Fun With Pipe Cleaners

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You never know where children will be inspired to find joy, as many of us have learned when we bought a young loved one a fancy gift only to discover they found more pleasure from the box or the wrapping paper. It’s no new story to tell that kids don’t need a lot to be entertained thoroughly! We experienced this first hand the other day at the Kay St. Anne when two volunteers from Spain brought out a box of decorative pipe cleaners. The younger kids of our FWAL Program each picked a few of their favorite colors and the creations began. It was a great sight to see their imaginations flow as they began to make flowers, necklaces, bracelets, and the biggest hit of the day – brightly colored pipe cleaner glasses.

Soon, with the assistance of the volunteers and the Madams, who provide live in care, the kids had their own pair of pipe cleaner glasses. They were thrilled! Each child expressed themselves through color choices and adding extra bits for flair. As the older kids finished up their pair, you were sure to find them helping their younger brothers and sisters accomplish what they wanted as well.

Just like the child playing with the box while an expensive gift sits untouched, these are the days that remind you, you don’t need to have a lot to give to bring a smile to a child’s face.

Contributed by Shana Van Valkenburg
Communications Manager

 

Cheerful Toddler Alfonso!

Alfonso* joined the NPH/FWAL family in July of 2012. The staff at NPH’s St. Helene Orphanage in Kenscoff, found him abandoned at their front gate that summer. Since there was no note left with him, an investigation was done to track down his family; unfortunately, it was not successful.

St. Helene is not equipped to take in children younger than three years old, so FWAL was contacted to see if Alfonso could be integrated with the youngest children of FWAL at the St. Anne Baby House, which cares for children up to seven years of age.  At St. Anne, Alfonso joined a family of 40 children who eat, sleep, play and learn together. Alfonso was named after the FWAL founder, Alfonso Leon.

Over the past two years, Alfonso has grown into quite the expressive character amongst the babies at Kay St. Anne. Alfonso is a cheerful toddler with a great sense of curiosity, an infectious smile and a big appetite. He is very active and enjoys playing with the scooters and romping with the other children in the ball pit in the St. Anne playroom.

According to Marie Ange, the coordinator of Kay St. Anne, Alfonso loves hugs, kisses and cuddling with his caregivers.  She also notes, “He is very intelligent and he learned to speak at one year.”

Since FWAL’s primary purpose is to support our children until they are able to be reunited with their family, Alfonso will move to St. Helene Orphanage in Kenscoff when he is a little older.

It has been a pleasure to watch this little baby turn into the adventurous toddler that he is now and we are looking forward to see him continue to grow into a young man.

Contributed by Shana Van Valkenburg
Communications Manager

Summer Update

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just like any family, the change from spring to summer is an exciting and busy time! We’ve had a very eventful season here at Father Wasson’s Angels of Light with graduations, baptisms, celebrations and the start of summer camp.

In addition to the St. Louis Home inauguration in April and the departure of Joanne Schipper in May, we had many celebrations this spring, including Flag day on May 18th and Mother’s Day on May 25th.  Flag Day is a big deal in Haiti and the children celebrated their Haitian pride with songs, and dances. On Mother’s Day, we took some time to honor and celebrate all the important people who play the role of Mother to all our children. From caregivers to god parents, this was a day to give thanks and honor the women who support this family.

The school year ended on June 20th and we had 66 proud graduates of our preschool and 76 proud graduates of our primary school. Eighteen of those graduates live here on our FWAL campus, nine children from Kay St. Anne and nine from Kay St. Louis and the rest of the students live with their families in the surrounding area. Graduation day is a very exciting day here. Students worked very hard to catch up and improve their studies as some did not attend school prior to coming to FWAL. The bright smiles are only a small indication of the pride they are able to take in their accomplishments as their hard work and persistence paid off. Luckily for us, graduation does not necessarily mean good bye. We will happily see 43 of the primary school graduates back on campus next fall where they will continue their education with the first two years of secondary school.

Saturday June 21, 2014, we had a wonderful ceremony to celebrate the baptism of 20 children. Nine were part of the St. Anne and St. Louis home and 11 other children from the neighboring areas were also invited to participate. The baptized was made possible by social assistance office, Mr. Jean Romain, Mr. Philippe, FWAL Director Kenson Kass and Reverend Fito. It was a great day for children specifically because this is a child’s first sacrament.

Just this past week, we kicked off another great summer camp program, thanks to our NPH fundraising office in Austria who has sponsored this yearly event for the past four years. The day starts with a signing program that can be heard all through the neighborhood and a prayer. Then the kids spilt up to take classes in drumming, dancing, drawing, music lessons, English, sewing, paper mâché, and lots of other arts and crafts. If you have the opportunity to come visit NPH Haiti and the FWAL program, be sure to ask to see all the beautiful drawings and crafts the children have made and are on display! Camp will continue through the middle of August. We have a great sports program with a group from Italy and a field trip at the end of the session to look forward to.

Summer has always been one of the most magical parts of childhood and that is true for the FWAL children as well. A lot of generous donations have gone into the planning and execution of all the wonderful summer events happening here. From all the staff, and children at FWAL we send a big thank you!!

Contributed by Shana Van Valkenburg

Thermoncy–A Dedicated Father

Thermocy

“My kids are my whole life,” says Thermoncy Dieusibon, father of two children living at the FWAL St. Louis home. “I would come see them everyday if I could.”

Thermoncy’s two children, Emi* 11-years old and Markens* 9-years old, have lived at FWAL since 2010. The children were in the care of their grandmother, who lives in close proximity to their father, but neither could provide the basic necessities of clean water, food, healthcare, education and adequate shelter. The strain was too much on the single father so Thermoncy began looking for a solution and was referred to the NPH Haiti Fr. Wasson Angels of Light program.

Though it was hard on him at first to have his children live in the care of strangers, Thermoncy was determined to meet and get to know the FWAL staff and to also maintain a consistent relationship with his children. His determination led him to return to FWAL every month for family day, where he could visit with the children for a few hours. He has been doing this for over four years now. Unfortunately the children have not had contact with their birth mother for over eight years, due to her abandoning them.

Markens and Emi in 2010

Markens and Emi in 2010

Both Emi and Markens have attended school since 2011, when FWAL began their makeshift elementary school out of tents and shipping containers. They also were fully vaccinated and receive yearly well-child check-ups.

FWAL recently completed the construction of eight children’s homes where the siblings now live. Previously they lived in retrofitted shipping containers and while construction was underway, the girls moved into the babies house and the boys lived in the school’s auditorium.

Thermoncy is very grateful for FWAL for providing his children with food, clothing and an education. “If I had a job or small business, I would be happy to have the kids back, though where we live is only a small room.” Before the 2010 earthquake, Thermoncy sold cell phones, which he enjoyed and would like to do again, but without a small loan, it is very difficult to start even a humble business. In the meantime, he is secure knowing his children are safe, well fed and are being educated, not just in academics but also in spiritual formation. Also according to our NPH Philosophy, each child has a chore or “job” to do every day, whether it be sweeping and mopping, washing dishes or cleaning up around the playground. The children learn to take on responsibility for their own home, to work together and to value the work of others.

Markens at FWAL school

Markens at FWAL school

We are thankful to be able to provide support and care for Emi and Markens. Their fate without FWAL’s intervention would most likely have been a very difficult childhood with little or no educational opportunities.  According to the United Nations World Food Programme (http://www.wfp.org/stories/haiti-10-hunger-facts)

  • Only 50 percent of Haiti population has access to safe drinking water.
  • Some 55 percent of Haiti’s 9 million people live below the poverty line of US$1 a day.
  • Chronic malnutrition affects 24 percent of children under five, rising as high as 40 percent in the poorest zones.

To learn more about NPH Haiti, sponsor a child, or donate, please visit: http://www.nph.org

*Names changed to protect privacy.

Contributed by Monica Gery, Dir. of Communication, NPH International