Dear Friend of the What If Foundation,
Back to school at the Fr. Jeri School this year has been a particularly challenging one. On the bright side, the school was able to open its doors on September 9th and has welcomed a record number of students. More than 430 children registered for this school year (compared to 350 last year) and more are expected to join over the coming weeks.
However, as the ensuing political and economic crisis deepens, life in Haiti has become incredibly difficult. Fuel shortages are now commonplace, impacting transport, access to basic goods and services, and getting to schools and places of work. Inflation is rampant and street protests asking for President Jovenel Moise to resign have intensified. This, coupled with the use of government force and a rise in crime, has led to a steep increase in violence across the country. Over the last month, the situation has reached a boiling point.
As Na Rive Program Director Lavarice Gaudin describes “You can see the smoke lifting from Port-au-Prince to Jeremie as more and more barricades of burning tires are blocking the streets. Many schools, banks, and businesses have closed. No fuel means no one — and nothing — can get where it needs to be. People are hungry, desperate and scared, and they’ve had enough. Our country is in a crisis like we haven’t seen in a long time.”
Many of the new students attending the school come from downtown Port-au-Prince, where the violence has been most fierce. The Fr. Jeri School has become their refuge in a political storm. Despite many schools being closed across the country, the Fr. Jeri School – powered by your generous donations – has managed to keep welcoming children, offering them a hot meal and a place of safety, hope and opportunity.At difficult times like these, we are heartened to see that our strong partnership model with Na Rive continues to prove impactful: your enduring support makes it possible for them to reach people where and when they need it most. The school you helped build has become a beacon of hope and safety well beyond the neighborhood. And together, we have the capacity to help more children than ever.
Please help Na Rive hand a hot, nutritious meal to every new child who lands at their door.
Help them make room for every student who wants to learn.
Help them keep Ti Plas Kazo safe for these families.
The need is growing, and it is urgent. Lavarice and his team are hearing
the call, but we can only answer it with your help. Please give if you
can, and keep Haiti in your hearts. We’ll continue to keep you updated
as the situation develops.
“Men anpil chay pa lou.”
(many hands make the load lighter)
Interim Executive Director