It’s a new year for us at Overture International, and we are starting it #HaitiSTRONG thanks to our committed group of donors and partners like you.
On the tails of an incredible year-end campaign, we eagerly look ahead to all that 2021 holds in store for the children, families and communities of Haiti.
Here are a few highlights…
Celebrating family reunification
Throughout the start of the year, we highlighted different stories of family reunification to show the importance of this work. Not only does it benefit the children and the families – we believe it lends to building stronger communities and a stronger Haiti overall.
-Three siblings reunited
Together, we celebrated the fact that three siblings, ages 11, 14 and 17, will be spending this new year with their biological family. Previously, these siblings lived at the orphanage because the parents could not provide shelter, education, nutrition and other basic needs. The oldest brother had been there since 2006 and his two sisters since 2013. Earlier this year, through our Family Preservation Program, they were reunited with their parents and four other siblings.
This family received a new home where they can all live comfortably together. The children are enrolled at a school near their home and participate in family empowerment workshops at Camp Perrin! Because they depend on agriculture as their source of income, they're also receiving farm support and animals to expand their income capacity.
This month, we also introduced you to Lovemaille, a young girl who left the orphanage in August 2019 and was reunited with her family. Surrounded again by a loving family and with additional support from our Family Preservation Program, she has matured and flourished as every young girl should.
Through an educational scholarship, Lovemaille attends a school in her community and has made many friends. Her mother recently shared what it means to have Lovemaille back with their family: "Even if our situation is not good, her presence at our side allows us to follow her habits and her development. Lovemaille is an affectionate and enjoyable child."
-Rolando and his grandmother
After his mother died, Rolando’s grandmother began to take care of him. But when she wasn’t able to provide good clothes and healthy food for him, he went to live at an orphanage.
Now with the support of our Family Preservation Program, Rolando is back at home where he belongs. He gets along with his family members and friends and is even improving his grades! Despite the economic difficulties this family continues to face, Rolando is much happier at home.
Part of our Family Preservation program includes coaching parents on ways they can improve their economic capacities. Currently, we have several parents who are starting new businesses to support their families! Our social workers provide business training, helping the parents with their plans, budget and strategies to overcome challenges when managing a business. We’re excited to empower these parents as they embark on new business opportunities in 2021.
Philo class at ESPWA!
In Haiti, there's a 13th year of education required for those who desire to go to university called Philo. Last year, we decided to implement this program at the ESPWA campus! Because many of the students are unable to pay the cost of this class, we only require a small fee from them (about 10% of a normal tuition). This has given many students – both men AND women – the opportunity to seek higher education that was otherwise out of reach for them.
On January 29 each year, Haiti’s students celebrate Philosopher’s Day. This year, although the country is going through a major political crisis, our students celebrated with pride because this day is a symbol of their great achievement. They use this day to think about the goals they have from their life beyond school. Parents are especially proud of their child's educational accomplishment because they have made great sacrifices to assure their child attends school all the way through to Philo! Their child’s success will be a benefit to the whole family.
January Information Sessions
As a follow up to our first sessions in October where we shared why ESPWA is no longer an orphanage, we hosted our second round of 90-minute interactive virtual sessions in January! In these three sessions, we focused on how empowering and strengthening families is how to build a stronger Haiti. We also covered the importance of role models for families, how we provide personal and vocational skills training and how these and other steps equip parents and children to stay and grow stronger together as a family.
Thank you to everyone who attended one of these information sessions! We look forward to holding more in the future.