As the end of the year approaches, we at Helping Hands Noramise are taking time to reflect on 2016 and begin planning for Moving Forward in 2017
We were happy to again host three members of ILAB in August for additional computer literacy training with our youths. ILAB is a youth group working out of Haiti Communitere in P-a-P, designing and producing medical clamps and other small products using two 3-D printers.
On their second visit to Team Noramise, they not only taught 2 days of basic computer skills but they also held in-depth discussions with our youths regarding the impact of their efforts on two of their team members, one of whom is now able to pay for schooling and another who is now able to contribute to his family. They stressed the fact that their computer skills are enabling them to earn a living in their own neighborhoods and reinforced the importance of developing these skills in order to gain access to local and international markets.
We currently have students at the computer lab who pay a token tuition. Part of the fee goes to pay the salary of the part-time instructor, a recent college graduate still looking for full-time employment.
Our sewing collective IMMI has seen much success this year. They have received orders for both the feminine
hygiene kits and diapers. They also filled an order of doll dresses for a new customer., building on success.
Following further sewing training and a health workshop in September, one of our members, Irose Joseph, traveled to Leogane along with a member of the Ranquitte sewing group, to teach another group of ladies to sew the hygiene kits. They also held a seminar on women’s reproduction for them. This was not only an opportunity for the ladies to share their knowledge, but they were also paid for their time.
As part of the community service requirement for all who participate in activities at Noramise Center, IMMI visited half a dozen schools in Limbe to teach young girls about female reproduction and menstruation and women’s health. These workshops were well received by the various school administrators who have asked us to continue this program. Some of the students came to the center as well for the workshops. We plan to add a few more schools to the calendar for 2017.
The rugby team is still alive and well, although our numbers have shrunk. The reason for the loss of players is the reluctance on the part of some to fulfill our community service requirement. Those who have left the team do not value community service and do not view it as an important part of belonging to a community. Nevertheless, the remaining players have kept their commitment and have visited the sick in hospital, distributed food to the poor house and continue to clean
the streets and canals in the neighborhood. They also held an arts day for 40 younger neighborhood kids this summer. This is cause for celebration.
In August we were finally able to distribute goats to the eight steadfast members of the team. We will provide medical care for the goats and training for the boys in caring for them for one year. They will raise and return the first born to us, so we can continue to distribute goats to others. The parent is then theirs to do with as they wish. Others who have participated in similar programs have sold their goat to pay for school, continued to raise goats and then bought larger animals, or have chosen to slaughter the goat and feed their families.
During the month of August, we ran a “Causevox” (a crowd funding source for non-profits) campaign in order to raise funds to expand our learning center. Computer classes, sewing activities and community health workshops make it necessary for us to have a bit more space. Unfortunately, the owner of the property we were hoping to rent has decided to not lease the space at this time, so we have opted instead to use the funds to rebuild the outdoor classroom in our backyard. When completed, we will be able to hold our community health and literacy classes under cover once again.
In April of 2017, with the help of Engineers Without Borders from Seattle University, we will finally be able to set up a small aquaponics project at the center. The
project will be completed by a visiting Rugby team from Olympia, Wa in partnership with the Limbe Rugby club.
In keeping with our mission to empower rather than enable local Haitians, we will be purchasing seeds and goats to distribute to families on La Gonave who were effected by hurricane Matthew. Thank you to those who made donations for this.
In summary, we have had some successes and some failures along the way. Lessons have been learned that will be used to chart our course for the coming year.
Team Noramise wishes to thank all of you who have supported us through your donations, advice and time spent with our members.
Wishing you Happy Holidays and a New Year filled with good health and surrounded by loved ones.