A Week full of Extremes

We just returned from a very inspiring trip to Port-au-Prince, filled with impressions, experiences and emotions. Haiti is a beautiful country with green mountains, blue ocean, and pristine white beaches, what a contrast, to the challenged neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, where life is a daily battle for many who are struggling to get by, especially orphaned young adults who are often left on their own.

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During our trip, we visited several students at their homes in the very poor parts of Port-au-Prince. Although people live in poverty, it is beautiful and endearing to experience their warmth, friendship, generosity, and hospitality. Seeing the students at home really makes you understand the need to support them in their quest for financial independency. We also visited many schools and discussed potential partnerships and negotiated tuition fees. Partnering with school provides us with the opportunity to expand KCH’s impact, and by controlling the cost, help more students.

During the weekend, we spent a day with almost thirty of our students in the mountains. As part of the community service, we visited an ecological farm to educate the students on how to treat and preserve their environment - a topic that in Port-au-Prince is not often a priority, due to more pressing issues like hunger and housing. Most of our students do not get the chance to get out of the city too often, and it was amazing to see how much they enjoyed this day!

Before we left for the mountains we met two new adolescents with whom one of our alumni students had asked us to meet. Our alumni student has been taking care of the two, who are both orphans and have been living on the street since the earthquake in 2010. Hearing their story and their dire need for help was truly heartbreaking. You could just feel the weight on their shoulders and numbness in their faces from their harsh experiences. From a very sad and heavy start they joined us on the hike to the ecological farm and during the day they opened up, smiled, and enjoyed just being part of a group of kids of their own age and being out in the nature. Now, a few weeks later, they have done the intake with our coordinator. KCH has provided both with housing and they have selected their school. Change happens at small steps; yet seeing these kids’ faces going from numb to smiling was a very touching experience. Picture the impact of renewed hope.

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As a KCH board member, it is inspiring to meet the students and staff in Haiti. I’m grateful to be part of KCH and proud of the strong and resilient students in the program. The week was very well coordinated by the KCH staff in Haiti, all the work they put in made it a truly amazing experience. I would also like to thank and compliment both Jackson and Menesly for the commitment and dedication to KCH and the students in our program. After our recent experiences in Haiti, we are even more dedicated to our goal to grow the program to 100 students in 2018 because there are so many more young adults to help.

If you find it in your heart, become a part of KCH and make a difference. Although change starts with small steps, it does happen, if only we do not look away. Become a sustainable sponsor and help a student change his or her own life by becoming financially independent through education. In a hopeless situation, it sometimes just requires one person to reach out to them and make them feel part of something. Hope does change lives!

Jeroen

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