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sponsor a child in haiti

So, I thought it would be fun to share a little of what goes on “behind the scenes” with the Student Sponsorship Program.

sponsor a child in HaitiAs of today, we’ve gathered photos and information on nearly 600 students – first, second, and third graders. That may seem like a fairly simple task, right? I mean, in the States, there’s picture day each year and every student is already plugged into all kinds of school and district databases.

Not so in Haiti.

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(This post is written by our Director of Development & Sponsorships, Matt White)

Back in September 2016, I took on a part-time role with Coalition of Children in Need Association (COCINA) as the Director of Development & Sponsorships, and I’ve spent about five weeks in Haiti over the last several months. (more…)

kindergarten-roof-sagging-2

UPDATE: We’re pleased to report the kindergarten roof repairs/improvements have been fully funded, and we hope to begin work soon.

Every weekday morning, nearly 450 children enter the Kindergarten building at Institution Univers in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. From age 3 through first grade, these students file into their classrooms, most of them passing through the atrium of the building.

Built in 2007, the Kindergarten building’s roof was initially intended as a temporary solution, as plans have been in place since the beginning to expand to a second floor. Over the years, repairs have been made to fix the sagging and leaking roof, but budgets have only allowed for simply addressing the symptoms rather than resolving the core problem.

Nearly 10 years later, repairs are needed again, and the safety of the children is in jeopardy. While Hurricane Matthew didn’t bring its total destruction to the northeast of the country, it did dump lots of rain, which has increased the sagging and leaking since this photo was taken.

Just above these joyful children is a potential danger that needs addressed as soon as possible…

Haiti – Kindergarten Roof Sagging from Haiti COCINA on Vimeo.

In order to build up the walls and roof and prepare for the future expansion of the Kindergarten building, COCINA is committed to bringing in $25,000. This investment will not only permanently resolve the roof issues, but will also lay the groundwork for the addition of a second floor, which will allow for additional classrooms needed to accommodate the ever-growing enrollment of the school.

Can you help?

If you’re considering end-of-year giving or recognize this need as something you can support, please make a donation today at www.haiticocina.org/donate and select the General Fund. As always, our General Fund goes toward the most pressing need at any giving time; and if you’d like to specifically designate your gift to the Kindergarten roof, in particular, you can make note of that in the “message” area on the donate page.


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The video below highlights an important and exciting new economic development opportunity for Haiti and COCINA.

In 2012, the Caracol Industrial Park opened in Northeast Haiti and now provides over 8,000 jobs for the region. One of the businesses located in the industrial park is Citadelle Manufacturing which began operating in 2015. (Learn more about Citadelle in the video at time marker 5:55.)

Citadelle Manufacturing is unique in many ways. As part of Spring CoLaboratory, Inc. (SCL), a “Benefit Corporation,” Citadelle is helping grow the country’s economy while also contributing directly to education in Haiti – specifically at Institution Univers. SCL has committed to contribute up to 20% of their profits to support educational scholarships, and IU is blessed to be a recipient of their vision and generosity. 

The fit between SCL’s unique business model and COCINA’s mission is remarkable. SCL needs a talented team of local workers, and IU graduates are among the smartest, hardest working students in the country. Also, IU continually graduates more deserving students than scholarships are available. Consequently, SCL and COCINA both benefit greatly from this relationship.

Citadelle Manufacturing is already utilizing the talents of IU graduates. Sony Ton-Aime, an IU alumnus, COCINA scholarship recipient, and 2014 graduate of Kent State University in Ohio, serves as the Accounting Supervisor for Citadelle. After graduating from Kent, Sony was selected by Deloitte (an international accounting firm) out of 1,000 student applicants for their prestigious internship program. Citadelle Manufacturing is now benefitting from Sony’s education and valuable experience. (See Sony in the video at time marker 7:25.)

Economic development has long been a priority for COCINA. This relationship with SCL is a wonderful example of how a start-up company can simultaneously create jobs, retain local talent, provide scholarships, and offer equity opportunities for Haitians.