In so many ways, our 2023 School Supply Project was a HUGE success. Beginning with hiring 15 past and current students of Restore Haiti, along with a graduate of our Sponsorship Program, Yanicka Volcy, for our Sewing Team. Yanicka was given the job of managing our Sewing Team, which was responsible for making, from start-to-finish, over 1,000 backpacks for our students. This provided some income for the team members and provided them with the opportunity to learn new tailoring skills and business practices that they can now use to assist them in obtaining additional job opportunities with other NGOs, businesses, or through self-employment.
Some members of our Sewing Team, along with the team manager, Yanicka Volcy (a graduate of our Student Sponsorship Program) hard at work making over 1,000 backpacks from start to finish that were filled with school supplies purchased from local merchants in Haiti.
As mentioned above, all of the school supplies that were purchased to go into the backpacks were bought from local Haitian merchants. In years past, we would typically purchase the school supplies and backpacks in the U.S. and have them shipped to Haiti, but for the past two years we have (and will continue) to purchase as many supplies and program need materials in-country, thus helping the Haitian economy and financially supporting local merchants. And finally, after the culmination of all the hard work of making hundreds of backpacks and purchasing huge amounts of pens, notebooks, rulers, pencil crayons etc. our Haitian staff were ready for the distribution of these items to our students. Through the generous donations of our student sponsors and other donors who helped cover the cost of the backpacks and school supplies, we were able to provide a new backpack and age and grade appropriate school supplies to our over 1,000 students as they headed back to school this fall.
Our Director of National Operations, Fedony Charles, and all of our amazing staff in Haiti organized and distributed the backpacks and school supplies over a two week period in the three communities that we support ... Carrefour, Morne Oge, and Matador.
Distributions of backpacks filled with school supplies were recently completed in the three communities that we support. In total over 1,000 backpacks were given out to our students as they headed back to school this fall.
All of our staff in Haiti are truly remarkable. They are our boots-on-the ground, running our programs independently of our North American staff and volunteer team trip members who would typically assist in our operations in Haiti, such as our Backpack & School Supply Project and Distribution. Unfortunately, staff and volunteer team travel to Haiti has not been possible due to the ongoing political and gang activity upheaval that has made travelling to Haiti non-existent at this time and for the past several months, so we rely on our Haitian staff to keep operations running smoothly.
Thank you to all who donated financially or who supported this project in other ways. YOU helped send all of our students off to school this fall with smiles in their hearts and equipped with the tools needed for a successful school year. As seen in the last clip in the video above, our students are so very thankful for your support ... mèsi (thank you)!!