NOTE: The following post will explain our new school sponsorship program for the Deaf/Disabled School in Les Cayes. Above you will find a tab with all of this information in addition to photos and personal information of sponsor children. Please hit that tab to select a child to consider sponsoring and contact us when you are ready to get started.
Haitian International Missions is partnering in ministry with the Christian Education Center for Deaf and Handicap Children in Les Cayes, Haiti. We recognize God's calling on the excellent leaders of this ministry, Lucner and Julianna Laine, who we believe possess outstanding Christian character and ability to continue the administration, nurture, and potential future expansion of this ministry.
the story of how the ministry began...
In 1992 Julianna began to focus on mastering sign language. As an educator she saw a need to reach out to deaf and disabled children who were not able to participate in regular schools, which only offer one mainstream program and no special education. Life in Haiti is not easy, and even more so for those born with such disadvantages. It is common in this country to see deaf children and adults who have never learned to speak sign language and disabled children and adults, with no other doors having been opened for them, who are confined to their home or begging along the streets. Julianna's faith in a God who loves all people equally moved her to begin envisioning what could be done to make a difference.
With the help of Lucner and others she began to research her options for opening a school. Many people tried to dissuade her and tell her that such children could not succeed in life, the funds would never be available, and there were plenty of "normal" children who also could not attend school for various reasons who should be helped first. However, she continued in faith and did finally open the school in 2006 with very little budget or help.
Over time the ministry has grown and now includes 37 regular students, 3 teachers who are deaf and/or proficient in sign language (with plans to add 2 more), a young nurse in training, a house mother, and Julianna as administrator/director/teacher. The school also offers boarding facilities for about half of the students who come from as far away as Port-au-Prince (120 miles) and other parts of the southern peninsula of Haiti.
Lucner and Julianna speak often of how God has graciously provided over the years, yet there has been great sacrifice and countless prayers for help. As administrator and director she has never received a salary, and sometimes there is only enough money to pay the teachers about half of their salary. The food supplies often run low for the children, whose parents cannot afford to pay tuition. Lucner has been able to make a decent living, by Haitian standards, through a hodgepodge of translation work, teaching a few classes at the nearby university, and farm work, which has helped to supplement the school.
The couple also talks passionately about the visions and dreams they have for this school and ministry:
1. To solidify the current budget- this will help insure the health of the children through providing a good home, healthy food, various medicines, and excellent education. Also, steady income will facilitate the recruitment and retention of specialized and talented teachers.
2. To expand the size of the school- though this ministry is off to an inspirational beginning, the need remains great. It is difficult to estimate how many children are out there who could benefit from a school like this, but realistically the school now provides services for less than one percent of that demographic. It is believed at this time that this is the only such school in the region, or possibly one of two. Also, currently the school cannot offer boarding services to teenagers due to lack of space and privacy, limiting the impact to those who can commute on a daily basis. It is the dream of the founders of this school to offer services to more children in the future through expansion.
3. To expand educational offerings- in the future students will be taught not only academics but also various trades for which they will be uniquely suited.
4. To expand the ministry impact- students are trained in Bible and ministry and given opportunities to impact the neighborhood of the school as well their families when they return for holidays and summers. There is much more that can be done in these areas in the future.
How H.I.M. will be involved...
After sitting down recently with Lucner and Julianna, with the assistance of our national director Zacharie, we have determined to tackle the first point on the list above, solidifying the budget. We feel the best way to do this is through the recruitment of sponsors for individual children. Here are the financial numbers the Deaf/disabled school is currently working with...
Major expenses cost per year
Facility rental (school & boarding house) $2,500
Staff salaries $8,200a
Food, supplies, etc... $1,760
TOTAL $12,500 (US dollars)
*The school does receive sporadic income through partial payments of tuition, donations from ministries for which Lucner translates, and other Haitian or American friends. Therefore, we have determined to set a goal of $25/month per student, or $300/year. With 37 students this would amount to $11,100, leaving room for other donations to close the gap. If income exceeds budget in the coming year, extra money may be utilized for acquiring a vehicle, savings toward facility expansion, staff salary increases, or other improvements.
Also, as this partnership grows in the future we will offer Zacharie's services as advisor and mentor, especially with regard to expanding the ministry impact of this school and its students. We also will begin to discuss the viability of helping to raise the funds necessary to obtain a permanent facility and/or buying land and building a campus. In every way we will seek God together and pray for his direction in changing the lives of many people, both the children in Haiti with their families and also the lives of the American individuals and churches who will be involved in various ways.
Please consider sponsoring a child for the Deaf/Disabled school in Les Cayes! The following are some of the benefits of being involved in this program:
1. Provide school, nutrition, spiritual guidance, and a hopeful future for a disadvantaged child in Haiti.
2. Help share Christ's love with the family and community of the child whom you sponsor.
3. Live out your personal faith in a tangible way which will compel you to deeper prayer, worship, hunger for Scripture, and missions involvement.
4. Correspond with your student and his/her family through letters translated by H.I.M.
5. Peace of mind knowing that the money you give will be administered with complete integrity and transparency. 100% of your gift will go directly to the school.
6. Opportunities to visit the school to meet your child personally and serve in various capacities.
How do I get involved?
Step #1- View the children by hitting the "Deaf/Disabled School Sponsorship" tab above and pray about whether God would like you to be involved and if so, which student you would like to sponsor. Cost is $25/month or $300/year.
Step #2- Contact Lynn via email to request more information. At that time she will give you information about which children are still available, how to pay, and how to stay involved with the ministry. Please use this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Step #3- Stay involved with the ministry! We will give you photos, information, and opportunities to participate in what is going on in Haiti. Pray for your child, share his/her info with your church and friends, and allow God to grow your own vision for missions and ministry.
Thanks to everyone again for helping us visit Haiti this past week. We had a great experience and are ready to continue the work! Please join us!
Many blessings on your adventure today!
-the grimm family adventurers