Looking at the state of the mission, and the challenges and opportunities ahead, I am very happy to say the mission is growing and improving.
Since our beginning in early eighties, we have made it a tradition of trust and excellence. Long have been the years, but we remain steadfast, and true to our calling.
The 3500 plus students who call our school home, look up to us every day for the discipline and the education, and their parents, every day, put their trust in us to make their children the citizen of tomorrow.
This year, we are moving forward with new determination, we are looking ahead and strategically planning our efforts and combining our resources for maximum impact.
Our schools are doing very well. And once again, we exemplified excellence during our first year offering Philo with 92% of students passing, and our 9th grade class had a passing rate of 88% while the average pass rates in Gonaïves were 59%, and 62% respectively. Registration is up 28% from last year. And we are still receiving new requests daily.
We now have two assistant principals, one administrative assistant, one inspector, a full time French teacher, and we are developing our e-learning program.
The past school year, some of our schools benefited from the government school food program. This year, the government has renewed our food program, I am happy to report that the students will be fed again twice a day during this school year.
The child sponsorship program is going well. We upgraded our filing system to an electronic system. We have updated the student’s profiles and made sure the list is as accurate as possible. This year, we had 310 newly sponsored students; We now have 1318 students sponsored and they wrote over 700 letters.
This year, sponsors have donated over $2,620.00 to students and their families, 527 backpacks, 38 suitcases filled with gifts and presents, books, over 400 pairs of shoes, and other miscellaneous items.
Because of the drought, we paused the animal program. However, 37 goats and 3 cows were returned to the office by students and their parents. Those animals were offsprings of goats and cows donated to the students by their sponsors.
The technical school is doing well. This year, we are keeping the same programs: sewing, carpentry, and masonry. We currently have 20 students enrolled in the carpentry program, 15 in masonry, and 90 in sewing.
We have added two new teachers: Reginald and Monfort. Reginald is a highly skilled tailor. He has been working for about a year, reinforcing our current class. He has redesigned our school uniform for this school year, and very hard at work training the students so they can be ready to produce by second quarter next year.
Monfort is one of the few licensed carpenters in Gonaives. He is a graduate of the Salesian technical school, an institution known throughout Haiti for their excellency in technical school. The carpentry students have helped with building benches, and repair furniture and other wood items that needed repair.
All of our effort focus on building and nurturing excellency. Whether it is elementary, high school or technical, we strive for the very best we can afford.
The clinic is in good shape. So far this year, we have had 32,423 visits, of which were 2,313 pregnant women. Last year, we were preapproved to become an HIV screening and treatment center. We are in the training stages as we prepare to receive the new program. We have built a new building, and soon we will start the process of repairing the old building.
The medical teams treated over 3900 patients. The eye team that went this year, did not only do prescription glasses, but with their help we had 3 patients that were successfully operated on.
It is very tempting for us to take all the credit. But let’s be honest, none of this would be possible without the support: financial, prayers of people and groups like you. Thank you for that.
With all those great accomplishments, we have some serious worries. The government stopped their school subsidies, which means the eventual increase of tuition.
There are other reasons to be concerned. The unpredictable outcome of the elections. I am not talking about not knowing who will be the next president. I’m talking about what will happen when the results are published. So far the government has done a great job keeping the peace. We hope they will be able to keep the peace in the days leading to, during and after the elections.
Concerns and uncertainties are a part of life; we can’t get away from them. What is important is to not let them affect our determination to help change lives, to help people rise from poverty.
This coming year, at New Testament, we going to focus our energy, resources, and capacity to train our leaders and staff We will focus our efforts on continuing education: leadership, camaraderie, and career advancement. This, we believe, will create a better environment, and more opportunity for positive growth.
Given our location, we have difficulties attracting and keeping talents. How goal is to create a comfortable work environment: pay our employees a decent wage, give them some tof social benefits, health care, financial literacy, help them gain access to loans and credits. Basically, help them grow.
A lot has changed at the mission in the past few years, a lot has changed in Haiti as well. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the chance to retrain the staff. We are going to bring them up to date with the latest teaching techniques, and the how-to‘s. We are setting up computer classes for members of our staff where they can learn how to use a computer, get on the internet, send an email. How to use a computer to do their work.
We have a moral obligation and social responsibility toward those who work for us. We must do what we can to help them grow, and as they grow, we grow. We are going to start to foster the qualities and values that will help us grow.
This year, we are planning for the next 10 years: where do we want to be, and what we need to do to get there? First, we will start by finishing the projects we have open
Our mission is to provide people with more and better options, and in some cases, help them make the best possible choice. As much as we want to grow, we don’t want to grow big, but strong. For us to be that, the people around us must be strong, they must healthy, they have to grow.
If we could all chose our place in life, and in society, without a doubt, most of us would choose the best possible place. We all long for the best; we all want good out of life. But unfortunately, we don’t get to choose, we must play the hand we are dealt, we must make the best out of our circumstances. That is what life here and in Haiti is about, making the best of your circumstances.
In 2004, Pastor John Nuzum created the Lacroix NT Higher Ed Fund, a 501c3, to assist students from La Croix with the academic drive and success necessary to complete university, but that lack the financial means to do so. This fund provides students with an equal opportunity for funding to assist them with the financial burden of university and the associated expenses.
In order to finance this fund in a way that can be evenly distributed to students, it is proposed to re-allocate $1-2 USD per month from the sponsorship program, to the higher education fund. Through this funding, we will be able to promptly build a dependable reserve that is capable of supporting several students in achieving their dreams of completing a university education.
The stability of this funding provides multiple benefits;
The hope provided will inspire them to work to their full potential in the younger grades so that they can achieve the academic excellence necessary to be accepted into the fund and ultimately university; where they will perform well, because they have built the skills necessary for success in our school system.
This fund is in no way meant to deter individual sponsors from following a call they feel to contribute to their specific child’s achievement of higher education, we continue to encourage and support this investment. Additionally, if anyone feels led to contribute to the higher education fund for any worthy student to access, this sacrificial giving is received with deep gratitude.
The focus this year in the sewing classes is to get the students to learn how to sew using modern equipment. We are upgrading some of our sewing machines to be electrical. We would like to electrical sewing machines and some industrial as well.
The students are being trained to work in the sewing industry: by the end fo their training, they will be able to sew almost anything. They are receiving training on how to operate electrical machines, industrial machines, how to work in chain, design and plan interpretation.
By the end of this year, these students will start sewing the uniforms for the schools, and train others from the remote areas such as la coupe, Paul, Foucarde. This is part of our helping people to help themselves philosophy.
The carpentry students are also hard at work. They have been involved in the repairs of the benches and furniture during the summer. We are hoping to have most the big tools for the carpentry workshop next year.
We are looking for new materials to train the staff at the clinic. We want them to offer the best care they can. We need to first start by training and retain the best that we have. We are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the department of health, and other organizations.
We are working to build a stronger relationship with our community. Through our health agents and mobile clinics, we want to make lasting impact on the people’s lives. We are working to build more synergy between the medical groups and the clinics. We want mobile clinics to begin to develop the infrastructure to provide not only acute care management but effective management of chronic illness as well through collaboration with the existing health care system.
Education, education, education. It is the key for change in health behavior. Kayla has been working in the community evaluating their health education needs as well as the needs of clinic staff and is working to put together best practices for community health through several education driven projects.
Development and life improvement require social and economic infrastructure. As a leader in our community it is our responsibility to invest in the long term social and economic development of this community.
New Testament Mission’s previous efforts have been mostly to the benefit of the children. We want to broaden the scope. We would like to invest in what is important to help the parents in the most effective way possible.
If we want to tackle poverty in La Croix, we need to offer workforce development training to the community members. By providing them the tools necessary to provide for their families’ basic needs, they will then be able to focus on higher levels of success for themselves, and their children, such as academic success.
The positive impact on individual lives will bring up the entire community’s standard of living. Economic stabilization will put La Croix on the path for development.
We can usher in a new era of economic prosperity to the benefits of the people of the community if we work together to solve the problems.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today because we are working toward the same objectives, and want to coordinate our efforts, share our resources for maximum efficiency.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for being here today:
Because the dream to have a strong, more hopeful, and prosperous la Croix is possible, because we believe this dream is possible, because we understand working together toward that goals makes the dream attainable, are the reasons we are here today.
Thank you, and God Bless you.