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Volunteer stay

Eleanor spend three weeks in the orphanage of Ti Gout Dlo in early 2017, she looks back on this unique experience.

A troubled context

The young girl discovered Haiti at the same time as she was learning about life at the orphanage. She was particularly struck by the instability of the country, and the way that this seeped into every corner of daily life. She recalls how the young girls living at the orphanage were used to avoiding certain areas of town, or moving through them quickly, as they were known danger zones for violent, sexual crimes. Even in the big house, governed by Daniele and Gregory, the feeling of danger from outside is not totally eliminated. When asked about this, Gregory explains how this instability is largely linked to the general lack of education in Haiti. “It’s a real downward spiral” he explains, “many people lack the means for their own survival. Education is considered a luxury that only the very few can afford.” The role that charities and other associations play in supporting the right to education within Haiti is therefore of utmost importance.

Ti Gout Dlo is part of this movement, remarks Eleonore, as the orphanage ensures that each child within its care goes to school. Education is taken very seriously there as, each day, Daniele supervises that the children not only do their homework, but that they understand what they are learning.

In addition to their school commitments, the orphanage also gives real structure and stability to the children’s lives. A well-organised daily routine allows each child to find their place and teaches them the importance of community life and respect. It provides the circumstances for them to become responsible, educated citizens, in a country where these two elements are sorely lacking.  Ti Gout Dlo gives the children the best chance to lead a life of fulfilment, and who knows, perhaps become the seed of change who makes a difference in this troubled and unstable country.

During her stay, Eleonore was also struck by the importance of the sponsors in the eyes of the children. Even though they are surrounded by the patient, maternal affection of Daniele and Gregory’s boundless creativity, their eyes sparkle when they speak of their patrons who care for them from the other side of the world, and give them a reassuring glimmer of hope.

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