A Month to Celebrate and Honor Heroic Efforts for Children
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This Month is National Make a Difference to a Child Month. Please Take a Moment to Consider...
There are many national holidays that call attention to amazing events and causes worldwide, one that touches the team at LRobInspires profoundly is this July 2023: National Make a Difference to a Child Month. This month-long celebration was created to recognize and pay tribute to those who are making a positive impact in the lives of children. It is our privilege and our pleasure to highlight one of our key partners and a member of the LRobInspires family: Jou Nouvo.
Jou Nouvo provides access to education for families in Bon Repos, Haiti. That sounds simple, but it is anything but simple. The need for access to education in Haiti is complex. 80% of schools in Haiti are private, public education is not an option for most and certainly not an option for young girls often left behind at home while their brothers head off to school. A private school education may cost as little as $35/month (just over a dollar a day) but to a family in Bon Repos with little or no income it is an expense they can’t afford.
A Childhood Too Tough to Imagine is the Reality for So Many
The Average Haitian girl only attends school until the age of 7. For most of us when we imagine the typical day of our 7-year-old daughters we see three meals and a day in first grade full of learning and laughter. For a 7-year-old girl in Bon Repos, it’s very likely there is little to no food, there is no school, and by the time she’s 13 she is likely already working to help support the family.
Poverty is a vicious cycle. That young girl born to a family with no means to provide an education has little hope of a life more prosperous than her parents. Off to work at 13 without the ability to read and in an environment with tremendous risk for abuse and exploitation, perhaps the best potential outcome for that little girl is to someday be a young mother sending her own daughter off to work instead of school. The other potential outcomes are far worse.
Education is the greatest tool to break the cycle. Education can be the ticket to a better life for that 7-year-old little girl, and for the next generation and beyond. Education doesn’t just break the cycle of poverty; it creates a new cycle of prosperity, a new cycle of hope.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. Resources are scarce and even in Haiti’s major cities clean running water and power are not a given. It’s a country that has suffered through some of the most devastating natural disasters in history, and with very little resources to recover and respond lost thousands of lives to those disasters. In terms of crime rates, and in particular violent crime, Haiti ranks as one of the most dangerous places on earth. Anyone born and raised in Haiti who was blessed enough to find a better life elsewhere might never look back. But looking back and reaching back with a helping hand is exactly what needs to happen.
Reaching a Helping Hand Back Home
Kerline Auguste Tofuri is the president and the founder of Jou Nouvo. She has the unique perspective of also having grown up in the community that she is so determined to improve. Kerline was once that 7-year-old girl in Bon Repos Haiti.
It was during a trip back to Haiti in 2007 Kerline explains that Jou Nouvo found her. She was struck with a vision of what Bon Repos could be. Kerline left that trip determined to reach a hand back to her home. Her helping hand was not to lift others out but rather to lift the entire community up. A year later in 2008, Kerline founded Jou Nouvo. Her vision for a better Bon Repos starts with a better life for that 7-year-old little girl.
In 2008 Jou Nouvo began its first programs including adult literacy, basic health instruction, small business loans, and child sponsorships. Since 2008 Jou Nouvo has been creating a cycle of hope with a holistic approach to education and economic empowerment.
Any one of those programs alone would have been a welcome help to the community, but together they’re that much more powerful. Child sponsorships are a wonderful part of the program and have an immediate positive impact on a child’s life, but all the programs intertwine to lift the community up and improve the lives of not just that one child, but all the children in Bon Repos.
Providing adult literacy programs enhances the lives of adults that didn’t have the benefit of an education and gives them an opportunity to provide a better future for themselves and their children. Basic health instruction creates a healthier home environment for all and provides a better future for all.
Small business loan programs provide an opportunity for families to provide a better future for themselves and their future generations.
A Cycle of Hope Lives Within Jou Nouvo
Over the years through constant feedback from the community the programs have evolved, and new initiatives have been added. Initiatives like the opening in 2022 of the Jou Nouvo community center. This center provides a safe place to gather to learn and play. It features a full working kitchen, clean running water, and with self-sustained solar power that isn’t reliant on the often-unpredictable power supply of the town.
Jou Nouvo is not simply a charitable organization sending money from the US, they are an organization that is rolling up their sleeves to live and work in the community they serve.
The Cycle of hope lives within the Jou Nouvo team. That 7-year-old little girl may have been blessed to be part of the sponsorship program, then part of the girl’s scholar program, she will come back to her community and help lift the next generation up as a mentor for the next 7-year-old little girl.
While the programs of Jou Nouvo create an immediate positive impact for the individual, they create a lasting positive impact for the community. Whether it’s youth education programs that will create the next generation of educators, or adult education programs that help a family provide a better life and future each offers long-term hope to a community that needs hope so desperately.
The entire LRobInspires team is so proud to have been a part of the Jou Nouvo journey, and our founder Liz Robinson is an active member of the Jou Nouvo Board of Directors.
Jou Nuovo’s mission to enrich the lives of a community can only happen with the support of advocates and sponsors. Kerline and John Huycke (Jou Nuovo’s Chairman) credit LRobInspires with helping them amplify their message gaining advocates and supporters that continue to donate their time and financial support.
During the Pandemic the LRob team was instrumental in changing the shape of Jou Nouvo’s fundraising efforts with virtual advocacy events. That change helped bring the community center from concept to reality.
We are honored to be a part of the Jou Nouvo team. Please join us!