The small island nation of Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. The Bush Clinton Fund was set up to help the Haitian people build back its country. Still going strong, the Bush Clinton Haiti Fund is teaching kids about Haiti, inspiring them to make a difference! Learn about Haiti, and see how you can help.
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Haiti needs you to stand up and remember one of the most devastating earthquakes in history where almost 250,000 people lost their lives, and about one million people were left homeless. Haiti needs your patience, understanding, and your voice to celebrate its victories. Even in the face of natural disaster and disease, the Haitian people don’t give up. They are proud, strong, creative, and vibrant.
Learn about Haiti
Find Haiti on a map, and read some books about kids in Haiti. Haiti shares a tropical island in the Caribbean with the Dominican Republic, and most people in Haiti speak French and Creole. In the countryside, many people grow sugar cane, coffee and mangoes. The capital, Port-au-Prince, is the largest city and some people work in tourism, construction, or manufacturing. In 2010 there was a devastating earthquake that destroyed many government buildings, beautiful colonial, historic buildings and churches, homes and schools. Haiti is still working to recover and rebuild. For Middle School or older, the Teaching for Change organization has developed materials and a free, downloadable booklet on “Teaching Haiti” that includes a lot of useful information.
Read these wonderful children’s books on Haiti
Selavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope by Youme Landowne, tells the story of homeless children living together in Port-au-Prince. I shared it with my 6 and 7 year old, and you could almost hear their little brains processing the realistic, but hopeful story of children struggling and overcoming tragedies. The gorgeous illustrations help to tell the story, while the photographs at the end of the book supplement it.
Running The Road To ABC, by Denize Lauture and Reynold Ruffins is an almost musical description of children running over hills and across fields to get to school, energized by their love of learning. The rich colors and cultural details in the book are excellent, and your kids will want to flip through the story long after you have finished reading it.
Diane Wolkstein’s The Magic Orange Tree: and Other Haitian Folktales is a collection of 27 folktales that give the readers a glimpse into Haiti’s culture, its beliefs and customs. One of the favorites in the book was The Magic Orange Tree story, but there were several the my kids asked me to read again. This book is not only valuable for its folklore, but also for the way the stories are told: their actual format and flow are different than other books written from other cultural perspectives, and this in itself has literary value.
The last book I am mentioning is newer, written after the 2010 earthquake: Hope for Haiti by Jesse Joshua Watson. I have not had the chance to read this book yet, because my library doesn’t carry it yet! But here is a review from the School Library Journal:
K-Gr 3-The young boy who narrates this story lives in a neighborhood that was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. His family joins several others to set up makeshift housing in a soccer stadium. Before long, the children start playing soccer with a ball made of rags. Their high spirits in the face of disaster are rewarded when a man offers them a real soccer ball signed by Manno Sanon, a beloved Haitian player. Using concise but rhythmic language, this inspiring tale is told in a simple and straightforward manner.
You’ve read the books, learn a little about Haiti, now take the geo quiz!
Finally, teach others!
The Bush Clinton Haiti Fund is asking kids from all over the world to:
“Celebrate Haiti in your poster and use it to teach others. It can be any size. You can draw and paint. You can use collage, maps, words, photos, and
poetry. There is only one rule. Somewhere on each poster there should be three words: Remember. Celebrate. Haiti.“
Once you learn about Haiti and finish your poster, scan it or take a picture of it and send it to kids@ClintonBushHaitiFund.org and to me firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured on-line! Spread the word about Haiti by displaying your poster at school, at a Scout meeting, showing your homeschool group, or even have your parents post it on their facebook page.