We have been supporting the Guepard Boxing Club of Cité Soleil (GBCCS) in Haiti since 2017.
With our financial assistance in 2021, GBCCS was able to provide four meals each week to approximately 200 children after a 60-minute training session. Our farm project in the Arizona desert has ‘taken root,’ and is beginning to produce a reliable source of direct funding that will increase throughout 2022. We are blessed with a committed group of friends and family who do not shy away from the formidable task of ‘greening the desert’ to raise vegetables we sell at market to fund GBCCS.
As we manage the project in the United States, Justin Ricot manages GBCCS in Haiti.
In recent weeks, two words have occupied our discussions: education and agriculture. Justin and I agree that sustainable development in Haiti is only possible through education. Similarly, we adhere to the adage that ‘If you give a man a fish, you can feed him for a day; if you teach him to fish, you can feed him for a lifetime.’ With those two thoughts in mind, we will expand our services in 2022 to include education and agriculture.
We are addressing the education aspect first. We plan to open a school – a learning center of sorts – in February. Justin names the school “Lekòl Pye Atè,” “Barefoot School.” We are expanding activities for the children from four days each week to six. In 2021, we trained four days each week and followed each session with a meal. Beginning in February, we will provide classes five afternoons each week – Monday through Friday – and will provide training – physical education – on Saturday. Following class and training, we will provide a meal to the children who participate; GBCCS will increase operations and meals from four days each week to six days each week.
Justin has negotiated the use of several classrooms in a school building that is a 3 to 4-minute walk from our kitchen.
The purpose of the school is not to earn a degree. The purpose of the school is to impart knowledge to the children, knowledge that will help them navigate the challenging and dangerous environment they face each day. Only knowledge can defeat poverty and achieve sustainable development. Justin has enlisted a principal, three young men, and one young woman to teach classes in several critical areas:
- They will teach life lessons with children’s stories.
- They will teach children to protect the environment.
- They will instruct children about agriculture.
- They will teach children to live peacefully together and to love their country.
The education budget is $19,799.84 USD and is comprised of four areas:
- textbooks – $10,060.99
- consumables – $2,765.31
- classroom equipment – $5,987.54
- museum trip – $440.00
The numbers are modest given that we will be working with 100 children. As Justin explains, the students will be boys and girls between 6 and 12 who
- “have been exposed to violence”
- “do not have the opportunity to go to a formal school”
- “are in domestic service or are street children”
- “are vulnerable”
- “are motivated to participate in this project”
- “have been traumatized and frustrated with life”
- “live in a family of more than five people”
The Barefoot School embraces the most challenging group of children who are consistently ignored in ghettos around the world. It is a special mission not for the weak of heart. The bottom line noted as the “expected result” in Justin’s detailed plan:
“The participants will be able to read and write without difficulty.”
Food is not included in the school budget. Last year, we managed to feed the children four meals each week at $1,000/month. We will increase that $1,300/month to account for operating the kitchen six days instead of the four days each month.
We hope by the summer that the Arizona farm will produce $500/month, hopefully, more. Based on what we did with so few, linear feet that produced approximately $750 in 2021, we believe the farm can and will support 100% of every aspect of GBCCS – school and kitchen – in the not too distant future. For now, we manage to feed the children on “five loaves and two fishes.”
Our immediate concern is the school. When we open the doors on February 7, 2022, at 1:30 PM, four teachers and a principal will greet the children. That is a fact. The question is whether or not we will have our textbooks, pens, pencils, rulers, and other things that we and our children in the United States take for granted.
And that is my plea to you. Do you have the means and the desire to help us launch this important project? Governments have failed, NGOs are well-intentioned but make money. We are neither a government nor an NGO, and we act solely in service of these marginalized children, convinced that through education, these children can build a better future for themselves and generations to come in Haiti and the international community it is a part of.
If you will consider helping us and the children we serve in Haiti, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page to reach out to us. We will respond ASAP to answer your questions, discuss your thoughts and tell you how you can contribute to our GBCCS fund. With opening day rapidly approaching, time is of the essence.