||The assistance provided by St. Bartholomew Church continues to have a significant impact on the members of St. Anne's Parish, by providing food and stipends for two nutrition centers, salary for a nurse and funding for medications and other medical supplies, the building and maintenance of a radio station, building of a secondary school addition, and youth work projects.
In addition to the parish-to-parish assistance, there is also an opportunity to help on a more personal basis by taking on the sponsorship of a child. A sponsorship program provides an education for over 260 children and young adults, pre-school age through university. Many of these children are orphans. There is a waiting list of children who need sponsoring.
Cange Wanter, age 5, is one such child being sponsored by a member of our parish. His father is dead and his mother does not have regular employment. Cange has a younger brother and a younger sister. He is bright and an eager student. -but without support may not be able to attend school at all.
In Haiti, only about 20% of children have the opportunity to attend school; illiteracy is 80%. Unlike the United States, in Haiti, the state does not mandate education and spends practically nothing on social services including education. Therefore, the Catholic Church takes on many of the roles of the state; Haiti is 80% Catholic and many people look to the church for help where we in the United States look to the-government. For example, in Haiti there is no Social Security, unemployment compensation, food stamps, health care or numerous other social service programs to which we have access in the United States.
Sponsorship of a wonderful way to get 'personally involved'. Sponsorship provides tuition, books and supplies, uniforms, transportation, if needed. In Haiti, there are seven years of primary school, which includes kindergarten, followed by seven years of secondary school. School begins in mid September and ends in mid June. Many of the children in the sponsorship program either have no parents or their parents cannot take care of them. Many times children do not go to school every year, and it is not unusual for someone to be 30 years old before he/she finishes secondary school. Students may not have the necessary financial support or there are not enough schools or teachers in the area where they live to enable them to attend school on an annual basis. At the same time, education is a high priority for both parents and children.
When a child is sponsored, Pere Chery, pastor of St. Anne, will send a picture of the child, some basic information about the child's family, where he/she attends school, etc. Each of the sponsored children is expected to write the sponsor at least once a year: There is a young adult, Almana, at St. Anne who is responsible for the sponsorship. program; encouraging the children to write, collecting and translating their letters. You may also write your sponsored child if you wish. Information on how to send a letter or mail a package to your sponsored child will be provided. Letters sent can. be written in English. Letters that you receive from your sponsored child will also be translated into English before you receive them.
Here's how to do become a sponsor:
Contact Judy Harpenau at 379-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Because the waiting list is so large there is some latitude to request a boy or girl, or younger or older child. Costs range from $300 to $400 per year. The amount of the sponsorship may be paid monthly, quarterly, or all at once.
Monies are sent to Pere Michel Chery, pastor of St. Anne, four or five times a year. Pere Chery manages the distribution of funds to the students, parents or guardians of the students to pay school expenses. Your contribution is also reflected on the stewardship statement which you receive from St. Bartholomew Parish. Sponsorship may be renewed although there is no obligation. Judy will send an annual reminder.
During trips to Haiti, we meet many of the sponsored children and sometimes their parents. Almana arranges for the children to come to the rectory to meet us during our visit. Many times neither can find words to express their gratitude to the sponsors.