News from Haiti

June 2015 – Ailish’s Blog

June 1st our Chache Lavi team meet for the first official day of the program.  Girlande Louissant is to be the program Facilitator and in time will run the program in Ileavache.  Josiane Bazile is the Agent de Terrain and will be the community liaison.  We have no time to rest on our laurels as in five days time we have our program launch. The week includes devising and practicing a sketch to give the community a sense of what Chache Lavi will bring to Ileavache.  We have selected a sketch as a way to cross the communication barriers of poor literacy levels and language skills. It is a great success and the accompanying drums add great energy to the program.  Girlande and Josiane get a complete surprise when we present them with their certificates for passing the training program at FEJ. There are representatives from more than 26 local community groups in attendance at the launch.  It is live on local radio Vole FM. And a week later we get a full page 15 coverage in Le Nouvelliste; Haiti’s national newspaper.  (I buy up all the copies I can to give to everyone on Ileavache)  All the speeches including Soul of Haiti’s are delivered in Kreyol!  ORFAIV, a local women’s organisation organise a song to close the proceedings.  It is one everyone knows and completely embodies the spirit of the day.   One measure of the success of the launch is that the weekend after it, when I am out for a walk people are calling out Chache Lavi.  We are delighted, […]
By |July 16th, 2015|Uncategorized|

New Office For Chache Lavi

  Chache Lavi, Soul of Haiti Womens Empowerment Program on Ile a Vache, has opened its new office.   Well done to the team of Girlande Louissant, Josiane Bazile and Ailish O’Reilly. The main purpose of Chache Lavi is to help the 120 people to create or expand their small businesses, while providing them with the required technical and financial tools to increase their earnings in order to meet their immediate needs and those of their families. The program begins with an education in civil rights, healthcare (including family planning), nutrition, family budgeting and self-empowerment. Following this, participants are taught business planning, budgeting, pricing, market identification and access to finance, all the while being encouraged to reflect on their cultural and community attributes to develop a business idea which corresponds with their interests and abilities.  Once a business plan is approved at committee level, participants are supported with mentoring and resources for the remaining 12 months of the program. Through Chache Lavi Soul of Haiti wants to encourage a sense of initiative, foster an entrepreneurial spirit, promote production and agricultural transformation, encourage local consumption patterns, stimulate collective participation and consolidate community development.
By |July 16th, 2015|Uncategorized|

May 2015 – Ailishs Blog

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”  Edwin Way Teale The first week of May is all about preparation and setting work plans.  We travelled to Port au Prince on Friday 1st; meet our fellow Irish living and working in Haiti; wish the Haven volunteers a safe trip home and head south again on Saturday.  Normally I wouldn’t do the round trip in two days but with only a week before my holidays I need every day I can get on Ileavache.  At the same time, the trip to PAP was worth it as I got a rare chance to meet nearly every Irish person living/working in Haiti. May means home time for me and a rest/working visit.  In the meantime I have a hectic schedule of finishing up jobs, paying the local bosses and setting work up for when we get back.   We were looking for a solution for Sonson wheelchair when Medical Team International arrived with a chair/bike from Cayes, free of charge.  It is a temporary but very practical solution to his mobility needs. The boat for Canobert and motor still need some work and local boss Antoine will look after this. Reconaissance have offered to print the identification badges for the orphanage for free and we need to get that information to their office to be processed.  Thirty eight photos later and I’ve taken them all wrong as I have encouraged them to smile where it should have been more like our passport photo requirements.  The staff can use the card for identification in the bank, medical clinics etc.  It is highly valued in a country where obtaining your NIF (our equivalent is PPS) number is a challenge due […]
By |July 16th, 2015|Uncategorized|

July 2015 – Lots happening on Christine

The Rain has finally arrived and planting can start   The Literacy Training Program has begun for the 51 participating Farmers 8 Men & 3 Women have been trained in the use of our John Deere     
By |July 14th, 2015|Uncategorized|

Thank you Country Crest & W.K. Kellogg Foundation

It is here!! The long awaited tractor & accessories which were bought thanks to funds supplied by Michael Hoey of Country Crest and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. We do not know how we would manage without your continued support. Isaac Cherestal, our Farm Manager, emailed the photos last night along with the following message: “On behalf of the staff on Christine Farm and of the community of Christine, I would like to thank Soul of Haiti and its supporters for all of your good works. On the 11th of June 2015 we received a tractor, harrow, disc plough & ridger. The difference this will make to the farm and the community is immeasurable. Thank you!”.               
By |June 12th, 2015|Uncategorized|

June 2015 – Launch of Chache Lavi on Ile a Vache

On Friday, June 5, 2015, Soul of Haiti & the Haitian organisation Foundation Enfant Jesus launched «CHACHE LAVI» on Ile a Vache. Local community leaders and the media sat alongside future participants of the program, to learn more about what it can do for this beautiful island. The ceremony took place in a warm presence of representatives of different community organizations, who displayed  their satisfaction and welcomed this program to the Island. Chache Lavi will soothe the suffering of many poor local families and therefore these community leaders promised to support its continued success. Chache Lavi (CLV) is designed  to combat extreme poverty, which is at the heart of Haiti’s problems. It does so by helping poor women & children, living in rural areas; providing them with the means to become economically self-sufficient. Chache Lavi is a not for profit social program which promotes the rehabilitation and the socio-economic strengthening of families. Its main purpose is to provide for comprehensive, independent and sustainable human development. It encourages initiative & entrepreneurial spirit. It promotes production and transformation of agricultural products. It encourages the consumption of local products and stimulates collective participation & community development.  Some of the Representatives of Local Community Organisations Chache Lavi’s first goal is to assist participants in creating or expanding their small enterprises, providing the financial & business techniques necessary to increase earnings which allows participants meet their immediate needs and those of their families. Secondly, the ultimate aim of the programme is to achieve a significant transformation in the beneficiaries living standards, giving them […]
By |June 12th, 2015|Uncategorized|

April 2015 – Ailish’s Blog

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.  St Francis of Assisi April arrived, with Easter; ESPWA and my birthday, all in the same week! The ESPWA team are on Ileavache to work on a project over in Grace Orphanage. The week would not be complete without a visit to l’Oeuvre St Francois to see all their friends and the children.   And they also make it to ‘my first birthday’ at Kay Ailish with our Haitian friends and neighbours. Two of the volunteers make time to do some work for two of the families.  One family get a handrail fence so their son can safely play outside and also use the rail to help him stand and in time hopefully walk.  Another family get a handmade swing for their boy and he is the centre of attention every time we pass. The MTI team are back for two more days of training and start on the practical sessions including how to feed the children with Special Needs.  The staff progress really well thanks to their previous training with the CRC team from Dublin. Easter is the time of our two biggest festivals on Ileavache, the religious celebrations and a music festival in Recif.   At the local churches there are programs every day, including some with an early start of around 4:30am.   After church, everyone can head to Recif, think main stage at Electric Picnic and you’ve generally got the idea of size and volume.  There is live Haitian Jazz and Konpa bands from Port-au-Prince playing every night.  Everyone comes to Ileavache at Easter time.  Motos are brought […]
By |May 12th, 2015|Uncategorized|

March 2015 – Ailish’s Blog

Marching into March      The 8th of March is International Women’s Day.  Ten women’s organisations from all over Ileavache come together to celebrate the occasion.  We march around the village of Madame Bernard singing songs and holding our placards.  As I look around at the women of Ileavache I realise how many great role models we have here on the island and it is nice to feel that we are celebrating women in unison with people all over the world today. March sees the start of the MTI training program with the orphanage staff.  The training goes really well although MTI get one of the worst crossings on the boat and I promise them it won’t be so bad on the way home.  Unfortunately that turned out not to be true and if they weren’t wet enough from the sea spray it also rained on them halfway over to Cayes.  Every trip after this is going to look easy!   Sr Flora has an idea to offer support to families in the community that have a person in the household with Special Needs.  Haven volunteer, Katie, offers her help to carry out home assessments.  Our partners in IFORHT also offer support and their nurse, Fabienne, comes over to help with the assessment process.  There are twenty three names on the list.  Once we have the assessment, MTI will help us devise a program for training for the parents.  Sr Flora will look to Bien-Etre Social (Haitian Social Services) […]
By |May 12th, 2015|Uncategorized|

February 2015 – Ailish’s Blog

The shortest month of the year has a full program for us here in Ileavache. We make great progress on the orphanage team training thanks to an opportune meeting with Medical Team International (MTI) in Les Cayes.   They have a physiotherapy and rehabilitation centre in Les Cayes and we stopped in one day to see if they knew where we could source adult diapers.  Aside from giving all they had in stock they also talked to us about the support they provide in the Les Cayes area.  They already know Sr Flora and are due to visit the orphanage.  The result of all this networking is a full program due to start in March. A team will come over from Cayes to train twelve of the orphanage staff in rehabilitation techniques.  Training will be delivered over the four months and will include practical sessions and theory.  Some of the staff will have an option to take a Technicians exam after they complete the training. Thanks to the support of CES in Dublin our local teachers start their English language training.  First lessons are due in the middle of February.  At one of our sessions we try the individual passwords and do a trial lesson, the online support is really good.  It is a good start, hopefully it can continue that way.  Lessons are going to run into the Carnival schedule when everyone takes holidays in Haiti.  This is normally a time for celebration and there is lots of RaRa bands out playing every evening.  Sadly the Port au Prince Carnival ends in tragedy.  There are two days of national mourning.  Even in a country where we encounter death so frequently, the sight of sixteen coffins resting […]
By |April 20th, 2015|Uncategorized|

SuperValu Kitchen Garden

SuperValu. Not just the biggest in Ireland, but also on Ile a Vache! Thanks to the generosity of SuperValu & most especially Eddie Kane of SuperValu, Killester, the kitchen garden in Sr. Floras orphanage is thriving. The Garden Team, Wilnord,Dieudinor, Lucnord & Erik are seen here in their new SuperValu uniforms, alongside Ailish O Reilly, Soul of Haiti’s Program Manager.
By |April 14th, 2015|Uncategorized|