Praise be to God that our children are living longer and growing into adults. This means, we need to help them plan to leave the CHOAIDS home to live on their own, but not without job training and life skills. In September 2015, with the financial support from one of our donors, two of our oldest girls, Venise and Clara, began a 12-month culinary program in Croix-des-Bouquets. However, we have four other young adults, Harold, Zachary, Alexandra, and Christelle, who will be ready to start similar programs in 2016. While these young adults complete their job training, we plan to locate employment and housing so that they can become self-sufficient to live on their own.
A few years ago, we noticed that our children were not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, so we revised the menu to add these fresh food items. Even though Haiti is in an island, just like many other places in the world, food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, are expensive. The children consume cooked veggies, and fruits and raw veggies in juices and salads. Our goal is to increase the current amount of fruits and veggies they eat from twice a week to every day.
Vitamins & Supplements
All of our children take a multi-vitamin, fish oil, folic acid, iron, Vitamin C and B-Complex. The reason for all these vitamins and supplements is that they help their immune system stay strong to fight infections that are caused by HIV. We have reasons to believe that since our children have been taking these products, many have experienced fewer sicknesses and colds. The products are often purchased in the US and taken or sent to Haiti. However, to provide good quality vitamins and supplements to 23 children year around costs us over $3,000 per year.
ART & Theater
Art & Theater is an important piece to the wellbeing of all children, especially those who are living with a terminal illness. Two years ago was the last time we were able to hire teachers to work with our children. We are hoping to start this project anew, and to have teachers year-round so that our children can host a World AIDS DAY event (December 1st) and a Christmas party. Furthermore, we would like for the children to learn embroidery, crochet, and be able to learn how to make other handmade items so that we can sell the items to create a fund to help support them when they are ready to leave the CHOAIDS home and be on their own.
Choose to give water, because water is life. At CHOAIDS, we spend $140 (US) every month for water. Here’s the breakdown - - water is purchased in two ways at the house: water truck for every day use and filtered water for drinking. The water that comes from the truck is purchased twice a month and must be filtered before use. The drinking water is purchased twice a week using 15 5-gallon jugs. So, when you support our Water Project, you are helping us give life to our HIV+ children, because drinking unsafe water can lead to diarrheal infections, which in turn may lead to death.
Education is the way to a better future. For the 2015-16 school year we spent $11,000 to send the 22 children in our care to school. We provide school uniforms, tuition, books, notebooks and other supplies for all 22 children. Supporting the School Project will help us securing the kids tutor’s salary for the year. We pay her $120/month ($1,440/year) for her services.