Gonaïves is a large city on the western coast of Haiti, and was recently battered successively by repeat hurricanes in 2004 and 2008. The roads were destroyed and the town flooded, and the city is yet to fully recover.
Zions’s Children of Haiti, “Les Enfants de Sion” or “Timoun Siyon” was conceived by Herby Dalencourt, Isabelle Flècher, and Harry Flècher- lifelong residents of Gonaïves. They had dreamed of increased access to education as a ray of hope for the future of their community in Gonaïves. This concept was developed before the hurricane in 2008, and afterwards, their project and the need for immediate action became urgent. Jeff and Alexis Bigelow, and Lauren Lyons first visited Gonaïves in May 2009. There they witnessed firsthand the destruction still in disarray throughout the city. They were able to meet members of the board and meet some of the children and families in need of education. It was then that they decided to partner with Herby and his friends to start an organization, to help their dreams come to realization.
Since 2009, we’ve taken several trips to Gonaives and continue to increase the number of children we are able to support in school. Annual school support costs around only US $250-300 per child (varying per age of student and per year), including uniform and books. This cost is small but is far out of the reach of most families in Gonaïves. As the public school system is effectively defunct, private school education is the only method to ensure education and French language training, which truly opens doors for future employment.
Herby’s, Isabelle’s, and Harry’s dreams include:
- providing education for children on a regular yearly basis
- plans for an afterschool program, including tutoring and teaching technical skills to the children
- building a primary and secondary school in Gonaïves, which can be a model for other schools
- skills training program for adults to learn an employable skills, including establishing a computer-training center
We have partnered with our colleagues in Gonaïves to help make their dreams happen. “Men anpil, chay pa lou” (Many hands make light work).