFP?
If you don't already have some healthy skepticism towards NGOs working in Haiti, then you ought to develop some! We encourage you to ask penetrating questions of any NGO that you donate towards, including our own.
When you choose a non-governmental organization (NGO) to support, it is vital to pick one that (1) is committed to long-term development and not just short-term aid; (2) has strong accountability structures in place; (3) has enthusiastic local community support; and (4) uses funds effectively by hiring Haitians and stimulating the economy, rather than just paying foreigners to work in Haiti. FFP strongly emphasizes all four areas.
Here are some more reasons to trust FFP.
- Every year, FFP hosts scores of volunteers, who visit Haiti personally and not only witness firsthand what FFP is doing, but also work side-by-side with Haitians on the construction site. Accountability happens not just through paperwork but through firsthand participation.
- FFP makes a concerted effort to hire and train Haitians whenever possible, so that salary money goes directly into the pockets of Haitians rather than of Americans working in Haiti. While volunteers from the U.S. provide accountability and financial support, skilled Haitian laborers can accomplish the actual construction much more quickly and economically.
- FFP has already been conducting language classes this past year, borrowing classroom space from another school. On October 13, 2012, we held an inauguration ceremony to celebrate the completion of the first-floor classrooms. Hundreds of members of the community showed up to demonstrate their support! So the school is already off to a running start. Several organizations, such as Konekte, have already expressed interest in teaching future classes.
- FFP has a track record of successful projects. See our website or YouTube for more information, or contact our Executive Director, Ken Culver, at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
FAQ: Do I need to create a PayPal account to donate?
No. You only need a credit card with a billing address. Go ahead and click on the "Contribute" button under "Complete your contribution via PayPal," but then just fill out the section "Pay with a credit or debit card" and uncheck the box labeled "Save this information with a PayPal account." Your credit-card payment will then be processed by PayPal without creating a PayPal account. Your contribution will be tax-deductible because FFP is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
FAQ: Who is the girl in the photo at the top of this page?
Her name is Loudwich. Her mother died in the earthquake, and until recently, Loudwich was living in a tent in Ganthier with her aunt. Her aunt is an amazing woman who has helped with the construction of the Men Nan Men vocational school and has taught at the College Mixte Marius Carnold.
Haitians pride themselves on their resilience in the face of adversity. Imagine if you were in Loudwich’s position, an orphan living for a couple of years in a tent. Would you find anything to smile about? I don’t know about you, but I am humbled by Loudwich’s zest for life.
Supporting the Men Nan Men vocational school will help give the young people in Ganthier the job skills they need to build a better life for their children—children like Loudwich.
See our gallery for more photos of Loudwich.
FAQ: I can't donate money right now. Can I still help?
Yes! There are many other ways you can help us achieve our goals:
- Spread the word about this campaign! If you're on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to click the icons at the top of this page, just below the video. Just getting more people to visit this page will help us a lot.
- Come to Haiti as a volunteer on one of our missions trips, or as an intern, and participate firsthand in rebuilding Haiti. Read more about internships on Chris's blog and Andrea's blog.
- Volunteer in the United States by helping to pack containers of supplies to ship to Haiti, or sell craft items, or create health education materials.
FAQ: What are the plans for the long-term sustainability of the school?
If you have read this far, you are probably seriously interested in development in Haiti and are aware that constructing a school building is relatively easy compared to the challenge of keeping the school running in the long term. A building is a one-time cost but teacher salaries, school supplies, utilities, etc., are ongoing needs. These pose significant challenges, but FFP is optimistic about long-term sustainability for the following reasons:
- The language classes have been operating for two years already and have been sustainable with student fees alone, except for two volunteer teachers from the U.S. who have taught without pay. So far there has been no shortage of U.S. teachers willing to teach, and partner organizations such as Konekte are committed to providing volunteers and raising funds for teacher salaries.
- Since the opening of the first-floor classrooms, enrollment in the school has exceeded expectations. The school is therefore getting more income than expected from student fees, allowing the school to expand and hire more teachers.
- Once the second floor is complete, the school plans to offer classes in Haitian Creole targeted at American NGO workers in Haiti. These classes are expected to turn a profit and to boster the financial stability of the school.
Team on This Campaign:
FFP volunteer from Westerly Road Church
Associate director of FFP
Kenneth Culver M.D.
Executive director of FFP
FFP national director of Haiti
Director of Global Outreach, Westerly Road Church
Co-founder of Konekte
Co-founder of Konekte