Go Behind the Scenes with COCINA’s Student Sponsorship Program


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.

Each grade we’ve captured so far has four classes, each with around 45 to 50 students and one teacher (Yes…ONE teacher for 50 kids! All you teachers out there, can you imagine?!?).

Each time we start with a new class, it may seem like what you’d experience in the United States. A few students at a time come out of the class; I give them a number (a “Child ID” that helps us to connect a student’s information with his or her photo); and then I take two photos – one holding the number and one without.

And then the fun begins!

Haiti child sponsorshipOnce the photos are taken, the student takes his or her number to James Blanc (one of the many former IU graduates who have returned after attending college in the U.S.), and he goes through a series of questions:

  • What’s your name? (easy enough)
  • How old are you? (hmmm? not always positive)
  • What is your birth date? (often no idea!)
  • How many brothers and sisters do you have? (pretty straightforward)
  • How many people live with you at home? (we’ve seen up to 19 so far!)

And, James continues the questioning to find out their favorite color, favorite food, what they like about school, and more.

Meanwhile, the teacher has let out 10 more students to get their photos taken; and although it doesn’t take long to snap a couple photos, trying to extract favorite foods and “what do you want to be when you grow up?” takes quite a bit of time.

I speak very little Creole, which adds to the fun.

I’ve been learning bit by bit, but certainly haven’t mastered the language, so that allows me to “entertain” the students while they wait in line before sharing their answers with James. I ask their names (“Ki jan ou rele?”); they ask me what my name is; I ask them to help me count by telling me what their number is in Creole. And we go back and forth a few times – them not understanding me, and me not understanding them! It’s a blast!

And then there are the “posers!”

I don’t know where they get it, but they sure know what it means to play to the camera. Whether I’m walking down the hall or I’m getting their official photo for the Sponsorship Program, they ham it up!

The boys throw up “duces” (two fingers in the air) and the girls assume the hands-on-hips-head-tilted position!

When we complete a class, we end up with around 50 photos of beautiful, joy-filled children who are just like my kids and yours, except when they leave school, many of them won’t have a meal until the next day at school; most of them live in a home where the financial provider makes less than $5 US per day; and ALL of them are on the positive side of the 50 percent of children in Haiti who even attend school. (Statistics)

If you are able, just $40 a month can help us continue to provide an award-winning education, a daily hot meal, and access to much-needed medical care for more than 2,500 students. Click here if you’d like to sponsor a child in Haiti. Thank you.

Comments are closed.