Backpack Distribution Day

All of the hard work and donations paid off yesterday! We headed up the mountain to Ecole Fessart to distribute over 110 backpacks with school supplies. The director of the school, Josue, went around to the community to make sure that all of the children registered for school would be there. It became quite a community event with an audience watching the distribution. It was so wonderful to see this come to fruition and watch the children proudly wearing their new backpacks! They are ready for school to start in 2 weeks.
After the backpacks, we took some of the children into the tent to give them pillowcase dresses or shorts and socks thanks to Sarah Griffith. Then all of the children were given a treat of a pack of Oreos and juice. A meal of rice and beans was served to all of them after we left.
Yesterday was a reminder of why I am here, to attempt to make the lives of children a little bit brighter. This was one of the best days of my trip so far.
Thank you to everyone that helped make this possible!

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Less Than 3 Weeks to Go!

With less than 3 weeks to go, here is a little pictorial update on the progress being made. Thanks to incredible and generous donations of many people this little dream is going to be a reality! I am confident that not only will 120 very deserving Haitian children start the new school year off right with new backpacks and school supplies, but the school will also be set with art and craft supplies for a year of creative fun! Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for your continued support!
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Additionally, the dream of starting a little library in the school is coming to fruition. We have a growing collection of children’s books in French to bring to the school in addition to the backpacks, school supplies and craft supplies.  Books in Haitian Creole and French are greatly appreciated. There is a good selection picked out on the Be The Hope Amazon Wish List. Most of the items on the Wish List include free shipping on orders over $25.00 and they are shipped directly to us!  http://amzn.com/w/FU237H4GPEN3
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Thank you to everyone for your continued support!

Our New Fundraising Campaign for Haiti

Our new fundraising campaign for the Ecole Fessart project just went live! Here’s the information:

OUR MISSION


Be The Hope is a registered non profit organization in the State of Arizona (with the hope of becoming a recognized 501(c)3 organization in the near future!) with a mission to provide backpacks full of school supplies to children in Haiti. We believe that education is a human right, not a privilege.


THE IMPACT

In Haiti, 55% of the population lives below the poverty line of $1.25 per day. Due to the cost of school fees, school supplies, and uniforms many families can’t afford to send their children to school.
We believe if all Haitian children had access to an education, their potential to both end the cycle of poverty and contribute to the recovery of Haiti would increase. According to UNICEF, education contributes to greater civic participation and helps to combat youth violence, sexual harassment and human trafficking. It also results in a range of health benefits including lower infant mortality, reduced domestic violence and improved child nutrition. For many Haitian children, a school lunch is the only meal that they can count on receiving all day. Education can foster social empowerment, enabling an entire generation to become economically independent and positive contributors to society. Education is an important part of the successful rebuilding of Haiti.

We just returned from Haiti on May 28, 2013. While there, we worked with children from Agape Orphanage, La Main Tendre (LMT) Orphanage, Frem Orphanage, and Mix Emmanuel Primary School. We brought clothing and shoes for the children, hosted a “pool” party and picnic for the children at LMT Orphanage, and distributed 85 filled backpacks to children at Frem Orphanage and Mix Emmanuel Primary School. 

THE NEXT PROJECT

Ecole Fessart is located in the mountains high above Petionville, Haiti. It is an extremely poor area and it’s up a very steep mountain, which makes it difficult to reach. There are approximately 120 children attending the school. They currently have no permanent building. Classes are held in a tent that does not protect the interior from the elements. There are bare dirt floors and the school benches rot very easily from the rain and constant moisture. However, the children attend school even under these conditions. The head of the school is a lovely 29 year old man working in very difficult circumstances, but he is committed to the school and the children. There are a total of 6 teachers that are very rarely paid as there are no funds to do so. Through my friend Sarah’s amazing work, the school is provided with food once a month via a sponsor that she secured. This ensures that the children have at least one meal per day during the school week.

Our goal is to bring backpacks and school supplies for all of the 120 children to be delivered at the start of the new school year in September. Additionally, since the school has nothing, we would also like to bring any other classroom supplies (i.e. chalk, chalkboard erasers, art and craft supplies, etc.) that we know will go to good use. 

Our goal is to provide the following wish list items to each child:
· 1 – backpack
· 1 – hand pencil sharpener
· 1 – 24 pack of crayons
· 2 – 100 count Composition Notebooks
· 1 – pencil case
· 1 – eraser or pencil top erasers
· 5 – ballpoint pens (blue or black)
· 6 – number 2 pencils
· 1 – 12″ ruler

We are confident that we can achieve this goal, but we will need assistance. We understand that some people just can’t contribute financially, but you can still help us reach our goal!

· Please tell ALL of your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about our cause and this campaign.
· Share this campaign with your email lists and social media contacts.
· Become a fan of our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/bethehopehaiti
· Follow our blog on www.bethehopehaiti.wordpress.com
· Visit our website www.bethehopehaiti.org
· Check out our Amazon Wish List for additional needed items: http://amzn.com/w/FU237H4GPEN3
· Set up your own fundraising event to benefit Be The Hope’s mission!

Link to GoFundMe campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/3apc58

Please help us help children in Haiti!

Our Next Project: Ecole Fessart

Ecole Fessart is located in the mountains high above Petionville. It is an extremely poor area and it’s up a very steep mountain, which makes it difficult to reach. There are approximately 120 children attending the school. They currently have no permanent building. Classes are held in a tent that does not protect the interior from the elements. There are bare dirt floors and the school benches rot very easily from the rain and constant moisture. However, the children attend school even under these conditions. The head of the school is a lovely 29 year old man working in very difficult circumstances, but he is committed to the school and the children. There are a total of 6 teachers that are very rarely paid as there are no funds to do so. Through my friend Sarah’s amazing work, the school is provided with food once a month via a sponsor that she secured. This ensures that the children have at least one meal per day during the school week.

Our immediate goal is to bring backpacks and school supplies for all of the 120 children to be delivered at the start of the new school year in September. Additionally, since the school has nothing, we would also like to bring any other classroom supplies (i.e. chalk, chalkboard erasers, art and craft supplies, etc.) that we know will go to good use.

Our goal is to provide the following wish list items to each child:

  • 1 – backpack
  • 1 – hand pencil sharpener
  • 1 – 24 pack of crayons
  • 2 – 100 count Composition Notebooks
  • 1 – pencil case
  • 1 – eraser or pencil top erasers
  • 5 – ballpoint pens (blue or black)
  • 6 – number 2 pencils
  • 1 – 12″ ruler

We are confident that we can achieve this goal, but we will need assistance. Here are some ways that you can help us reach our goal:

Checks should be made payable to:

Be The Hope, Inc.

9767 N. Baylor Drive

Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

  • Host a school supply drive at your child’s school, daycare, office, church or business
  • Pick up some extra school supplies from our wish list while doing your own back to school shopping
  • Fundraise by holding a car wash, bake sale, rummage sale, etc.
  • Share this with your friends via social media
  • Local donations of school supplies can either be dropped off at the above address (there is a collection bin out front) or we will pick them up!

Please contact us with any questions, comments or suggestions! Thank you in advance for your help and support!

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Let the fundraising begin!

Our very first fundraising campaign was launched today on Indiegogo! The goal is to raise $4,000.00. If we reach our goal, we will be able to purchase 150 backpacks for the kids at Agape Orphanage, La Main Tendre Orphanage, Frem Orphanage, Cite Soleil Youth Center and Mix Emmanuel Primary School. If we don’t reach our goal, we will purchase as many backpacks as we can. If we surpass our goal, we will use the additional funds for any or all of the following: additional backpacks for other schools in need (we already have a couple in mind!), other classroom necessities such as chalk, chalkboard erasers, arts and crafts supplies, and books.

Our clothing donation drive is still underway. We are collecting gently used and new clothing and shoes for ages 1 – 14 (both boys and girls) as well as new underwear for all ages. If you would like to hold a donation drive, please email us and we’ll give you more details. If you live in the Phoenix, AZ area we will pick up any donations too!

Our Indiegogo campaign can be found here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/be-the-hope-the-backpack-project/x/2362242

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

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Where Do We Start?

We now know what we want to do, provide a backpack full of school supplies to children in developing countries. How do we go about setting up a non-profit? What country are we going to start in? How do we find trustworthy people already in country to connect with? How are we going to accomplish what we want to do? Wow, deciding what we wanted to do was really easy compared to implementing it!

After purchasing How To Form A Non Profit Corporation, we were on our way. Filing forms with the Secretary of State, writing Articles of Incorporation, submitting them to the Corporation Commission, publishing them, and more and more brainstorming. With all of that done, the panic and self doubt set in. The project gets put on the back burner in part due to the self doubt, but also in part due to the fact that I am a single parent of a teenager, a licensed foster parent, and was working full time in the finance industry. All excuses that really did not prohibit me from following my dream, but real enough for me to think that I just could not do it. How can I, a single mom living in Arizona, make a difference in the world by helping children gain access to an education?

Fast forward to December 2012 and it’s clear that this idea is not going to go away. Over the course of the past 16 months my daughter and I have revisited the dream off and on. I have read more inspirational books and added more “heroes” to my list. People that have started their own projects because they had a true desire and passion and they were brave enough to follow their dream. I have done more research, looked into crowd-funding,  free website options (to keep the costs to a minimum), how to blog, etc. Most of my effort, however, has been trying to decide where to implement our idea. I have done so much reading on the plight of Africa that initially it seemed like the place to start. But because Africa is so big and there are so many countries that could benefit from our idea it became a daunting proposal. Not to mention, I knew that to really get an idea of the needs of the children, I would have to travel to the country that I chose and experience it first hand. Reading, researching, and watching every documentary that I can get my hands on were a good start, but real life experience will give me the best understanding. Airfare to Africa from where I live is expensive, plus the cost of lodging, airport transfer fees, food, etc., coupled with the fact that I am planning on funding this fact-finding mission on my own and I knew I could not start in Africa.

One day it came to me and I couldn’t believe I had never thought of it before! Haiti. I knew that even before the earthquake devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, it was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. There was a terrible orphan and human trafficking problem prior to the earthquake and the situation was exacerbated following it. An estimated 300,000 people lost their lives that day, another 1.5 million found themselves homeless, 4,000 schools were either damaged or destroyed (90% of the schools in Port Au Prince alone), and according to UNICEF, the education sector was facing challenges prior to the earthquake. With 50% of the population living below the poverty line, education is not a priority. With the cost of school fees, uniforms, and school supplies many Haitians can not afford to send their children to school when they have trouble putting food on the table.

Haiti it is!