Haiti update: Navigating through challenges with strength and hope

With the recent escalation of conflict in Port-au-Prince, we want to provide you with an update, specifically relating to our operations and the community we serve in Haiti:

Current situation in Haiti

Haiti faces a critical period marked by political upheaval and social unrest, particularly in Port-au-Prince. The resignation of the unpopular Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the transition to a new government reflect the nation’s long-standing struggles with governance, natural disasters, and a significant humanitarian crisis. The turmoil has been escalating over the past year and has now captured global attention.

Community of Cap Haitien

Despite the challenges in the capital, we want to reassure our community that our operations in Cap Haitien (northern Haiti) remain unaffected and steadfast. Cap Haitien is calm amidst the nation’s broader struggles, allowing us to continue our programs without interruption.

Operations at Ecole L’Union and Freedom Village

Our students are still attending school, and are engaged in learning and community activities. We are committed to ensuring that their education continues uninterrupted, fostering a safe and supportive environment for their growth. Freedom Village also continues to operate as usual.

One of the impacts we are seeing at the moment is the rising cost of food and fuel. This has been a challenge over the past few years, both for us and certainly for the local families who struggle every day for their basic needs.

Safety and monitoring

The safety of our team, students, teachers and community members is our top priority. Our local team closely monitors the situation, keeping us informed with daily updates. We have comprehensive safety measures in place and are prepared to respond proactively to any changes in the local context.

We understand the concerns that have arisen due to the situation in Haiti and appreciate the outpouring of support and inquiries from the LiveDifferent community.

Looking forward

Our hearts go out to all Haitians during this turbulent time and we remain hopeful and committed to making a difference in the lives of those we serve. We believe in the resilience of the Haitian people and the strength of our collective efforts to foster positive change.

We will continue to follow the situation through news outlets and, most importantly, our staff team on the ground.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 15th, 2024

Spreading joy and smiles: The Papa Noel Christmas party at Ecole L’Union

In the community of Calvaire, Santa Claus made an early visit this year, and it was a day to remember for the students of École L’Union. Thanks to the unwavering support of our friend, Corey Evans, and ATCO EPIC, our children experienced a day filled with surprises, laughter, and the true spirit of giving. Welcome to the third annual Papa Noel Christmas party!

A heartwarming Christmas in Haiti

Santa Claus himself, made a grand entrance, complete with his traditional red suit. Despite the sweat and the heat (30 degrees!), Santa’s dedication to bringing joy to the children was palpable.

The Papa Noel Christmas party has become a heartwarming tradition at École L’Union. It’s a day when Santa doesn’t just deliver presents; he also serves a delicious lunch and a festive cake, making it a complete celebration of the holiday season. For the children in this area, who don’t have many opportunities to celebrate and receive gifts, this day is nothing short of magical.

Santa’s sack was filled with carefully chosen gifts, catering to the different ages of our students. School supplies were a priority (pens, scientific calculators, notebooks, geometry boxes, etc.), and there were also colouring books, small games, little cars, and water bottles. These thoughtful gifts brought immediate joy and will assist our students in their educational journey.

A heartfelt thank you

Our deepest gratitude goes out to Corey Evans and ATCO EPIC for their continued dedication to making a difference in the lives of our students. Year after year, they have brought smiles to our children’s faces and hope to our community. Their generosity and commitment to École L’Union are truly remarkable.

Learn more

Join us in spreading the holiday cheer and making a difference in the lives of these incredible children. If you’d like to support our school and our mission, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Your kindness can truly change lives.

Want to get involved? Become a monthly LoveLegacy partner and watch your contributions change lives.

Sign up for our newsletter for monthly updates about our Compassion Projects in Haiti.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 22nd, 2023

The Freedom Village: Celebrating a dream come to life

We are thrilled to report that the construction of the Freedom Village is 99% complete. We have started hiring staff and are currently putting the finishing touches on the facility.

We will soon open the doors to girls ages 6 to 16 so they can heal, learn, and ultimately get to a place where they can help serve and care for others in Haiti.

It is estimated that there are over 300,000 restavek children in Haiti. These children are sold or given away by their parents because they simply have no resources to keep them alive. Restavek children are almost always forced to do hard physical work, are denied education and are physically abused.

When LiveDifferent’s Benjamin Cole Brown heard about this system of slavery, he vowed to do something about it, and together with our Haitian partners, created the idea for the Freedom Village in 2013. In 2015, with the help of our partners in Winnipeg, MB, the property was purchased. Tragically one year later, Cole died in a plane crash at 36 years old, but his legacy continues to be honoured by LiveDifferent and so many others. The construction began on the Freedom Village in 2018.

The Freedom Village will help bring young girls out of the restavek system and give them freedom, hope, education and an opportunity for a healthy future. As we come to the end of our construction journey for the Freedom Village, let’s reflect on how far we have come.

Creating a home

Working with our local partner, ASEEDH, not only do we include and employ local workers for our projects, but we also network with local leaders, government officials, community members and other organizations who may be working in the area, so that we can assure that all efforts and resources are maximized completely.

Through many struggles – such as significant currency fluctuations, fights for the opportunity of employment, the riots and unrest that followed the assassination of the Haitian president, as well as a lack of fuel throughout Haiti – we were able to reach this incredible milestone.

“I already imagine this protected space filled with kindness and laughter of little girls who are finally happy.”

Michelle Guillaume, Manager of Operations in Haiti.

The Freedom Village is divided into two sections: The Village and the Guest House. The majority of the property will provide a beautiful space for the girls to heal in a family-style setting. The Guest House is a separate section of the property that will generate income to support the girls’ programming and rehabilitation.

The Village will offer five family-style housing units with a total capacity of 28 girls and 5 house mothers. A counselling room and infirmary are constructed near the base of the site and a covered dining area is nestled on the roof.

The Guest House offers eight suites with a total capacity of 24 people. It also includes a staff apartment, lounge area, office, reception desk, storage depot, conference room, parking and a staff room. Most suites have a generous roof deck space and top-level suites are suitable for families with children.

Operating off-grid

The Freedom Village was designed with sustainability and efficiency in mind.

Rainwater from the roofs is collected and stored for usage as greywater throughout the facility. A solar power system (with diesel generator backup), a laundry room and a commercial kitchen are part of what is needed for the care and comfort of the children and guests.

Security is a top priority here, with the Freedom Village surrounded by large walls and armed guards 24/7. It’s important to note the care and love put into every last detail by the builders – and that includes the construction of the walls. They hand-hammered every stone flat for the wall, and in between each stone, they added smaller stones to add character, providing a more Haitian touch. The beauty of the architecture is truly breathtaking!

Learn more

The creation of the Freedom Village has been a long and arduous journey, but it stands as a testament to the determination and perseverance of LiveDifferent and our partners.

Not only is this project going to provide safe housing for vulnerable young girls, but it is a model of sustainability that shows how thoughtful design can help us honour our commitment to creating a positive, long-term impact in the communities we serve. We are proud to be able to offer this incredible opportunity and look forward to seeing what these young girls will accomplish in their new home.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support this cause, join LoveLegacy.

Author: Gina Alward

Date: May 25th, 2023

LoveLegacy: Showing up every month to support children makes a world of difference.

We all have experienced the power of consistency—it is key for success in almost every area of our lives.

You don’t get into shape by going to the gym once, great relationships aren’t built over a single dinner, and you only achieve your financial goals through small increments over a long period of time.

Did you also know that this same principle is true for your favourite charities and causes?

As Wendy Smith puts it in her book ‘Give A Little’—dimes destroyed polio, and five bucks can beat malaria.

Children everywhere deserve an education, nutrition, safe drinking water, and the opportunity for freedom! As an organization, LiveDifferent operates in a rural hillside community in Northern Haiti—which is where we invite you to partner with us!

We have a school—where hundreds of children are receiving the education and nutrition that they need to thrive—and a soon-to-be-completed “Freedom Village” that will provide hope and healing to young girls who have been exploited. 

By becoming a LoveLegacy monthly partner, you’ll not only be helping children directly, but you’ll be part of creating a ripple effect that can lift families, communities, and even a nation out of poverty.

We anchor our monthly partnerships at $40 a month. Many people do more and some do less. Again, the power is in the consistency.

What does $40 achieve? Well, we’re glad you asked.

— We’ve been able to grow from 70 students and one classroom in 2011 and now support over 289 students in 11 classrooms.

— In Haiti, where less than 20% of schools are provided by the government and less than 10% of students receive an education past the primary grades, a generation of children are being given access to education all the way through to Grade 9.

— Over 140,000 meals have been served to date—with every student and staff receiving a meal every school day.

— Water is brought into the school for drinking, cooking, sanitation, and cleaning.

— Among all else, it contributes to paying for school uniforms, school administration, internet, property taxes, maintenance, security, government academic testing, professional development for teachers, field trips…. And so much more!

Ready to join the LoveLegacy community? Sign up here.

Stats are all fine and good, but life is about people—so we’d like to introduce you to Sementha.

Sementha’s journey at Ecole L’Union started when she was in Grade 1, and over the last nine years, she’s had some wonderful times and made some incredible friends.

When we asked Sementha what she was going to miss most about Ecole L’Union, she said, “The meals! (laughter). I will miss my teachers and classmates too, of course.”

The meal program was something that Sementha always appreciated, and something that she hopes will continue for all future students. Having been at Ecole L’Union for almost a decade, she can remember what it was like before the program began.

“Having the meal program is important because when we are hungry at school, the meal is the only hope that most of us have.”

Lift children towards brighter futures and help provide education, nutrition, and freedom.

Become a monthly partner

Author: Joshua Dueck

Date: November 29th, 2021

LoveLegacy: A community of people who believe brighter futures are possible!

LoveLegacy is for those who have decided to care for some of the world’s most vulnerable. It’s for people who feel a responsibility to their global neighbours and want to help children leave poverty behind.

Does this sound like you? If so, you’re not alone!

As a group of monthly partners, LoveLegacy provides education, nutrition, and freedom to children in the hillside community of Calvaire, Haiti.

By taking care of these children, this group of generous givers are lifting up families and empowering them to create a better future for generations to come!

Wondering what difference a relatively small group of people have been able to accomplish for these children so far?

Here are just a few examples of what we’ve been able to do together over the last ten years:

— We purchased land, built a school, and opened the door to our first class of 70 students in 2011.

— We’ve expanded the footprint of the building and now are teaching over 280 students every day.

— In Haiti, where less than 20% of schools are provided by the government and less than 10% of students receive an education past the primary grades, we’ve paved the way for a generation of children to have access to education all the way through to Grade 9.

— Child malnutrition is widespread throughout Haiti, so we created a daily nutrition program. Since its beginning, we’ve served over 140,000 meals—with every student and staff receiving a nutritious snack and lunch every school day.

— Water is brought into the school for drinking, cooking, sanitation, and cleaning. Living daily in homes without running water or electricity, this is a big deal for these children.

— We’ve helped in all sorts of ways that you might not be top of mind of when thinking about supporting a school—like paying for school uniforms and competitive staff salaries, bringing internet access to the school, and covering things like property taxes, maintenance, security, government academic testing, professional development for teachers, field trips…. And so much more!

Phew! Are you excited? As you can see, there’s a lot we can accomplish when we work together!

The children, their families, and this community need you.

LoveLegacy partners are committed to supporting our efforts in Haiti on a monthly basis through financial support.

There is still a big gap to close to make our work in Haiti sustainable, so we’re asking people to take a leap of faith and commit to monthly giving over a one-time donation.

LoveLegacy partners are committed to supporting our efforts in Haiti on a monthly basis through financial support.

There is still a big gap to close to make our work in Haiti sustainable, so this year for our year-end campaign, we’re asking people to take a leap of faith and commit to monthly giving over a one-time donation.

By joining LoveLegacy you’ll become part of a community of people who are helping provide education, water, nutrition, freedom and so much more to children who are eager to leave poverty behind.

Join LoveLegacy today! Sign up here.

“I think education is very important. I love Ecole L’Union. I am grateful for all the benefits/privileges my children and all the kids have at the school. You have no idea how happy us parents are because of all that the school does for our children. The meals the school serves help us tremendously with keeping our children healthy.”

(Mother of students at Ecole L’Union)

Become part of Mireille’s story (and many mothers like her)!

Author: Joshua Dueck