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What If? Blog

Mar 30th, 2018

A New Home for the Food Program

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

mother holding babyThis month marks 18 years of the food program in the Ti Plas Kazo community of Port-au-Prince. 18 years of children and families knowing their hunger can be relieved. 18 years of hope, determination, and love by Na Rive’s leaders and staff. 18 years of your compassion and support. We are so grateful for the role you’ve played in maintaining this vital program.


Help us keep hot, nutritious meals available for some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Children like Lydia, who has been coming to the food LYDIA_MAR2018program since she was an infant. Lydia’s parents, a beautician and a mechanic, struggle to make ends meet. They are incredibly grateful knowing that she and her brother can count on the meals the food program provides.

But they haven’t always known where to get them. Since Lydia started coming to the food program six years ago, it has been forced to relocate three times.

Like the rest of Haiti, Ti Plas Kazo remains in a constant state of change, mainly due to the effects of natural disasters and political instability. As the neighborhood changes, the food program has shifted from one location to the next, never able to establish solid ground. But through it all, our partner Na Rive has never wavered in its commitment to the children of Ti Plas Kazo and has successfully served hot meals for 18 years.

Now it’s time to build a home for the food program, so children like Lydia always know where to go for a meal.

Lava new food construction Mar2018

Program Director Lavarice Gaudin and his staff have recently taken steps to develop the lot right behind the Father Jeri School, and have begun construction on a new and permanent home for the food program. The building plans are designed specifically to serve the program – a kitchen large enough for cooking at volume and securely storing supplies; a large dining space with tables, benches, and a designated counter for serving and restrooms for the cooking staff.

Join us in securing the future of the food program. With a donation of $50 from each of our donors we can fund the completion of its new home.

What’s more, having a purpose-built home for the food program creates the opportunity for the Father Jeri School to expand its reach and possibilities. For instance, the new space could be used to hold events and dinners for students’ families, and the lot is large enough to add classrooms in the future.

Thank you, as always, for allowing your compassion to cross borders. We look forward to sharing the progress of this incredible project with you soon.

Piti piti….

Suzanne signature
Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director


Feb 28th, 2018

A Lesson in Pride and Hope

big group citadel_2People all over Haiti celebrated Carnival in February –but few had the chance to use the holiday as a learning opportunity. While most schools closed their doors to steer clear of the revelry, 148 students and 12 teachers from the Father Jeri School took a trip to Cap Haitien to experience their nation’s history.

A port city on the north coast filled with beautiful colonial architecture, Cap Haitien was the original capital of Haiti, and later, a key location in the Haitian Revolution. Wearing matching t-shirts, the students toured moments in history Citadellethey’d only read about. They visited the Citadelle, a fortress built in 1805 by Henri Christophe, one of the country’s most prominent leaders. They stepped into Bois Caiman, site of the first major slave insurrection of the Haitian Revolution. And they stood on the ground of The Battle of Vertieres, which led to the independence of Haiti in 1803 — the first successful slave revolution in history. At the end of each day, the group got together to ask questions, share their thoughts, and reflect on their heritage.

School trip t shirtsFew American students get the opportunity to tour their nation’s capital, and in Haiti it’s even less common. It was the first trip to Cap Haitien for almost everyone – including the teachers. Even Madame Phillipe, who taught history at a very prestigious school in Port-au-Prince for eight years, was never given the opportunity to experience history like this. Now both teachers and students have a personal connection to these places, making the teaching more engaging and the lessons more meaningful.

With their amazing resourcefulness, our Haitian partner, Na Rive, was able to secure transport as well as free lodging at a local school. To cover the cost of meals, each family was asked to contribute 183 Haitian Dollars, or $2.65 US, but no one was turned away for lack of funds. Na Rive believes strongly in the role nutrition plays in education, whether the kids are in school or away from it.

Trips like this illustrate how the Father Jeri School is pursuing its mission to foster and inspire the next generation of Haiti’s leaders. At a time when others question the value of this country, your contributions are creating education, pride, and hope for the future.

Jan 29th, 2018

Haiti: A Country of HOPE

Jan_2018_eblast waterfall2If you’ve been listening to the news lately, or watching our social media feeds, you know that Haiti has been in the headlines.  It seems some people have a very different view on the country we know and love. Perhaps they haven’t seen the same Haiti we have.

A country with a proud history of freedom and independence – a history inextricably linked to our own.

A place of incredible beauty and creativity.

A people with a bright, bold, indomitable spirit.

A future filled with youth, energy, and hope.  This is the Haiti we know and cherish. This is the Haiti we celebrate and support.
jacmel carnival photo web

We’ve shared many stories with you of the children and families your donations support – as well as the leaders, teachers and volunteers who are making change happen in Ti Plas Kazo. We’ll keep sharing these stories for as long as there is a What If? Foundation.And today, we ask that you do the same.

Forward the emails, share our website filled with dreams aspired to and dreams fulfilled. Share these stories of children learning to become leaders in their school, community, and country. Tell everyone you know that Haiti is a place of incredible resilience, community, and beauty.
Berto and children IFO school

Together, we can do our part to change the narrative about Haiti. Because the best answer to ignorance is knowledge. The best counter to pessimism: HOPE.

Hopefully your friends, family and colleagues will be inspired to get involved, as you have. If nothing else, they’ll have an accurate glimpse of a country and a people that have continuously inspired us since our first visit 18 years ago. Hope defines Haiti like no other place we’ve seen. We share that hope, and together we can help it grow.  Together we can build on that hope and support Haiti’s efforts towards a better future.

Dec 23rd, 2017

Share the holiday spirit

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

fabiola baby plates of fooodChristmas is coming, and the Na Rive kitchen is as busy as can be. Every year on Christmas day the cooking team serve a special meal to over 1,000 children in Ti Plas Kazo.

These children don’t have much — the meal is most likely their only gift, and like so many other days, their only sustenance. This special day at the food program tells them that they are loved, and have not be forgotten.

For children who cannot make it to the meal, Na Rive staff ties up gifts of rice and beans to take home, so families can share Christmas dinner together.

It’s been a challenging year, but the holidays are a moment of sharing and gratitude. We celebrate with our community – our brothers and sisters — and say thank you to all of our friends who support us and our children.
-Lavarice Gaudin, Na Rive Program Director

food pantry holiday bags 3Meanwhile, the students and teachers at the Father Jeri School are celebrating the end of exams, and looking forward to the holidays.

It is a time of much joy, love and gratitude in Ti Plas Kazo. We send our heartfelt thanks to you for bringing so much cheer to the lives of these children during the holidays, and every day.

On behalf of everyone in Ti Plas Kazo, we wish you much health and happiness in 2018.

With gratitude,

The What If? Foundation staff, board, and our Haitian partner Na Rive

Dec 6th, 2017

Take a moment to remember Fabiola

Dear Friends,

fabiola baby plates of fooodI hope your Thanksgiving was filled with family, friends, and good memories.

I also hope you’ll take a moment to remember Jean Marc, Fabiola, and all the children who rely on the nourishment the food program provides. On my last trip to Haiti, I witnessed brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, and best friends come together around mealtime. Your donations feed hungry children while creating a vital moment for family and community.

If you’ve recently made a donation, thank you for your generosity. If you haven’t had a chance yet, please donate today, and share this email with friends and family who might like to make a difference in the life of a Haitian child.

boy at desk nov 2017Gifts of all sizes can have a meaningful impact. $25 feeds seven children for an entire week. $350 can provide a year’s education for an elementary school student at the Father Jeri School. Every dollar creates possibilities that would not exist for these children otherwise.

Our partner in Port-au-Prince, Na Rive, gives thanks to you. They feel the difference you make every day. Your donations enable them to provide nutrition, education, and hope to the children in their community. Your loving support is helping them build a better future for their country – one child, one lesson, one step at a time.

On behalf of The What If? Foundation board and staff, we thank you again for all that you do for the children of Ti Plas Kazo.

With gratitude,

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director