Help ETS To Help Haiti

$5,636 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 10 months

ETS is the only social work college in Haiti

ETS – Enstiti Travay Sosyal & Syans Sosyal (Institute of Social Work and Social Science)—is an educational program for social workers in Bon Repos, Haiti, about an hour from Port au Prince.  Because finances are so tight, the school can’t afford a full-time faculty. So, people like myself, masters or doctoral level professionals, spend periods of time teaching intensive courses.  These are then woven together in compliance with an international social work organization so that students can get credit and fulfill requirements.  At this time, ETS has about 50 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Meet two of the students

LaFond Thom Duverson Rufferi

Stephana Lorwinsky

My experience with ETS

I first went to ETS this past March (2017) to teach a two-week course on Attachment in Infant/Child Development.  With my son leaving home for college, I was looking to expand my work as a psychologist and saw on Idealist.com that the school needed teachers.  I had no idea what to expect.   What I found was a group of intelligent and engaged students, passionate to learn, some of whom commute more than an hour each way daily to the campus.  The level of interest and commitment was far above what I’ve seen in most American students.  Yet, what they can count on is so much less.

Passionate Students, Dire Needs

The contrast between the capability of the students and uncertainty of resources is striking.  People who work for ETS struggle to make ends meet.  Because the school has no van or car, faculty and staff have to travel in public “tap taps,” which can be agonizingly slow and sometimes unsafe.  The library’s books need cabinets so that they aren’t harmed by humidity and theft.  The electricity and water are often unpredictable.

The school has so many needs.  The goal of $30,000 could contribute to the following:

* Modernize the library, so books are protected and are accessible to students.

*Help with livable salaries for the current administrator and so a second  administrator can be hired.
*Hire a full-time English teacher/ translator, as most of the volunteer teachers do not know  French or Haitian Creole.
*Hire faculty member who would be onsite on a regular basis.

*Fund transportation for visiting volunteer faculty

*Install a video uplink to make more online classes possible.

*Buy a car or van.  The school desperately needs transportation, as travel in Haiti is agonizingly slow and often unsafe without a car.
A Little History

Before the founding of ETS, there was tremendous need for social workers in Haiti but few Haitians with adequate training.  Open jobs – generally with NGOs -- would be filled by social workers from abroad who, despite impressive credentials, did not know the Haitian culture, were not committed to Haiti long term, and received inflated salaries.  Since 2012, ETS has pursued the goal of educating Haitian social workers with requirements and standards similar to those in developed countries.  Each student studies both social work and a secondary field.  As written on the school’s website, “The Institute was established to raise up a new generation of Haitian leaders who improve the lives of ordinary Haitians and contribute to the enactment of just social policies in Haiti.”  While the school was started by American professionals, the present goal is for it to be Haitian-led within three years.

Community of Support:

A number of excellent organizations have started to get involved, encouraging teachers to go to ETS and creating affiliations that support the school in various ways.  These include Northern Light Family Center and friends in Maine, William James College in Boston and the SUNY system in New York.  Affiliations are also developing within Haiti, which will bring more Haitian teachers to ETS.
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You were probably as appalled as I was by the president's recent disparaging -- and crude -- remarks about Haiti. His view doesn't at all fit my experience, and supporting these Haitian students is a wonderful way to make your own viewpoint ring out. We are a sixth of the way toward our goal . . . a great start, a long way to go.

Great news: I was invited to present about ETS -- my experience, the program plans and goals, the students -- this Friday night, January 19, in the Summit Room, Spann Student Center, Thomas College, here in Waterville. I'm one of several presenters that are part of a PechaKucha program.

At a PechaKucha event, each presenter shows and talks about 20 images and is allotted just 20 seconds per sides. So the presentations are concise, lively and enjoyable, and they always have great food! Plan to arrive at 6:20 for hors d'oeuvres and social time, with the "show" starting at 7:20. In addition to talking about the program, I'll share the many ways interested people can get involved and help. Hope to see you there!
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There are three days left where donations will be matched. Please donate generously so that your contribution can go even further. These bright, passionate students deserve the best.
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Meet ETS students:

Making a donation can seem very abstract until you know who it really is that you’re helping. So, check the GoFundMe narrative for introductions to two of the students.

Matching Donations until January 1:

We have someone willing to match donations until January 1, so this is a great time to give to ETS. Your generosity is very much appreciated and will be used well. Here is what your money will fund:

Transportation for staff/volunteer teachers: $6,000

Library: $4,000

Full-time English teacher/translator: $6,000

Haitian onsite teacher: $5,000
(1-2 courses)

Paid Co-Administrator: $9,000

Because finances have been so difficult, students are uncertain about being able to complete their education. Help ETS to move toward stability and toward having the resources it needs.

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In honor of this season of giving, we've had an offer to match donations until New Years day. PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY, AND GIVE NOW. Your contribution at this time will be worth twice as much!
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$5,636 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 10 months
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