Raising up children, raising up a country
The mission of the Haitian Timoun Foundation is to create a future of hope, sustainability, and dignity for the children of Haiti. Right now, HTF is witnessing our mission in action through four future college students, all participants and members of our partner program, Fondasyon Tetkole pou Demen Miyò. This initiative was founded by Verbo Jean-Julien and is 99.5% funded by HTF. In English the name means “A foundation bringing heads together for a better tomorrow.” The use of the word “foundation” does not mean that Tetkole oversees some endowment fund. It means that Tetkole is serving to lay down a foundation for children in the Jacmel area who are in extremely difficult situations.
The children of Tetkole are kids who had been abandoned to the streets, perhaps served in domestic servitude as restavèks, and have been gathered into the Tetkole community. For those children who have just entered the program and who may come from situations in which they were severely traumatized, Tetkole has a temporary shelter where the children stay for about 3 months. Here they heal from abuse, develop trust, get proper nutrition, and are prepared to live changed lives. When they graduate from the temporary shelter, Tetkole gets them placed in the community with a family, perhaps distant relatives, who serve as foster families. Tetkole then funds their schooling, providing funds for school uniforms, often made by employing a local seamstress, and books. The members of the Tetkole staff serve as advocates and surrogate parents with the school principals. With an open center in the city of Jacmel, Tetkole provides two meals a day, tutoring for kids, and a safe place to gather. Tetkole also has two gardens where the children grow food, provides vocational training, and has an orchestra for the kids.
Rick Barger, Frank Ditore, Brian Rindels, and Adam Hebener were in Haiti two weeks ago and got to experience the fruit of HTF’s partnership with Tetkole. Four children are in their senior year of high school and have aspirations of going to college. This is remarkable in a country where almost 30% of Haiti’s children never go to school, less than 20% ever make it past elementary school, and where only about 8% ever graduate from high school. Less than one percent ever enter college. For these four young people to have accomplished what they have is simply astonishing and is a tribute to what is possible when we choose to invest in people and believe in people.
The names of the aspiring college students raised with the community of Tetkole are Alexandra, Darline, Elizè, and Liliane. Alexandra and Elizè want to study business administration in college. They would like to have their own businesses and create jobs for the Haitian people. Liliane wants to be a doctor. Darline wants to study to be a nurse. They see the lack of quality health care, the scarcity of trained medical people in Haiti, the senseless deaths by preventable diseases, and the suffering that people endure when they have no access to health care. They want to make a difference. All four speak of a desire to help their country.
One of the objectives for HTF this year is to find funding to help these young people achieve their dreams. Let’s support their hard work and be a part of raising up future leaders of Haiti!
Pou tout moun kapab gen lavi!
That ALL may have life!
Darlene hopes to study nursing
Liliane aspires to become a doctor
Elize hopes to study business administration
Alexandra plans to study business administration
HTF Board members Verbo Jean-Julien, Adam Hebener, Rick Barger, Brian Rindels and Maya (Luckner) Fond-Rose with rising college students Liliane, Darlene, Elize, and Alexandra from Tetkole.