NEWS & EVENTS
Gifts that keep on Giving
Why give another tie when you could surprise them with a goat! HELO offers some unique and fun gift opportunities, from goats to chickens, toys or school books for the children at HELO. This year we would like to start a playground at HELO, so funds raised in the "toy category" will be used for that purpose. Please follow to link below to see our gift options. A card acknowledging your gift will be sent to you or, if you prefer, to your loved one directly.
These are truly gifts that keep on giving -- gifts that won't be forgotten by your recipient or the children at HELO.
Despite continued unrest and severe shortages of fuel, electricity, and even food, the children of HELO remain vastly unaffected and are doing very well. November was a good month for them -- from new sandals to bright new school shirts. Orange shirts were difficult to find, but don't they look great? The blue shirts are our Philo students, the last year of high school. These students are called "Philosophers" and are set apart from the rest of the school. We are very proud of all of our students, but especially proud to have so many girls in this class. Statistics show that girls in Haiti attend school for an average of two years, so we take pride in changing that statistic by empowering girls to continue their schooling.
Due to the shortage of gasoline and the outrageous prices when it can be found ($25-$30 per gallon), we were especially grateful to have been able to replace our damaged solar system. We still need additional solar panels to ensure sufficient electricity to all of our homes, but we are certainly grateful for some lights and ability to charge phones! Thank you everyone who helped make this possible.
We continue to support our neighbors affected by the earthquake and we were able to distribute many more tarps to protect families who lost their homes or parts thereof. We are grateful for all of the donations that continue to help us rebuild and to help neighbors in need. We hope to start rebuilding our transitional home soon (total loss) and still need to rebuild our elementary school. Building supplies remain scarce and expensive, and we pray that Haiti's unrest will start to improve soon.
With soaring prices and scarce supplies, we have decided to have a party for Christmas. The children will have a special meal, lots of games, music, dancing and perhaps a small gift. If you would like to help with the expense of gifts and the party, please use the link to the left.
October was a busy month at HELO, with continued demolition, rebuilding and school reopening! We hosted our annual Evening of Hope from HELO. If you missed the gala, you can use the link below to watch the video.
Because of the earthquake in August, the Haitian government delayed school opening until October. Our schools reopened on October 4 after a flurry of preparations -- new clothes, sneakers, and lots of books!! Backpacks were made by our own children this year!! Pictured at right are Nana, Britus and Abigaelle, our high school students lined up for the raising of the flag, and our newly rebuilt kindergarten. We have nearly 400 students this year, and we pray for a successful school year for all!
There was a brazen kidnapping of a group of Americans in Port au Prince. There have been protests across the country against kidnapping, demanding the release of these Americans and an end to violence in the country. Our children and staff are well, and we have plenty of food, the only thing lacking is gasoline to power generators. The gas shortage is another result of the gang violence in Haiti. Tankers are continually "hijacked" and gasoline is sold on the street (chosen sellers of course). Gas, if it can be found, currently sells at $25/gallon. The shortage is affecting everything from transportation, cell phone and internet service, and the cost of food and all goods.
Please join our prayers for Haiti, for relief of the increasing violence that grips the nation, for a more stable government, the release of the captured Americans, and of course, prayers for our children and staff.
Tragic Earthquake Hits Southern Haiti
A 7.2 earthquake hit Haiti on Saturday, August 14, causing extensive damage, injuries and death throughout the southern peninsula of Haiti. Unlike the 2010 earthquake, this one was centered much closer to les Cayes (Haiti's third largest city). HELO sustained structural damage to several buildings, including our transitional home and all three schools. Thankfully only one injury, which is not serious. Berlin fell while fleeing the collapsing building, sustaining a dislocated shoulder and many lacerations and bruises. We are still assessing the structural damage so do not yet have an idea of the cost to repair and rebuild. Our priorities this past week have been to safeguard the children, who are too traumatized to sleep indoors. Aftershocks continue, but we were finally able to convince them to sleep in the church building (tin roof) amidst the heavy rain and wind from Tropical Storm Grace. We have 24 hour security on campus to protect the children, staff and property during this crisis.
The community of Laborde, where HELO is located, is heavily impacted and many families have lost everything. Nearly everyone is sleeping outside under the stars -- or sadly under the rainfall, some out of fear but many do not have a choice. Our children will assist in distributing food to help our neighbors in need.
If you are able to help, please donate. Funds raised will help us rebuild, get needed food, drinking water, and other supplies, and do our best to help our neighbors. We sincerely thank everyone who has already donated and especially thank everyone for their prayers. Your support is appreciated more than words can express. To quote a Haitian proverb, "Men anpil fe chay pa lou." Many hands lighten the load. Mesi! Thank you!