More than 400,000 children in Haiti are without parents, and it’s been said any new orphanages fill quickly. Parents abandon their children believing they will find a better life in the orphanage.
Doug Fearing, who serves on the board of directors for Schools For Haiti, talked about that nonprofit organization’s role in offering young Haitian children an education at the Jan. 26 Waunakee Rotary meeting.
Doug, who owns Fearing’s Audio and Video Security with his wife, first ventured to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Although he was located up the coast from the contact point, the area was inundated with refugees, he said.
“We got an initiation into true poverty,” Doug said.
Haiti is the third poorest nation worldwide and the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Three-quarters of the residents are unemployed. In Haiti, babies don’t bother to cry because it doesn’t do any good, Doug said.
Schools for Kids supports more than 1,100 students who attend five different preschool-7th grade facilities. The schools provide a Christian education, which Doug believes is key to their success, he said.
Along with Christianity, Voodoo is practiced in Haiti, although Doug described it as more of a superstition.
“Voodoo is part of the problem. It’s more of a private culture,” Doug said.
Also, the schools try to reinforce self worth in the students and stress they are loved by God.
Schools for Haiti was a dream for one citizen there, Daniel Michel, Doug said. Daniel was in Tampa and connected with philanthropist Gil Bailie, and the two began the first school in Daniel’s church with 12 students and one teacher.
Some of the schools include Hope School, Sharp School and Kelly Mountain School. Often, these families have been run in local communities and not fully funded. Schools for Haiti then takes them over and can complete projects, such as re-roofing the Kelly Mountain School and building a kitchen. It also hires teachers – currently up to 58 are employed – and custodial staff. Doug said the organization doesn’t bring teachers in from the United States but hires Haitians.
Currently, Schools for Haiti is building a new school, community center and housing facility. The land has been purchased, Doug said.
Doug said young children can often be seen smiling, but after the seventh grade, their smiles begin to fade as they realize how little opportunity is available.
The Schools for Haiti mission statement is, “Make a difference in their lives…they will make a difference in Haiti’s future.”
There are many ways to help. One is to sponsor a child. For $35 per month, that child will receive a Christian education, books, educational materials, uniforms and nutritious meal every day.
For more information, visit the website,  
Other News:
•David Weishoff received a Paul Harris award. Nice work, David.
•Katie Henzel talked about the Tri 4 Schools children’s marathon, which is set for May 20 this year. Rotary donated $2,500 for the event. Tri 4 Schools raises money for physical education programs in the schools. Katie said two training sites would be set up before the triathlon this year at Arboretum Elementary and the Intermediate School.
Guests: Cindy Patzner, guest of Ellen Schaaf; Visar Salihu, guest of Allen Langeteig; Craig Larson, guest of Ken Pesik; Kevin Holdeman, guest of Randy Herbrand.
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Birthdays: None.
Anniversaries: None.
** Pictured is the completed pier at the Rotary Walk at Village Center Pond.