Nahomie Empowers Other Girls

Author Potrait_Yamileh Théodore, Sponsorship Operations Coordinator
Edited by Yamileh Théodore

Sponsorship Operations Coordinator

Save the Children in Haiti

July 31, 2017

Hello, I am Nahomie and I am fourteen years old. I live with my parents and my three siblings in a community named Villard in Dessalines, Haiti. As the eldest, I usually help my siblings with their homework and my mother with the household chores such as washing clothes and dishes. My favorite subject is Math. Also, I enjoy playing hide and seek, hopscotch and jump rope with my friends and schoolmates.

As a typical teenager, I have a group of friends and we do everything together. For example, we like to wear the same kinds of clothes, and when one friend had her first boyfriend, we all wanted boyfriends.  Following the group, I had my first boyfriend last year.

Thanks to sponsorship, Nahomie has learned how to keep herself safe as she grows into a woman.
Thanks to sponsorship, Nahomie has learned how to keep herself safe as she grows into a woman.

In my community in Haiti, parents aren’t comfortable talking with us about sex – it is a taboo subject to discuss with people my age, regardless of if we are boys or girls. I had a lot of questions about having a boyfriend, and I didn’t know where to go.

Thanks to Save the Children’s program set-up for teens like me, I was able to seek out a friendly environment to ask questions about sex, my changing body and becoming an adult. Through sponsorship’s adolescent development programs, our teachers, school principals, school councils, or Parent Teacher Associations, and community partners receive training on Sexual Education and child-friendly ways for adults to talk about sexual and reproductive health issues with students.

As a result of these programs, a health-care worker came to my school to talk about the services that were available at the health center in our community. After hearing them speak, I went to the health center to see how I could get involved and learn more. I started participating in a student club, that both helps spread health messages to people my age but also helps build my own leadership skills and self-confidence. I was able to not only find answers to the questions I wanted to ask, but was able to discuss these questions with both adults and peers in a place I felt safe.

Today, I feel comfortable speaking about my experiences as a growing girl in my community, and using my voice to create awareness among the others about how sexual intercourse at such young age can be harmful for our lives and our futures. Waiting until a more mature age can help us avoid a lot of mistakes, such as an early pregnancy, that would affect us for the rest of our lives.

Nahomie washing the dishes outside of her home.
Nahomie washing the dishes outside of her home.

Whenever I want, I can seek more information about my sexual and reproductive health at the health center, where now I am always welcomed by staff who can offer even more information. I go there for myself, but also to create awareness and prevent adolescents like me from feeling influenced by pressures from their friends, and instead to make the best decision for their own well-being.

I am proud and thankful to Save the Children, this is a very good program! After meeting with the healthcare workers, I am now inspired to grow up to be like them. I work even harder at school so I can finish my studies in order to become a nurse. I will continue with the work they started in my community and help other adolescents who are in need. This is the dream I am now cherishing.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Communities Take Ownership

Author Portrait_Yamileh Théodore, Sponsorship Operations Officer
Yamileh Théodore

Sponsorship Operations Officer

Save the Children in Haiti

February 24, 2017

Sponsorship’s ultimate goal is always to prepare the communities to be able to continue our programs on their own one day, without Save the Children’s support. As we are now about halfway through our planned time in Dessalines, from arriving in 2012 to our planned exit from the community in 2020, we want to make sure that the capacities of the communities and schools we work with are strengthening.

A child participating in one of our summer camp activities, making art from recyclables.
A child participating in one of our summer camp activities, making art from recyclables.

One aspect of our work through which we can assess the success of our programs is by the local summer camps, which were started thanks to Sponsorship funding. Week long camps this year welcomed more than 600 girls and boys from ages 7 to 16. Kids received lessons in arts and crafts on skills like making floral arrangements, macramé and ways to recycle trash into art. Children also benefited from sessions on health and hygiene topics, for example how to identify nutritious foods or, for adolescents, how to maintain their sexual and reproductive health.

These camps also provided an opportunity for the school council members, representatives from the local government, trained teachers and volunteers from the community to demonstrate the skills gained through trainings provided by Sponsorship. Save the Children in Haiti program staff watched as camp activities unfolded – both camp facilitators and children were eager to share all they had learned. For the adults present, it was clear they shared great interest and a common sense of duty and responsibility to ensure that the highest standards are maintained for educating the local children.

 Children performing a song during the closing ceremony for the summer camps.
Children performing a song during the closing ceremony for the summer camps.

The camps closing ceremony was the perfect moment for the participants and actors to express their joy with the summer camps and likewise the good work Save the Children is doing throughout the community. It was agreed on by everyone that next summer the camps would continue, and the community happily offered to lead in taking ownership in running the camps this time. We look forward to a smooth and efficient transition of activities!

Your sponsorship supports your child’s growth and development and empowers community members to sustain the work we’ve started. For our sponsors of children in Dessalines, we hope you continue with us on this journey through the end of 2020 – when our programs will be solely run by community members and we will move on to other areas in need in Haiti.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.