Hello from Yéle Haiti!

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Hello from Yéle Haiti!

Post by admin » Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:57 pm

From: Info [mailto:info@yele.org]
Sent: Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:59 PM
Subject: News from Yéle Haiti!

Hello from Yéle Haiti!

While Wyclef Jean has been touring with Colombian superstar Shakira, singing their worldwide summer hit Hips Don't Lie and stopping over at the World Cup to perform, Yéle Haiti also had its own show taking place on Haitian soil!


Soccer!

Wyclef Jean and Yéle Haiti have been very busy. There are 16 projects underway. We just concluded a soccer tournament, the Yéle Regional Summer Soccer Tournament 2006 (for players over 20) and are about to start another one, the Yéle Youth Soccer Tournament 2006-2007 (for players under 20). As you probably know, the whole country is obsessed with soccer, and we want to give them more of it. The Yéle Haiti team brought down soccer balls and 300 pairs of slightly used cleats, donated by Jackie Sullivan, a young woman from Long Island who organized a drive at the East Meadow Soccer Club through the Passback program, and we gave them to the children at L'Athletique d'Haiti, the soccer program offered to children from the slums. Every donation helps so much, as only 4 schools out of 1,032 in Port-au-Prince offer sports to their students. We can always use more cleats and soccer balls – we have a group of hip hop musicians that travel around the country to areas that don't have electricity (which is 65% of the country) to rap about HIV/AIDS, and we would love to be able to give out sports equipment during these trips. Sports will give them something to do, will give them self esteem and confidence, and who knows, maybe we'll see Haiti at the next World Cup!

To wrap up the soccer tournament, Yéle Haiti had a parade to show the public what the foundation has been doing. Each of the 16 projects paraded, holding up colorful banners and dressed up to represent the project. Scholarship recipients were in school uniforms. Soccer players were in soccer uniforms. University students were in graduation gowns holding signs that said “Future Civil Engineer, Future Lawyer.” The women cooking the lunches for the children in school through the Yéle Cuisine program wore aprons and carried pots and wooden spoons. The children who plant trees for Ecole Verte carried bamboo plants. Each group was so big that more than 400 people were in the parade. While the Fanfare band piloted the 400 participants down the streets of Petion Ville, residents waved from their homes and businesses welcoming the spectacle. The parade began at City Hall and finished at the Parc St. Therese Soccer Stadium, where 5,000 fans waited for the 2006 Yéle Regional Summer Soccer Tournament All Stars match to begin. When the parade got to the soccer stadium, a ceremony started to showcase the projects to the community. First up were the 10 projects sponsored by Comcel, Yéle Haiti's largest funder. The Mayor of Petion Ville opened the ceremony. It was a hot day, and Yéle Haiti made sure all the paraders were given food and water.



Education!

It is easy to take free education for granted if you live in the US. In Haiti, it's a different story. When available, free education in Haiti lacks basic infrastructure, qualified teachers and a curriculum that conforms to international standards. If you want to go to school, you have to pay a US$60 per year tuition and another US$30 for 2 mandatory school uniforms. If you belong to the 50 percentile of the population receiving US$1 per day to feed your entire family, tuition money is nowhere near what you can afford. As a consequence 500,000 to 1,000,000 children cannot go to school resulting in a 60%+ overall illiteracy rate only in Haiti.

The 4 pillars of focus for Yéle Haiti's projects are education, environment, health and community development, fusing music, sports and the media to create a positive movement embodying unity and progress for all. Besides the soccer matches, parade and ongoing progress made in different projects, Yéle Haiti has also taken big steps towards education this year. In 2005, after Tropical Storm Jeanne hit Gonaives, killing thousands and devastating homes and schools, Yéle Haiti provided 3,600 scholarships to primary schools in that region, funded by Comcel! This year, the number of scholarships has doubled to 6,800 also covering 5 regions in the country: Gonaives, Cap Haitien, Cayes, Port-au-Paix and Port-au-Prince. Comcel funds these, making them the largest corporate sponsor of scholarships in the country.

Of these 6,800 scholarships, Yéle Haiti held a ceremony this past Sept. 15 to gather the 1,700 children who were receiving scholarships and the administrators from the 34 schools where the children went to school in Port-au-Prince, Cite Soleil and Bel Air. Of these schools, 16 have, and will continue to, receive teacher training, to upgrade their teaching abilities. Currently in Haiti, children are taught mainly rote memorization. Now, through teaching teachers how to teach better, they are employing participatory learning techniques. They're getting the children to think about answers and conclusions rather than just memorize words. They're also teaching the teachers how to teach without corporal punishment – without whipping the children. At this event, each child also received a backpack and school supplies.

On September 28th, the same event took place in the north of the country, Cap Haitien. 17 schools and 741 children gathered together in a ceremony to receive backpacks and school materials, and school administrators received certificates, acknowledging that they are recipients of Yéle Haiti's scholarship program for the 2006-2007 school years. The young students, who are the future of Haiti, danced at the event, sang the national anthem and thanked Wyclef and Comcel for giving them the opportunity to go to school! On October 10th, the same event will take place in Port-au-Paix; on the 13th in Les Cayes; and on December 5 in Gonaives.



Technology!

We're starting to build a computer lab in Croix-des-Bouquets. We are also going to build one in Laserre, Wyclef's home village. We want to be part of the force that brings internet access to people, especially young people, in Haiti. There are so many that don't know what the internet is, how to use it, and very importantly, how the internet opens up the world to them. We want to teach them how to use the internet for research and opportunities – to help them learn how to learn. The disbursement of information is a big challenge in Haiti. If any of you are working for a corporation or other organization that is getting new computers, let us know if we can have the used ones, and hopefully your company can help by shipping them down to Haiti as well.

“Yéle” means a cry for help and the logo symbolizes “stop the violence” with one hand, peace with the other and heart represents love. The parade, soccer matches and scholarship events stand for Yéle Haiti's achievements and future goals in line with its non-violence mission! Below are our current projects. Spread the word about Yéle Haiti!



Yéle Haiti's Projects

1. Primary School Scholarships: providing 6,800 scholarships for primary school children in Port-au-Prince (including Cité Soleil, Bel-Air, Laserre), Gonaives, Cap-Haitien, Port-de-Paix and Les Cayes. Funded by Comcel.


2. Teacher Training: workshops to improve teaching methods in 32 schools, 16 each in Gonaives and Port-au-Prince, with a study in Gonaives to explore long-term integration of these workshops into local institutions. Funded by Comcel.


3. L'Athlétique d'Haiti: core funding for an after-school soccer program for 650 boys and girls from the Cité Soleil and Bel Air sections of Port-au-Prince. Funded by Comcel.


4. University Scholarships: underwriting 10 top ranking poverty stricken students to attend universities in Haiti for professional studies for one year. Funded by Comcel.


5. Food Distribution: twice-monthly distribution of free food from the World Food Programme feeds 8,000 people in Cité Soleil, Bel Air and other slums.


6. Pwojè Lari Pwòp/Project Clean Streets: managing the public awareness campaign for this initiative run by the Pan American Development Foundation and and funded by USAID which employs 1,700 people a day picking up piles of street garbage in 8 Port-au-Prince municipalities.


7. Concours Rap Pwojè Lari Pwòp/Project Clean Streets Hip Hop Competition: youth from the slums of Cité Soleil, Bel Air and Mache Salomon wrote and performed rap songs on themes of cleaning up the environment for a live television broadcast competition in June, 2006.


8. Child Soldier Rehab: providing education and counseling for imprisoned child soldiers to prevent them from becoming hardened criminals when released.


9. Hip Hop An Sante/Hip Hop Health: hip hop musicians performing as part of a monthly concert series promoting HIV/AIDS awareness to youth in rural areas of Haiti.


10. École Verte/Green School: monthly environmental education camping excursions and tree plantings bringing students to the protected Parc National “la Visite“ in Seguin. Funded by Comcel.


11. Computer Lab: installing computers in a high school in Croix des Bouquets. Funded by Comcel.


12. Yéle Summer Soccer Tournament: 16 teams are taking part in a month-long tournament that gives over-20 amateur players a chance to compete in a sport that is a national obsession in Haiti. Funded by Comcel.


13. Yéle Cinema: daily outdoor projection of Creole-dubbed films in Cité Soleil, Bel Air and other slum areas that do not have electricity. Funded in part by Comcel.


14. Orphans Group Home: operating a home where three young hip hop musicians (aged 9 to 11), all orphans and originally from the Bel Air slum in Port-au-Prince, can be raised in a supportive environment.


15. Yéle Youth Soccer Tournament 2006-2007: 32 high school teams are participating in a never-done-before soccer tournament that integrates children from both the slums and the wealthy neighborhoods. Funded by Comcel.


16. HELP HAITI: elementary school children from Alberta, Canada, each donated $0.25, putting 120 Haitian children in school at a cost of $60 per child.


17. Laserre Village Project: a village-wide development initiative incorporating leaders from the community for Laserre, Wyclef's home village until age 10, population 5,000, for a basketball court, vocational school training, health and social development initiatives.


18. Yéle Cuisine: establishing women's associations, providing micro-loans and business training to cook and sell food to the public in order to subsidize meals for children during school, focused initially in Cité Soleil, Bel Air and several other slums. Funded in part by Comcel.



Projects in Development

19. Yéle Center - Fontamara: building the first of a series of community centers serving youth through education, vocational training, health, sports and music.

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Post by admin » Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:23 pm

It appears that Yele, Wyclef's philantropic foundation for Haitians, is doing a lot of valuable work. I can attest to the cleanup of major parts of Port-au-Prince by guys (and I presume, gals) recognizable by their yellow jerseys. Obviously, it will take an effort of greater magnitude to really clean up Port-au-Prince, but Wyclef is leading the way. Who's following suit? Wyclef is not the only "filthy rich" Haitian. What are the other well-funded organizations from the private sector that also act to reverse the effects of environmental degradation, miseducation, malnutrition, public health neglect, and general poverty?

Besides Fonkoze Haiti - Fonkoze U.S., what other formal links exist to facilitate the civic engagement and social investment of Haitians in Haiti and abroad? I know that there are lots of independent efforts out there and I commend them, but which ones today have taken root deep enough for the capacity to absorb the human (especially our youth) and capital resources necessary to make a positive and lasting difference?

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:01 pm

"...Men anpil chay pa lou..." Although living conditions in Haiti as a whole are beyond bad, there is stil hope that the situation can be reversed....

gelin

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Post by admin » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:01 pm

Once again, thank you Wyclef for your efforts! As I learned from you tonight, you were born on October 17, the day of Dessalines's assasination. But as one dies, another is born. Happy birthday, Wyclef Jean!

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