Jane Dean, Elen Kentnor, Virginia Arndt and Butzi Moffitt
Electricity in Haiti is a fragile and politicized commodity. Jacmel used to have reliable electricity day and night but now we are limited to no more than 4 hours a day. It comes on at 2 a.m.! Most schools don’t have electricity at all and businesses must rely on generators during the day. Homes have little light at night. That impacts education: it’s hard for children to do their homework after sundown at 5:30 p.m. Southport, CT residents Virginia Arndt and Jane Dean have taken creative steps to help 162 of HEI’s scholarship and after school students with this problem. Assisted by Elen Kentnor and Butzi Moffitt, they sponsored Spread the Light!, a scarf swop to raise funds for solar powered lights offered by Unite to Light at $8 a piece. The first 100 lights will be delivered in late May! There are so many obstacles to getting an education in Haiti, and we are very grateful to Ginny, Jane and their friends for making life easier for our students.
In today’s New York Times, Nicholas Kristof cites studies that document the power of hope in lifting people out of extreme poverty. When poor people learn that their own actions can lead to improvements in their standard of living, their mental, physical and financial states measurably rise. The path to change can vary – raising chickens, going to school, starting a small business – but identifying the new path and understanding its potential impact is critical. That is what we are doing in Jacmel by educating children and providing job training. Already our 185 kids are using their new skills to improve their families’ living conditions and making plans to support themselves when they graduate from school. Thank you, everyone who contributes to this “graduation” from poverty in Haiti! You are giving hope and a hand up, not a handout – there’s a world of long-term difference! Click here to read the full article.