Congratulations to the LCS Class of 2019!

Master of Ceremonies Djim Guerrier (LCS '14) welcomes families, friends, and special guests of the Class of 2019 at Louverture Cleary School's 24th graduation on June 15, 2019.

Master of Ceremonies Djim Guerrier (LCS '14) welcomes families, friends, and special guests of the Class of 2019 at Louverture Cleary School's 24th graduation on June 15, 2019.

The Haitian Project (THP) is proud to announce the 24th consecutive graduation of Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS)! This past Saturday, June 15, 2019, the LCS Class of 2019 proudly stood as a promise of hope for Haiti's future. They chose the class name Synergy, as it reflects their deep sense of community and the responsibility they feel to take an active role in improving their society.

Four graduates were chosen to speak at graduation representing the four languages of LCS—Kreyòl, French, English and Spanish. This excerpt is from the speech delivered in English by graduate Lovensky Jean-Louis: 

Our decisions are what lead us to achieve our dreams, even when we are afraid, remembering that courage is not the absence of fear. On the contrary, it is trying despite having fear. Only then will we achieve the impossible.

Please join us in congratulating the graduates of the LCS Class of 2019!


It is a recent tradition for the THP community to celebrate each of LCS’ graduating classes with a symbolic gift of $1 in honor of each graduate for the continuation of THP’s mission. Simply include in the donation note that your gift is in honor of the graduates!

THP Proudly Anticipates LCS's 24th Graduation This Weekend!

Falonne Fils-Aime ensures that the LCS Santo 5 campus is beautiful for graduation this weekend.

Falonne Fils-Aime ensures that the LCS Santo 5 campus is beautiful for graduation this weekend.

We are proud to announce that Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS) will graduate its 24th class of servant leaders tomorrow, June 15, 2019! It is a recent tradition for The Haitian Project (THP) community to honor each of LCS's graduating classes with a symbolic gift of $1 per member of the graduating class toward the continuation of THP’s mission.

Please consider giving $40 today in honor of the 40 Philo (US 12th grade +1) students in LCS' Class of 2019.

A few words from members of the Class of 2019:


Q: What are some of your hopes or plans for the future?

A: I want to help others as LCS helped me. Even if I do not have a lot, I can share what I have. Especially my knowledge. I will give some of my salary to hospitals, the poor, and the school systems, because LCS has taught me to share what I have with others.

Philo student Falonne Fils-Aime

Q: What is something you will always remember about LCS?

A: Being a Louverturian is a gift. Being one means we have leadership skills, speak four languages, and know how to live in community. I think that the word Louverturian will be forever in my mind. I want to continue the mission.

Philo student Samuel Gustave


Congratulations LCS Class of 2019!

Please join us in honoring our graduates by supporting the education of the LCS students who follow their courageous lead. You, your family, and your local community are welcome to share the success of our graduates by easily hosting a Graduation Celebration!


The Class of 2019 stands out as dynamic and responsible. I can describe them in two words: great leaders. Everyday they are working hard for a better school and to be good examples for the younger students.

—Marjorie Mombrun, Principal, LCS Santo 5

Haiti in Trouble, Again: Small Island Nation and 2nd Oldest Republic is careened by yet another perfect storm—this one of human making.

By Patrick Moynihan and Tommy Cody

When small, oft-forgotten countries like Haiti experience high inflation, it does not make the news like a country such as Mexico or Argentina would. However, the people of Haiti are likely to suffer as much or more given that their buying power is already the weakest in our hemisphere.

Whether it is on our radar or not, skyrocketing inflation, unemployment, and a quickly weakening currency are destabilizing an already vulnerable country adding daily to the heightened political unrest. There are ongoing riots in the country asking for answers; some are even asking for the president to step down.

Most recently, as if the situation was not dire enough, the very agency responsible for collecting import taxes—the main source of revenue for the struggling nation other than direct aid—has gone on strike. Workers at the Directorate General of Taxes (DGI) want their pay adjusted. Who wouldn’t if your paycheck just lost over 30% of its buying power? However, they may end up with a nose-less face given it is their work that brings in the money the government has to pay salaries.

In the past 12 months, the Haitian gourde has decreased precipitously in value. It now takes over 90 gourdes to purchase one US dollar—it was in the low 60s last June and as little as 45 in 2015. The resulting high inflation (over 25%) is sending an already poor nation into greater poverty and increased political turmoil.

Source: "XE Currency Charts HTG to USD." 7 June 2019. www.xe.com.

Source: "XE Currency Charts HTG to USD." 7 June 2019. www.xe.com.

Since Haiti produces very few goods, currency devaluation has a direct and immediate impact on the livelihood of everyday Haitians by increasing the local cost of imported goods. Already struggling, those at the bottom of economy—70% of Haitians—are hurting the worst. However, the economic crisis is severe enough to curtail normal operation of even large businesses.

To take a step back, Haiti’s current economic turbulence is not solely a result of internal issues. The recent failure of Venezuela’s economy is a major factor. How? Out of appreciation for the safe-harbor Haiti provided to Simon Bolivar, the great South American liberator, Venezuela has historically provided Haiti with aid through its PetroCaribe program in the form of subsidized petroleum products. Much like a grotesquely played game of musical chairs or the stomach punch end to a Ponzi scheme, when the Venezuelan subsidy stopped, several politicians and an economy were scrabbling for a place to land.   

Haitian private sector member, Patrick Brun, worries that Haiti’s currency problems have kick-started a treacherous cycle. “Businesses adjust their prices to replacement cost and this drives prices up,” Brun stated. “As a result, people need more gourdes to purchase the same quantity of goods while revenues do not increase.”

Unfortunately, the pattern Brun details above weakens the gourde even more; it causes increased incentive to ‘dollarize’ (to post prices or makes sales in US dollars) the economy. This forces the everyday Haitian to buy dollars—putting more downward pressure on the gourde. This negative cycle places greater stress on families’ budgets, making even small, daily purchases high-stress decisions.

Even those fortunate enough to keep their jobs suffer and risk losing the economic foothold they established for themselves. As Brun warns, Haiti’s middle class is at great risk. “Where higher income households can cope for a limited period of time with the difficulties caused by accelerated devaluation, borderline middle-class households drop quickly below poverty levels,” he stated. What exactly this drop below the poverty line looks like depends on what families value and are able and willing to sacrifice. For many, this means difficult choices with long-term consequences.

Haiti’s recovery from immediate issues has proven near miraculous in the past. This can be attributed to its amazing people and their hearty love and willingness to sacrifice for nationhood. However, a country cannot simply will itself a future. A country must also have a working economy for even the best of people to have a fighting chance. 

Dear Friends, though these issues may seem beyond our control, there is a way you can help.  Please consider a donation to The Haitian Project at this time.  This will help create the financial flexibility to allow us to continue to work with our employees to alleviate the economic issues they are experiencing.  We hope to move forward on salary raises and annual contract payments as a first measure.

GIVE TODAY

Waste Not, and Compost!

“The way that we use the compost at school is very amazing. We can see it by looking at the trees. The compost helps the trees to grow and the plants to give more produce. Composting keeps clean the place where we are living.”

—Jenna Jules, Louverture Cleary Twazyem (US 10th grade) Student

Yesterday was National Learn about Composting Day! To celebrate, here’s a look at composting on the Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS) campus. Because Haiti does not currently have a widespread municipal waste collection program, necessity really has been the mother of invention when it comes to taking care of campus trash. As a good steward of the earth, LCS has developed systems over the years for dealing with refuse.

If you are not an avid composter already, perhaps this update will inspire you to roll up your sleeves this spring and start a compost pile of your own!  

Composting 101—Courtesy of Louverture Cleary School Santo 5! 

Step 1:  Collect food and yard waste.  

Every day, students, staff, and Volunteers place compostable food waste in designated containers to be taken to a large compost pile on campus. Common items include egg shells, fruit and vegetable peelings, and coffee grounds. During netwayaj (clean-up) each afternoon, the containers are emptied at the campus’s environmental center—an outdoor area set against a wall with divided storage for compost, recycling, metal, and materials to be burned.  

Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 students divide waste from their campus into categories, each to be handled responsibly. Above the compost pile are lyrics to an LCS original song, “Go, Go, Go Compost!”

Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 students divide waste from their campus into categories, each to be handled responsibly. Above the compost pile are lyrics to an LCS original song, “Go, Go, Go Compost!”

Yard waste is also collected each day. Students and staff sweep the campus of any debris that may have fallen on walkways during the day. Piles of leaves, branches, palm fronds, and the occasional fallen mango or coconut not already snatched up by a student are carried in wheelbarrows to the compost pile.

Step 2:  Get Cozy with Your Compost. 

Taking good care of a large community compost pile means feeling comfortable with stepping right into it. Five days a week, a handful of LCS students take pitchforks and turn the compost—flipping it from one side of a cinder block divider to another—taking note of texture, smell, and sections that may be ready for removal.  

Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS) students sift through the compost pile for usable soil. Many students enjoy taking care of LCS’s on-campus gardens.

Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS) students sift through the compost pile for usable soil. Many students enjoy taking care of LCS’s on-campus gardens.

Step 3:  Put Good Dirt to Good Use!

Students and Volunteers then sift compost material to divide raw materials from composted soil. Raw materials remain in the pile while the fresh, nutrient-rich compost is divided and spread to beds and gardens around campus. Voila!  

Alumni Profile—Jesula Tintin (LCS ’07)

Louverture Cleary School graduate Jesula Tintin ('07) takes a moment to greet Jimi Grondin (THP Volunteer Alum '01-'02) during a recent tour of Plastech Solutions S.A. in Haiti.

Louverture Cleary School graduate Jesula Tintin ('07) takes a moment to greet Jimi Grondin (THP Volunteer Alum '01-'02) during a recent tour of Plastech Solutions S.A. in Haiti.

With graduation season now upon us, here’s a look at a Louverture Cleary School graduate who is living the school motto: 

What you receive for free, you must give for free.—Matthew 10:8  

"Living together in community as a family" was Jesula Tintin’s favorite thing as a Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS) student, she recently explained in an upcoming article for the Haitian Project News. Just as service to one another is an important part of family life, it is also an important part of life on the LCS campus. Because students live at LCS Monday through Friday every week, there are plenty of opportunities to serve. While at LCS, Tintin was a dedicated participant in Ekòl Ankourajman (School of Encouragement), an after-school literacy program run by LCS students for children in the school’s neighborhood. 

Today, Tintin is employed by Plastech Solutions S.A., a Haitian company that manufactures custom-made plastic products in an eco-friendly and socially-responsible way. Tintin manages daily product deliveries to customers and continues to be a person of strong dedication—a skill she honed at LCS. She notes, “Since the day I was selected, I have been doing my best to work as a part of the team and to help the company reach its goals.”  

Tintin was first hired by Plastech Solutions after she had the opportunity to meet its general manager through an appointment secured through LCS’s Office of External Affairs (OEA). The OEA is responsible for providing support to LCS graduates for scholarships to Haitian universities and employment. Tintin turned to the OEA after finishing her university degree in management. She’s now been working for Plastech Solutions for ten years.  

Although still fairly young in her career, she is reflective on the opportunities she’s had as an LCS graduate and her desire for these same opportunities to be available to others. She says, “I hope that I can make a difference in Haiti. In a country where many women are mistreated, I especially want to help girls and women be strong, independent leaders and be proud of who they are and what they can accomplish.”

Happy Haitian Heritage Month!

haiti-597533_1920.jpg

Enjoy this video featuring one of our Rhéto (U.S. 12th grade) students sharing her thoughts on Haitian culture.

May is Haitian Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Haitian historical and cultural traditions and to honor the unique history, language, and community of Haiti and Haitian-Americans. On behalf of the students, faculty, staff, and volunteers of Louverture Cleary School Santo 5, The Haitian Project wishes you a Happy Haitian Heritage Month!

The Haitian Project plans to celebrate all month long on social media—follow us on Twitter and sign up for our Community Updates to learn more about what makes Haiti and Louverture Cleary School so special!

 

Education Works! Donate to support education in Haiti today!

Holy Week Reflection from Fr. Jordan Kelly, O.P.

Students enact Shadow Stations of the Cross annually during Holy Week for the Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 community as an expression of faith during the Lenten season.

Students enact Shadow Stations of the Cross annually during Holy Week for the Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 community as an expression of faith during the Lenten season.

You may lead us to where you call… these are the final words from the Prayer after Communion for Palm Sunday. Although I had read them in preparation for celebrating Mass, I was especially struck by these words as I prayed them during the Masses of Palm Sunday. In fact, I was so moved by them I included these words in my remarks to the congregation during the announcements after Communion!

You may lead us to where you call… where does the Lord lead us this Holy Week? In the midst of a broken world, Christ leads us to be His hands and feet as we strive to be agents of unity rather than division. This week, as we hear the story of our salvation in Christ, He calls us to embrace our Faith in a completely new way and to live our Faith without compromise. 

When do we compromise our Faith?

We compromise our Faith each time we fail to see Christ in our brothers and sisters who are different from us; we compromise our Faith when we allow the false gods of consumerism to block our charity and care for the poor; we compromise our Faith whenever we choose to live in resentment and anger, rather than embracing the freedom of forgiveness and letting go; we compromise our Faith each time the almighty “ME” comes before God and the other. We compromise our Faith each time we fail to pray because “we are just too busy.”

This Holy Week, may we not only be led by Christ to the fullness of His call for each one of us, but even more, may we accept His invitation to lead us now, and ultimately, to the eternal Easter in the Kingdom of God!

Fr. Jordan Kelly, O.P. is a Dominican Friar of the Province of Saint Joseph and pastor at the Church of St. Sebastian in Providence, RI.  

Mission Schools Still Matter

The Economist delivered a bit of good news in a February 21, 2019 article titled, The Geography of Education in Africa—Why Mission Schools Still Matter. The article explains new findings on the effect of geography on educational outcomes in Africa. While the education level of their parents is the strongest predictor of children’s educational achievement, the chart below shows that other geographical factors play a part, too. 

In particular, living near a Catholic mission improves children’s chances of becoming better educated than their parents. 

The Haitian Project (THP) community has always believed that Catholic education across the globe makes for a better world. Please consider supporting THP’s efforts to expand Catholic education in Haiti.  

TOP Five Reasons to Support The Haitian Project this Lent

(Or any time of year!)

1.  THP is an authentically Catholic mission. As an Association of Lay Faithful through the Diocese of Providence, RI, THP is recognized as having a specific charism (a unique spiritual identity) within the larger mission of our Church. THP uses the principles of Catholic Social Teaching to guide its community and work.

2.  Education is the first social outreach of the Church. Education is how we instruct others in the faith, invite those on the “outskirts” into community, and develop God-given talents to be shared for the good of others and for the benefit of society.

3.  Community is the means by which THP works and finds its success, both in Haiti and in the U.S. This is why THP desires to be physically present in your local community. Together, we strengthen our Church.

4.  The Louverture Cleary Schools Network is an UPSTREAM solution to poverty. After nearly three decades of providing quality secondary education in Haiti, THP recognizes that education is a game changer in Haiti. Education is not only transformative for the individual, it is the best way to address chronic challenges with rule of law, poverty, health, and environmental degradation.

5.  THP is about conversion. We work for change in the world and in ourselves. From THP’s Charism Statement:

…we have discovered that work done voluntarily for the benefit of others is a powerful, grace-filled catalyst for personal metanoia and environmental change. The success of our labor not only increases our sense of personal dignity and transforms the world around us, but it also deepens our trust in God and our willingness to serve.

To bring The Haitian Project to your parish or school, contact us at 401-351-3624 or email [email protected] 

Celebrating Kreyòl!

Yesterday, the UN celebrated French Language Day—one of several efforts to promote multilingualism. Today, The Haitian Project brings you a Community Update written by first-year Volunteer and 2018 University of Dallas graduate Abigail Knapp about how Louverture Cleary School (LCS) students practice and celebrate four languages throughout their school week.

Volunteer Abigail Knapp with Louverture Cleary School Sizyem (US 7th grade) students.

Volunteer Abigail Knapp with Louverture Cleary School Sizyem (US 7th grade) students.

On Sunday afternoon at LCS Santo 5, students can be heard excitedly chattering as they return from the weekend at home. Each day of the school week has a designated spoken language: English, Spanish, or French. On Sunday, the students speak Kreyòl. 

Kreyòl is the familial language of Haiti. Conversations about family, politics and sports are almost always in  Kreyòl! Vocally, French and Kreyòl sound somewhat similar; however, the two languages' spelling and grammar differ. Kreyòl has a rich history. It has developed naturally over the course of Haiti's history—it is very much a living language. Originally, it was mostly an oral language. At the end of the 20th century, it acquired an official written form. 

Louverturians have great pride in their native language, which is part of the school’s language curriculum. This gives the students a greater understanding of the roots and history of their language.

LCS Santo 5 Staff Member and Kreyòl teacher Myriam Jean-Baptiste (LCS ’10) emphasizes the importance of Kreyòl class so that the students “understand not only the spoken word but the grammar, the style, the history, especially learning the best way to write in Kreyòl.” 

The LCS community celebrates their language and culture through the annual “Kreyòl Day” celebration on October 28th, and the knowledge the students gain from their Kreyòl classes gives the day a greater meaning. Reflecting on the importance of the day filled with singing, dancing and recitations, all in Kreyòl, LCS Santo 5 Dean of Students Obed Gilles (LCS ’09) notes:

The culture of a nation is related to its language, you cannot take that apart. The students are able to better know the country, and by that, better know themselves.

Love of language goes beyond Kreyòl, as the students learn to fluently speak three other languages. From Sizyem (US 7th grade) to Philo (US 12th grade +1), Louverturians take seven years of four languages. The “language of the day” program requires students to speak the day’s language from breakfast to between classes and throughout afternoon play hour and evening study hour. 

Additionally, Rhéto (US 12th grade) and Philo (US 12th grade +1) students have started clubs for the younger children to practice. Volunteers reward students who practice their languages with tickets for the Language Store, which is especially popular among the younger students. As head of the Language Store this year, I can personally attest that students are most eager to practice English for tickets at anytime. They come to the store with their earnings, ready to purchase pens, paper, notebooks, or other odds and ends.

Philo (US 12th grade +1) student Brenel Charles reflects that the LCS Language Program is one of the best in Haiti:

It is not easy, but it is an efficient method to learn the language. It is totally different than other schools, where the teacher just comes but they don’t practice beyond the classroom. We learn the languages proficiently. This will serve us later in our careers and life.