School Sponsorship Program
Zanmi Lakay’s School Scholarship Program provides children the opportunity to go to school that otherwise could not. With a $300.00 donation, we pair children in need with individual sponsors. Our Program Director in Haiti,
Joel Petion, handles the logistics and facilitates the School Sponsorship Program. In 2009 we sponsored nine children; this year we sponsored 44 in Port-au-Prince, Cite Soleil, St. Marc, and Jacmel.
As the second generation of street children from Lafanmi Selavi, we have unique connections with the kids and their families. Most of them know each other – their parents are friends and orphans who grew up together, and about 80% of our School Sponsorship recipients are children of children I knew when I first came to Haiti. None of them would be going to school if they weren’t enrolled in our program.
Our outreach services grew from the needs of children living on the streets with limited sources of income such as washing cars, begging, prostitution, working for bus drivers, or temporary manual labor chores. We provide shoes, basic clothing, backpacks, care packages (toiletries and basic supplies), cash for food, transportation, and living assistance.
We also run a Teens in Transition Program to provide resources for these young adults during a very critical time in their lives. Teenagers should not be left to fend for themselves, yet are pushed out of group homes too early. We believe that the skills these kids acquire to survive on the streets can be utilized in a positive way, and we give them that chance through opportunities to finish Classic School, trade school certifications, and for special training including learning how to drive.
Beginning with eight students in 1997 sharing manual film cameras, our Photography Workshops have grown considerably. In 2014 during Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto, our class of 35 advanced students used all digital cameras, and
we’re teaching computer training and business development fulfilling the needs of these students so that they can learn vital skills to help them earn a living. Now they can navigate computers and are learning about small business, and two of our advanced photography students have already completed paid assignments.
The Future – Community/Resource Center for street children
Our goal at Zanmi Lakay is to establish a sustainable Community/Resource Center to fulfill the needs of at-risk youth in Haiti. The plan is to create a state of the art computer center, photo studio, art gallery, and boutique where kids can develop business skills and exhibit their work. We will offer mentoring and tutoring, health care resources, educational assistance, a place where youth can get a meal, bathe, and wash clothes – a safe place that offers options for a better life where their talents can be nurtured.