It's a country ravaged by destitution and unrest...but for years, one Rockford group has been lending time, hands and hope to create miracles for Haitian children. Bill Derry has been a part of the Haitian project for three years, a mission that supports and operates the Louverture Cleary School.
"It's been in place since the mid-80s. It provides a no-cost education to the kids in Haiti. They come from the poorest communities. These are kids that have great intellectual capabilities, but have no opportunity for education," says Derry.
The tuition free, Catholic school provides room and board to students....and when they graduate...they will use their education to help rebuild their country.
"They make a commitment to stay in Haiti to improve the community and the country. They go off to universities--we have several in medical school now, we have civil engineers, people that are now owning their own businesses and creating employment opportunities," says Derry.
Derry, along with 20 or so others, will head back to Haiti in January They'll finish installing the solar power system they began constructing in August...energy that is critical because power outages during the school day are frequent. And at night, the country of Haiti goes dark...they'll also work on other projects.
"Shower and bathroom facilities that need to be upgraded, and we just recently purchased a small piece of land...we're going to put a basketball court in and some playground kinds of activities for the kids," says Derry.
Derry says education is one of the greatest needs in Haiti--and the long-term solution to rebuilding the country.
"People can't elect good leaders, they can't have good jobs, they can't provide for themselves if they're not properly educated," says Derry.
The group has a target goal of raising $83,000 dollars to finish the solar power system project. They still need to raise $15,000. If you would like to donate to the efforts, you can send a check to:
"THE HAITIAN PROJECT"
P.O. Box 2529
Machesney Park, 61132