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A Glimmer of Hope for the People of Haiti

In light of July being designated as National Make a Difference to Children Month, we wanted to take a moment to share our positive impact on children. 

Despite the turmoil in Haiti, Jou Nouvo persists with determination and courage. In an environment wrought with violence, poverty, and natural disasters, we exist to empower vulnerable youth in Haiti by providing them with access to quality education, healthcare, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. 

And as a board, a team, and a community, our dedicated group finds a way to collectively support the core mission of education. We take the time to visit the community in Haiti and engage with their students and program recipients, truly listening to their needs for the growth of their community.

Education is Hope

Imagine this: You’re a seven-year-old girl. You want to run and play with your friends. You beg your parents for the latest toy and list down all the reasons why they should buy it for you. You want to do all the things that typical seven-year-old kids wish to do—and you get to.

Does this sound anything like your upbringing?

Unfortunately, for a seven-year-old girl in Haiti, this isn’t the case. Instead, she spends her time with a hungry belly, worrying about when her next meal will be. Her parents are struggling, both of them are nearly unemployed. Her only choice is to stay at home and go hungry, sometimes without food for days. She may only eat once that week. Instead of begging her parents for a new toy, she asks to go to school. She longs for an education, but her parents can’t afford it, so they have to tell her no.

This is the reality for so many children in Haiti. And it’s why Jou Nouvo was founded.

 

John and his daughter Annie read to the children of Jou Nouvo

“It’s heartbreaking as a parent to think you can’t send your child to school. It’s heartbreaking to think you can’t afford food on the table,

John Huycke, Chairman of the Jou Nouvo Board

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With the purpose of addressing the urgent need for accessible education in Haiti, Jou Nouvo aims to break the cycle of poverty and provide opportunities for a brighter future for the country’s youth.

Through our Child Sponsorship Program, we send as many kids as we have sponsors to good schools in order to give them the best chance to succeed and the right tools to do so.

The right tools to make a difference

One of those tools is their Tutoring Program, started 2 years ago, with a session during the week and one on the weekend to make sure their sponsored children have a space to go to get help with their homework, have access to books, and feel supported by their community. Not only do the tutoring sessions ensure the children will be successful in school, but they also provide them with a hot meal during this time. Jou Nouvo has found that the children cannot wait until the next day they can come to the Community Center. 

“[In the Community Center] They are among people who care about them, they can have people reading to them, loving them, and supporting them,

Kerline Tofuri, Founder and Board President of Jou Nouvo

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Kerline and 2 girls of the Girls Scholars Program program

There are many stories that can be told to depict the reality of children in Haiti right now. It’s not safe in the community of Bon Repos, Haiti, and it’s not safe at home. But when they go to Jou Nouvo’s Community Center, they are provided with a sense of security. Jou Nouvo, our leaders at the Community Center, and older children and adults in our programs are there to share with these kids how they can change their situations and make a better future for themselves. 

With all that Jou Nouvo does, we are still limited by budget and the number of resources we have. There are currently around 75-100 children on the waiting list for the Child Sponsorship Program who keep their fingers crossed that they’ll soon be able to go to school. With new sponsors (“the cost of that is less than somebody’s Starbucks every day,” Tofuri notes), Jou Nouvo eagerly awaits and stands ready to add these children to the program and enroll them in good-quality schools.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel… and that light is the hope of education. 

The Power of Listening

Jou Nouvo is changing lives every day and making a lasting impact. Rather than getting caught up in their own ideas, the leaders of Jou Nouvo turn to the community. Listening more to the people they are working for versus the people they are working with to hear what programs the community needs and what resources they would benefit from. 

What makes Jou Nouvo special is that it is created and led by people who deeply care. Below is our core staff: Elta, Lynn, and Christle.

Continuous Growth

Since being founded in 2008, Jou Nouvo has expanded its programs to reach more people. We started with the Child Sponsorship Program and, to increase the opportunity for education, we added the Girls Scholars Program. This program is focused on increasing high school graduation rates for female students and encouraging their continuation in school. 

The Haiti Youth Education Fund is a university scholarship program where Jou Nouvu has seen great success with students now being able to go to college right after high school. We also have mentoring, leadership, and tutoring programs to give every child and student the opportunity to succeed in school. 

Jou Nouvo also provides programs for adults with their Adult Literacy Program. Adults who were unable to receive an education in their youth can now come to Jou Nouvo to learn to write their name, to read, and finally have the chance for education after longing for it for so many years. The economic development programs and resources that Jou Nouvo offers, such as small business loans, cooking classes, and sewing classes help entrepreneurs maintain their small businesses. 

A safe Haven: our community center

One of the most crucial things that Jou Nouvo has been able to do is to create a Community Center (that now relies on a solar-powered system instead of a diesel fuel generator) to hold classes, programs, and support gatherings. This center is a safe haven for children, a place where they know they will be loved and cared for. 

At the Community Center, university students can be hired as interns to apply what they learned in university and have a way to give back to their community as well. This is especially great for younger children to see how their lives can change through education. Every little piece of hope counts—having a Community Center brings all those little pieces together and creates an abundance of hope for the future of Haiti. 

 

Our High School Graduates in the Communicty Center Library

Breaking the Cycle of Hopelessness

In Haiti, education is not easily accessible to everyone. The majority of schools, about 80%, are privately owned, making it difficult for families to afford. As a result, many children are unable to go to school. Sadly, education is seen as a privilege rather than a basic right in Haiti.

We recognize that making education accessible is the cycle of hope.  We are committed to being the grease in the wheel pushing that cycle forward. 

With a commitment to education, economic empowerment, and listening to the community Jou Nouvo has made a remarkable impact on the lives of people in Haiti. Breaking the cycle of hopelessness by providing programs for growth and development, Jou Nouvo is creating a brighter future for many Haitians. Our dedication, resilience, and unwavering belief in the power of education inspire so many individuals who want to make a better life for themselves—and those who want to make an impact on the lives of others.

National Make a Difference to Children Month focuses on getting people to come forward and help at least one child. But Jou Nouvo is doing so much more than that. We are changing the lives of many children, young adults, and adults within the community, constantly adding to our programs to serve Haiti in whatever way we are able to. Not just in this special month, but every single day.

As Jou Nouvo continues to ask how we can make a difference in Haiti, we all should stop and take a moment to ask ourselves…How can we make an impact on just one child’s life?

Elta Pierre Louis & Keisha Brevard daughter photo
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Meet Elta Pierre Louis

 At Jou Nouvo, we are dedicated to creating a cycle of full economic empowerment through education in our homeland, Bon Repos, Haiti. Helen Keller once said, “one we can do so little; together we can do so much.” It would be more challenging without our amazing team who has devoted time, effort, and themself to the community. Elta Pierre Louis, one of our precious members, was promoted recently, and we want to take this time to honor her. Join us on Elta’s journey with Jou Nouvo.

 

Elta Pierre Louis is a program coordinator at Jou Nouvo. She is responsible for the Adult Literacy, Child Sponsorships, and Business Microloans program.  This is Elta with her two daughters.

 

Elta’s journey with Jou Nouvo

Q: What does the promotion mean to you?

A: The promotion means a lot to me. It shows my ability that JN recognizes to let me do the job. And it allows me to provide more services to the community within this incredible opportunity.

Q: What does the woman leadership role mean to you?

A: My role as a leader is to share my knowledge, competence, and skills with girls and women in the community.

How did her journey begin? It all started with a speech from Kerline Auguste Tofuri, Founder and President of Jou Nouvo. “When Kerline came to our church and talked about Jou Nouvo and its education services, I was very interested in and wanted to be part of the program. So, I went to introduce myself to her and ask for a job opportunity at this amazing organization. I’m confident that I can coordinate the Adult Literacy program with my capability and passion.” said Elta.

Adult Literacy provides fundamental reading and writing classes to help improve literacy in Bon Repos. Over 100 men and women have learned Haitian Creole and French and developed vocational skills. Elta’s favorite part of the program is to teach adults, mostly women, who never go to school to read and write. “I love seeing these women be able to read church songs and sign their children’s report cards.”

Q: Your kid is involved in a JN’s program. Can you tell us more?

A: When Jou Nouvo started the child sponsorship program I brought my second child Keisha Brard to join right away.

Elta with staff & participants
Elta with students in Jou Nouvo’s library

Going to school is universal in most countries; however, but not so in Haiti. The Jou Nouvo Child Sponsorships program creates new hope for a child’s future through education. A sponsored child attends school, and over 90 children are currently getting an education. Some children are still waiting for an opportunity to go to school. Click here to learn more about a child, and then add their name when you request to sponsor.

With years of enthusiasm in the workplace, Elta has faced her biggest challenge. “It’s been very difficult to maintain work-life balance. I love working at Jou Nouvo but my family expects me to spend more time at home taking care of our children,” shared Elta.

Q: Do girls and women in Haiti have different challenges?

A: It’s also a balance between life and education for many women in Haiti. Women in the Adult Literacy program miss the afternoon class sometimes because they have to manage their business or life. Another challenge for women is being seen as responsible for the household and often times education and employment compete with that.

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Elta (black dress) with staff & participants of the adult literacy program

Q: What do you hope for the future?

A: I hope our children can continue receiving great education so that they can contribute to the community in the future. For adults, I hope all the training will help them to be capable of raising their children.

Media and publications often portray Haiti as a poor country. However, it’s not the whole story. “Haiti is a beautiful land. All the bad situations we’re dealing with right now are temporary. That’s why Jou Nouvo work, to make a meaningful difference in the local community, is most needed. I believe our services can be expanded to the whole country,” Elta states with passion.

The spirit of “Konbit” means working together as a team, a tribe, to complete a task until the end. By providing education and economic support to improve the quality of life in Bon Repos, Jou Nouvo will never stop bringing hope in the future. Elta and the JN team and staff are dedicated to our mission to make a difference in any circumstance… Would you like to help us create a cycle of hope for a new day?

A Tour of Jou Nouvo's New Community Center photo
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A Tour of Jou Nouvo’s New Community Center

Together we continue to create a cycle of hope and growth in our community. One motivated by education, gathering, economic development and most of all, HOPE FOR A NEW DAY.

Your Generous Contributions and Support Have Created This Beautiful Community Center in Bon Repos!

What we have done in the past 18 months full of challenge and disruption – has been simply incredible. Because of you, we have built a special place that will have a lasting impact on the community in Bon Repos. Now, we’d like to take you on a tour of our amazing new community center and update you on what, when you are dedicated to a mission, we can all achieve together. Come and take a look.

In August of 2020 – we shared with you our dream for a student center that we were making plans for.

As construction took place, the excitement of creating a new safe place of hope began to build!

In less than 18 months that “student center” became this community center which is already overflowing with life, education, and exciting possibilities! Jou Nouvo Community Center is open 6 days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm.

In the joy of creating something so amazing, Jou Nouvo’s team and families have been dealing with the harsh realities that continue in Haiti. Today, our team, our students and their families are using extra caution to not be affected by gang violence within our streets. The need for security, financing, and community is truly forthcoming and our community center plays an important role in that.

More We Are Proud to Share:

Growing our Bon Repos-Based Team

Our local team continues to expand in number and talent. We now employ twenty-one (21) Haiti-based employees; including five (5) recently hired new team members to run the community center. We are proud of this direct economic empowerment since every team member is from the community. Our team continues to add strong female leadership. It is more balanced and diverse in age than ever before. We continue to raise funds to ensure we can sustain the growing employment base and financially support salaries for this amazing team.

Our Work Continues

Of course, our job is not finished. To ensure our Jou Nouvo family remains safe and protected, we are raising funds to install solar panels and additional building security measures as soon as possible. We also have an opportunity to complete work on the second phase; the unfinished first floor where community business opportunities and gatherings will take place. We still need to finish work on the kitchen to support entrepreneurial possibilities and, our library and computer lab need additional books and resources to make these valuable learning resources available to greater numbers of students.

Rise To the Match!

Members of our board, John Huycke, Kerline Tofuri, William Cass, and Liz Robinson are determined and dedicated to make our next steps big ones. In that spirit we are committing a $10,000 match hoping to have your support to raise up to meet ours. Help Reach the Match ! We are incredibly grateful to all of Jou Nouvo family and friends. As you can see, your generosity enabled us to create much hope, not to mention make astounding things happen over the past 18 months.

Please join us in the great pride we feel for these wonderful accomplishments.
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Jou Nouvo Fundraiser November 18, 2021

 

Jou Nouvo. Nouveau Jour. New Day.

After such a challenging year for our beautiful Haiti, we are determined to continue the cycle of hope. Taking a step back and looking at all we have weathered; from political unrest, the loss of President Moise, the devastating earthquake, and so much more – it is difficult to see the positive of 2021. However, our students and staff in Bon Repos have not allowed the chaos around them to stop them from learning, growing, and building. They remind us to never lose hope and we invite you to see for yourself how they have persevered.

The amazing team at Jou Nouvo have been working hard on preparing our virtual gala “A Cycle of Hope: What does it mean to you?” This event will highlight the progress of Jou Nouvo in 2021 and give you access to see how your donations have and will continue to fuel hope. We know how important it is to each of you that a difference is being made in Bon Repos and now is your chance to see it. With so much planned the evening is sure to be full of excitement and joy.

There will be live speakers talking of their roles and experiences with Jou Nouvo, stellar raffle items being announced and awarded throughout the event, and we will be going live to Bon Repos to talk with staff and students! 

Without you, we could not be making such a difference. Our amazing students and staff are working hard and continue to succeed thanks to your support and donations. Below we have highlighted some of the amazing things to look forward to during our event.

Join us November 18th at 6p (EST) to share with us what the cycle of hope means to you.

Register Today

We will be checking in LIVE with Bon Repos

How exciting is it to hear from the wonderful people who are apart of our Jou Nouvo community in Haiti? It is so important to remember that all these brilliant minds need is an opportunity to shine. We will get to speak to one of our University Students, our Director of the Girl’s Scholar Program (GSP) Lynn Balmir, and a GSP student, and our Program Director Nikenson Romage. 100% of Jou Nouvo donations go directly to benefit this community.

Speakers like John Huycke, our Chairman of the Board

 

 

“What fills me with Hope for new possibilities is Jou Nouvo’s quality education model that continues to be enhanced via strong local and international partnerships to eliminate barriers to school access and reduce too-high dropout rates. Going forward, Jou Nouvo’s impact in the community is being expanded by planting fresh new seeds of Hope to trigger economic empowerment, create jobs, and improve the environment in Bon-Repos.” Read more from John here!

Did you know buying a ticket enters you in a raffle?

Register for an automatic entry into our stellar raffle! With amazing prizes such as dinner for two at Mastro’s Ocean Club and Del Frisco’s, a beautiful handblown glass art, $250 Visa gift cards, and impressive seats at TD Garden for the Boston Bruins and the Celtics. The winners will be announced throughout the event – register and get the chance to win!

Jou Nouvo remains committed to Bon Repos and has so much planned for the year ahead. Despite any challenge that may come our way, with your continued support, we are equipped to Educate. Enrich. And Empower.
 

 

 

 

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This New Day – Is Just The Beginning

There is a new day on the horizon at Jou Nouvo.
Welcome to the relaunch of our blog: This New Day!

Many of you have come to know our founder, Kerline Tofuri. As a little girl growing up in Bon Repos, Kerline has watched the town she once knew to be a luscious farm town turn into an impoverished and undereducated community. The sweeping losses her town suffered prompted Kerline to start Jou Nouvo in 2008 and plant the seeds of hope for a New Day in Bon Repos. As we’ve witnessed, the loss has continued to build. But as it has, Jou Nouvo’s dedication to our mission – to provide education and economic empowerment in Bon Repos Haiti, as well as a make a connection that brings our communities together to create a full cycle of hope for a new day – has remained focused and continued to encourage new hope.

2020 and 2021 have presented immense struggle to every part of the world. Haiti has been in a different type of struggle this year with the assassination of their president, Jovenel Moïse closely followed by earthquake and tropical storm, Grace. In the face of adversity, Jou Nouvo has not and will not give up on our mission, our community and our families. We continue to help alleviate some of the pain and challenges by running our programs despite it all.

Together, your support and our commitment, deliver results:

61 girls are enrolled in our Girls Scholar program
95 children attending school via our Sponsorship Program
70 adults take part in our adult literacy program
13 micro loans provided to small business owners
9 University Students in our Haiti Youth Education Fund Program
16 hard working staff bringing education to all of these people.
And our numbers continue to grow.

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The Girls Scholar Program and Summer Camp
This summer, like everyone else in the world, we navigated the virtual world with Zoom by going live to Haiti for the second time to debut our new Girls Scholar Program. In a fantastic partnership with Circle of Women, we were all moved by being able to see and hear from the young girls whose lives are being changed by this program. We saw many of these girls faces again during Jou Nouvo’s summer camp that took place at the end of July. The children participated in a range of enriching crafts and activities during the two weeks they spent at camp.

Back to School
Early this September, we were able to give 40 of the girls from the Girls Scholar Program and another 43 Jou Nouvo sponsored children brand new backpacks. Each one was brimming with supplies for this school year, thanks to our wonderful partner, Altrusa International Foundation of Plymouth County. Being able to provide materials to make learning fun and achievable for these children is part of delivering on a new day at Jou Nouvo.

Despite all that has been going on this summer, the work on Jou Nouvo’s new community center has continued. As it nears completion and the academic year approaches, our hope is that this space will become a significant asset to the students and the community — in enriching their education experience through access to technology, resources, and a conducive environment. We too hope it will bring the community together under a shared desire to collaborate as well a act as a beacon of hope for a brighter future in Bon Repos.

Our community center offers a place to come together, to educate, enrich and empower.

Jou Nouvo remains committed to Bon Repos and has so much planned for the year ahead. Despite any challenge that may come our way, with your continued support, we are equipped to Educate. Enrich. And Empower.

 

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Update: Haiti Earthquake

7.2 magnitude earthquake and tropical storm Grace hit Haiti one after the other

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Haiti Team: Statement to Jou Nouvo’s Friends and Partners

Our Mission is more important than ever.

We would like to thank everyone who has been keeping us in their thoughts and prayers after the political situation in our homeland took a difficult turn on July 7, 2021. As a nation and as individuals, we are deeply saddened by this horrific event that occurred on that day.
 
We want to take this opportunity to offer our deepest sympathy to the late President Jovenel Moise’s family and every Haïtian affected by his death. As a nation, we deplore this violent act.
 
We would also like to inform Jou Nouvo’ s friends and partners that, for now, Jou Nouvo’s local staff and beneficiaries are physically safe although we are still emotionally very disturbed by this difficult situation of uncertainty that is affecting us, our families, and friends every day.
 
Despite the insecurity, we remain completely devoted and motivated to serve our community for the good of educating and supporting each other—we will continue to go forward with our program, in particularly, our summer camp in the coming days to ensure stability and the emotional wellbeing of our children.  
While the assassination of the President Jovenel Moise is the subject of all conversations, we cannot and will not turn away from our commitment to the families we serve. We want to reiterate our commitment to continue to promote peace; and to train leaders of tomorrow–leaders who will know how precious life is and who will respect it in all its forms; leaders who will be able to truly commit to an effective and collective change in our society.
 
The Jou Nouvo Team believes that there is still hope for Haiti because we are educating the next generation. Thank you for believing that this better tomorrow is possible and for helping us, in your own way, to forge it. We believe that we are on the right path. We will rebuild our country.

Continuing to provide a cycle of hope,

Lynn’ Balmir, Program Manager

Chrislie Rosier, Operations Manager
 
Reginald Barbot, Program Associate