The Lamp is, first and foremost, a health organization. Our health center in Bwa Nèf, Cité Soleil is the heart of our program. But we are also a part of a community, a community in which there is a burning hope to do better in all aspects of life. One obvious evidence of this hope is the number of schools throughout the area. There are five within a short walk of our clinic. You would be hard pressed to find a community with a keener appreciation of education than this one. Education — it is known — is the way to move from mere survival to some small taste of the good life: meaningful work, food on the table, and rest from the endless crises of poverty.
The Lamp sponsors 21 children in these local schools. The pictures show Misterlande and Steevenson receiving their school supplies at the beginning of the year. It is a small program, but it has many benefits. It creates a strong relationship with the leadership of the schools. The owners, principals and teachers are among the most community-minded leaders in the zone, and their support of our other programs is a great benefit for us. The regular income they gain from the sponsored children has a outsize effect on the facilities of their entire schools. The relationship allows us, too, to easily integrate health education sessions into school curriculums. And, of course, we are able to provide a few beautiful children with a basic education.
Recently the kids were asked to provide some information about themselves. Their favorite color, the name of their teacher, and so on. The answers were very touching. When asked about their favorite food fully half said “rice with bean sauce” which is what they eat each day (if they are lucky). Only a few were bold enough (or experienced enough) to say “meat”. When asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, half of them chose “doctor” or “nurse”. That is the good effect of having a fine Haitian-run health center in their neighborhood (the Lamp!), and here’s hoping they achieve their dreams!