“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela
NOV. 19, 2019 UPDATE
Ok, first the good news. About a month ago, Winter received $350 raised so far from my Rajepre Go Fund Me drive. It paid for tools, cement, and jobs for 5 people (the builder, his helper, and two teachers). Below is a photo of just some of the school work that was completed because of it.
The bad news? Haiti is in the midst of some of the worst unrest it has ever seen. Violent protests have pretty much shut down the fragile economy that was never great, but at least it was something. Schools have been closed for months, gas is in short supply, and the price of food continues to rise. Ongoing curfews mean most Haitians are confined to their homes for days at a time with no electricity, bad water, and little food. Winter says that he spends most of his time playing dominos and reading. Can you even imagine that being your life? For months at a time?
I plan to keep sending Winter a few dollars when I can, to help him survive this very difficult time. Please consider donating even $5 or $10 and we maybe can help him and his family get through this struggle that I pray is just temporary. Thanks so much for any help anyone can offer.
A FUNDRAISER FOR A SCHOOL IN HAITI
Winter Luc is a friend who lives in Haiti, and has been struggling for years to build a school in a safe location for some of the neediest children in his neighborhood. Right now he just needs $2000 for buy cement to build his walls. Please see all the ways you can support him, listed below (hint: they don’t all involve giving money.)
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT RAJEPRE
• DOWNLOAD THIS TAP TAP COLORING PAGE and share it with your students to raise awareness of Haiti. Tap Taps are one of the main forms of transportation in Haiti. You reach out and “tap tap” the side when you want off the truck.
• DOWNLOAD THIS HAITI MINI MURAL and share it with your students to help raise awareness about Haiti.
MY HAITI STORY
Late one night, about ten years ago, I got an email from a stranger, which ended up affecting my life in a way that I never would have expected.
The message was from a woman who shared that she and her friends had used one of my murals when they went to make art with orphans in Haiti (not too long after the huge 2010 earthquake). Learning about this ambitious group of women that were actually doing something for those in need, really intrigued me. I jumped on board with them, helped raised money and supplies and joined them on their second trip.
That visit was an eye opener, to say the least. I was struck by the tenacity of everyone I met — all who had difficult lives even before Mother Nature made it harder still. The children’s joy in having outside visitors come and spend time with them though, was so infectious that I was hooked.
The next year we tried to do even more. More supplies, more classes, reaching more children and organizations. That’s when something happened that I’ll never forget.
To put it in perspective, it had taken months of planning and preparing to get us and all our supplies from California to Port-Au-Prince. Once there, we hired drivers to take us and all our things to a new outlying school. We arrived at a cinderblock building with many excited children ranging from toddlers to teens.
As the children settled in their bench seats, I started handing out watercolor trays, brushes and little paper cups of water for paint, only to have every child happily look at the cup … quickly drink it … and point for more.
I tried to sign to them, “Noooo … it’s not for drinking”, but the language barrier and the realization of what I was really saying just struck me. I had come all this way to show them how to paint, but they were thirsty. Just plain thirsty.
All kinds of questions started filling my head. I mean, would we maybe have been better off by just handing them the money we had raised? Instead of bringing fancy art supplies? Was I really doing what was best? Or what I just thought was best?
The good news is that it opened a new perspective for me. I started asking more from those who had been on the ground longer than I, and my group adapted by bringing food and snacks wherever we traveled after that. Still, the big lesson was how easy it is too make assumptions for those in need, something I’m still learning more about.
“Strengthening something that is already working has been proven to be the best hope for change.” — Winter Luc
— Kathy, ArtProjectsForKids.org