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Sep 18th, 2018

Transforming lives at the Father Jeri School

kids showing artIt’s an exciting time for everyone at the Father Jeri School. Students and teachers have headed back to the classroom. And everyone is thrilled by the recent news: Father Jeri students had a 100% pass rate on their government exams last year! It’s an almost unheard-of score (the national average is 66%), which has drawn the attention of the Ministry of Education and the entire community.

Na Rive is building on this success by adding the final year of school, Philo, to the curriculum. So starting this year, students will now officially be able to graduate from the Father Jeri School.

While the gas price hike was suspended back in July, the cost of everyday goods continues to skyrocket – as much as 40% in a very short time. Every family is feeling the effects, and so is the Father Jeri School.

We can make a difference. Let’s help the Father Jeri School have access to the resources they need.

As always, Program Director Lavarice Gaudin is doing everything he can to stretch resources as far as possible.

CU Lava at desk

“All kinds of businesses were destroyed during the July riots – and many jobs were lost with them. Families are struggling even more to find money for school tuition, while the overall costs at the school have also risen. This, together with a record number of student registrations, and the new Philo year, makes the need for more funds to buy furniture, as well as teaching, classroom and cleaning supplies, critical. Every dollar makes a difference.”

The great news is that the Father Jeri School is transforming lives. The students are realizing their potential. The journey from kindergarten to graduation day is now complete. Our partners, Na Rive, continue to make it all happen – no matter what comes their way.

And we can help.

If you can donate $20 or $30 – for food, for supplies, for the future – know that every single penny will be put to its best use. And know that we are grateful, as ever, for your compassion and continued support.

Aug 2nd, 2018

The summer camp tradition continues

camp bannerThe tradition of summer camp continues this year at the Father Jeri School. Last week, 200 campers and teachers made a day trip to Marchand-Dessalines, the “First Black Capital of the World.”

This little-known historical town, named after former slave and Haitian Revolution leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines, served as the original capital of Haiti when the country was founded in 1804. The students toured Dessaline’s former estate, the Palace of 365 Doors, its forts and the surrounding area with a guide who pointed out the historical significance of what they were seeing.kids in front of palace

Madame Marie, who had been raised in the area, had never been to the historical sites. “I feel so lucky that we were able to bring these children to see, touch and live their country’s history. I read about it in books, but no one ever thought to take me there. It makes such a difference.”

When they returned from the trip, the kids got together to share what struck them – the strategic thinking that went into the building of the site, the ingenuity of the building materials and weapons, and the bravery of their country’s first leaders. It provided a stark contrast to their country’s current state, and prompted a discussion about the forces that have driven Haiti in the past – and how the spirit of their founders could guide their future.

As you know, Haiti’s current state includes political uncertainty, civil unrest, and skyrocketing food prices. But that’s no reason to cancel summer camp. As Program Director Lavarice Gaudin says “No matter what Haiti faces, the education of its children cannot – must not – be neglected. Experiencing their history is how they will transform their future.”guide with tshirt

Every day, the children need a hot meal. They need a quality education. They need joy. They need hope that something better is possible. And they need you. The cost of food and gas in Haiti has nearly doubled in the last few weeks alone. Help us continue to give these children the tools to transform their lives, no matter what tomorrow holds.

As always, we are deeply grateful for your compassion, your kindness, and your support.

With love and gratitude,

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Directo

Jul 11th, 2018

Update on protests in Haiti

Dear Friends of What If,

I spoke to Lavarice this morning. So far, the relative quiet from Monday continues.

2017 first day of summer camp“There have been some protests, but they have been more localized. In fact, camp was open today. I just finished having a welcome meeting with new campers where they learned about the program and expectations and also about the Father Jeri School. They are all so excited to be here. They will have fun, learn new skills and have a hot meal every day. This program is especially important during these difficult times in our country. Children should have a safe place where they can just be kids – where they can laugh and play and learn.

We don’t know what will happen later in the week, but we are being very careful to monitor where the protests are and we will do everything possible to keep our kids and our community safe in these very challenging times.

We want to thank you for all your messages and prayers. We are so grateful to know that we are not alone.”

It’s heartbreaking to witness Ti Plas Kazo and all of Haiti pulled into turmoil once again. As always, we stand in solidarity with our Haitian friends, no matter what challenges they face.
Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and support, Na Rive, the children and the community can feel it.
With gratitude and hope,
Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director

Jul 9th, 2018

Protests in Haiti

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,

As you may have heard, protests broke out all over Haiti this past weekend in response to a 38% to 51% increase in fuel prices announced by the Haitian government. After several days of widespread protests, violence, and canceled flights, the government temporarily suspended the price hike and has yet to announce how it plans to adjust fuel prices going forward, in order to comply with an International Monetary Fund agreement.

Needless to say, price increases of this magnitude would impact everyone in the country, but the poor would be most deeply affected. With so many Haitians already struggling to purchase food, receive healthcare and access education, a price increase of this nature would be devastating. Although the protests have quieted down for the moment, people are still very anxious and uncertain as to how the government will deal with the situation.

I spoke to Lavarice Gaudin, Director of Na Rive, this morning and here’s what he had to say:

So many essential businesses have been destroyed – supermarkets, hardware stores and hotels have been burned and looted. There is a brief pause today so people can leave their homes and try to get some food, but the unrest is not over. Haitians are so angry. With the increased cost of fuel, prices for everything would go up. Already we have seen the price of rice more than quadruple, and beans and cooking oil have all skyrocketed. Poor people who already don’t have enough money and don’t have jobs now can’t feed their families. They are feeling desperate, like they have no choice, no way out of this situation.

The protests began on Friday afternoon, and people who were at work or school were stuck. Most “sheltered in place” over the weekend. Students and teachers at the Father Jeri School were here from Friday until Sunday when they could get home safely. So far the school is ok, but the future is not certain. The summer camp started last week, but it is temporarily closed until the situation settles down.

We are deeply grateful for your support and hope that the streets will be safe again so the children can begin their summer at ease.

With gratitude,

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director

Read more details in these articles


Jun 12th, 2018

Helping Davidson find his voice

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

On every trip to Haiti, I meet someone who captures my heart. This time it was Davidson Delima.


Davidson is three years old, born and raised in the Ti Plas Kazo community, and a pre-Kindergarten student at the Father Jeri School. He is so sweet and warm, quick to smile and take my hand. But until a few weeks ago, he had never spoken a single word.

Davidson’s mother, Elianette, never received a formal education and is so grateful that her son can attend school. “When he started, he wasn’t able to talk. But now, his teachers and I are starting to see progress. He is trying to count and sing!”

Attending school means that Davidson has a chance to find his voice – and pursue opportunities his parents never had. Lavarice Gaudin, Na Rive Program Director and Head of the Father Jeri School, is passionate about this point.

“Every child in Haiti represents hope and the future. But they must have an education! We are a small school, but with every child we reach, we can transform a life.”

Let’s ensure Davidson and his peers have the opportunities every child deserves.
Make a donation today.

Madame Erland 3yr 2017-2018Davidson is growing up playful and inquisitive, because every girl and boy in his classroom is nurtured and encouraged. His teachers are seasoned educators like Madame Erland, who is passionate about pre-Kindergarten and child development. She works with his mother Elianette to make sure he gets the support at home to be successful in school.

Davidson will learn to be well-rounded and confident, because his education goes beyond the basic curriculum to experiencing and navigating the world around him. He’ll learn vocational and life skills, and his country’s courageous history will be more than just lines in a textbook. It will be a living lesson, an inspiration.

Thanks to the Father Jeri School, Davidson can pursue a future his parents could only imagine.

And he will stay healthier than many children in his country because of the daily school lunch he receives, one that is packed with nutrients and cooked with love by members of Na Rive‘s food program team.  He also has access to medical care with a nurse on campus every day and weekly visits from a doctor.

boy at computerOur Haitian partner Na Rive is incredibly resourceful, stretching your donations to serve as many students as possible. But there is so much more to do. School supplies are needed to ensure a rich learning environment, yet they are scarce and expensive. A computer lab is essential to modern education, but it’s challenging to keep aging computers running properly. A reliable source of electricity is key to covering basic needs like proper lighting in the classrooms, yet public electricity is intermittent at best. And teachers need competitive salaries and regular training to stay at the top of their field.

Help us support Na Rive as they prepare for the next school year and create new hope for Haiti, one student at a time.

$25 buys one daily meal for a month.
$100 pays for books and supplies for the year.
$350 covers the cost of a year’s tuition for grades pre-Kindergarten through 5th.
$500 pays for a student in 6-11th grades.

Together, we have already made real change happen in Ti Plas Kazo, as you’ll read in our 2017 Annual Report. Let’s maintain the momentum Na Rive has built at the Father Jeri School. With your support, Davidson and his peers will start school again in the fall. And it will be our privilege to watch them grow, little by little, from the hope of Haiti into a bright future.

With gratitude and hope,

Suzanne signature



Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director