School Sponsorship

The Issue: Universal Access to Basic Education

In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty, which consisted of Eight Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. One of these goals is to achieve universal primary & secondary education. This well-established consensus based on evaluation of decades of poverty alleviation programs, clearly identifies universal access to education as the foundation for a pathway out of poverty and sustained economic and social mobility.

Haiti does not have a functioning public education system and the street kids we support do not have access to the financial resources to pay for the private schools that provide basic primary and secondary education. Street kids in Haiti are effectively priced out and prevented from receiving what is universally accepted as the basic tools for uplifting themselves out of poverty. It is a vicious cycle that we wish to disrupt and correct.

Our Response: school sponsorship programs

Avanse launched the School Sponsorship program in 2012 – a collaborative effort with our local partner in Haiti, Zanmi Lakay to provide for the private education of street kids, thereby giving them the foundation for emotional, economic & social mobility.

This partnership has provided the capabilities to achieve what may not have otherwise been achieved. Zanmi Lakay with their established operations, deep roots and long relationships within the community, was the ideal partner to execute an efficient, effective and robust school sponsorship program. There is a well-established system of payment direct to the school; all related expenses are tracked closely with no money going directly to the children or relatives; the children’s progress is closely monitored to ensure any problems are identified early and addressed, etc. The efficiency and integrity of the program supports the development of long relationships with the children, the community and the schools.

Progress So Far:

  • Provided access to primary and secondary education to over 75 children over the last 3 years

  • The dropout rate for our program is 0%! Our kids continue to thrive and take advantage of the opportunity provided to them

  • Developed and executed a plan to provide school sponsorship using a direct payment model with low operations cost

Going Forward:

  • Avanse would like to transition to commit to a long-term sponsorship model vs the current annual sponsorship model. This will remove the uncertainty and potential disruption in the children’s education and progress.
  • Increase the number of children in our sponsorship program to 40 annually. This represents a 60% increase over current levels. 

Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto

The Issue: access to programs enhancing creative talents and developing basic business skills

Haiti’s basic social and economic infrastructure has been destroyed by its recent history of violence and natural disaster. In this environment there are extremely limited opportunities for cultivating natural creative talents in children and young adults and enhancing their skills to allow these to be a vehicle for economic stability and growth.

The creative process has been shown to be one of the most effective avenues for promoting emotional healing and is a valuable catalyst for spurring social conversation and action.

Our Response: Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto

Launched in July 2011, Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto is an annual summer photo camp for street children. This is a 10-day program that provides street children with the opportunity to participate in a photography workshop that also teaches business skills. The program is a collaborative effort with our local partner in Haiti, Zanmi Lakay. Avanse provides funding for the camp as well as direct sponsorship funding for street children from Cité Soleil to participate in Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto.

The program is hosted in Jacmel, a beautiful seaside town in southern Haiti and provides the opportunity for our kids from the slums of Cité Soleil to learn and work in a safe and inspiring environment. The children learn the basics of working with a camera, explore their creative talents and have access to business development & entrepreneurial training.

The project furnishes the resources for students to photograph local daily assignments, tools to edit and process the images and steps to setting-up and running a photo studio. Students receive one on one computer training and create resumes with the help of a volunteer team of professional photojournalists and technicians. The program culminates with a public exhibition of the work providing a sense of accomplishment and pride for the students.

Progress So Far:

  • The camp has served approximately 120 street kids since 2011
  • The camp has increased the services provided over the year which began with basic photography and now includes business and computer classes
  • Several of our students are using their photography skills professionally to earn a living for them and their families
  • Several of the students work has been published on the New York Times Lens Blog, eight were hired by the Globe and Mail to document the rebuilding of Jacmel and they were invited by galleries to have exhibitions in four cities throughout the United States.

Going Forward:

  • Avanse would like to improve the capacity of Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto by increasing the available tools and resources (laptops, cameras, film, books, etc.)
  • Support the content & scope of the business and computer classes offered
  • Avanse seeks to be a major capital donor for Zanmi Lakay’s planned community resource center in Jacmel

Cité Kids (Documentary)

Synopsis: Cité Kids is an independent documentary that follows Charity4LIFE in Haiti as they chronicle the lives of four children living in Cité Soleil: Djimmy, Lamarre, Adeline and Naderge. It's a story that shares the trials, tribulations and hope that exist in one of the poorest countries in the world. Cité Kids is a compelling, first-hand testimonial to the hardships of life in the slums and illustrates how children living in Cité Soleil can overcome adversity through the opportunities and skills afforded by education. The film gives you a behind the scenes look at the work Charity4LIFE is doing, who they are helping, and where your donations are going.

The impoverished and densely populated slum of Cité Soleil, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, was considered one of the most dangerous places in the world. Its history is riven by a vicious gang war for control of the area. UN troops have stabilized the security situation in Haiti, and conditions have improved although violence still surrounds the 400,000 residents living there. The city is a complex society where there are intricate relationships between family values and community life. Yet the hunger and frustration of trying to survive on less than a dollar a day fuels a brutal cycle of violence and crime. 

Most of the residents of Cité Soleil are children or young adults. They continue to live in abject poverty, surrounded by filth, drug addiction, gangs and violence. Ninety percent of children in Cité Soleil are too poor to go to school. Boredom leads to fights among street kids and many go hungry at night because their families can't afford to feed them. This film illustrates the impact education and photography has on steering children like Djimmy, Lamare, Adeline, Naderge on the right path to success.

Produced & Directed by: Jeannette Pawula & Rachel Martz
Cinematographer & Editor: Gunnar Curry

Featuring: Djimmy Desulme, Lamarre Witslin, Adeline Pierre, Naderge Jean-Baptiste, Jennifer Cheek Pantaleon, Guy Pantaleon, and Joel Petion

Appearances by: Rachel Martz, Jeannette Pawula, Frantz "Papouche" Nicolas, Ranald Schultz

Duration: 36:07
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Genre: Documentary

Facebook: AvanseOrg
Instagram: @avanseorg

We Seek. We Aid. We Tell Their Story.

Avanse (formerly Charity4LIFE) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to put street kids on the path to success by empowering them to overcome the barriers of street life.

Cité Kids is a Charity4LIFE documentary series launched in 2014. This documentary series is intended to spur social discussion and be an inspiration to develop creative solutions from our supporteers. The entire documentary is produced, filmed and edited by Charity4LIFE's founders & volunteers.