Special visitor raises awareness of other cultures for students

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

Staff report

Students at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy were visibly moved by Haitian citizen, Jean-Louis’s story.

This is a story with a happy ending, however; in Haiti, not all fair as well.

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With an estimated 1.2 million orphans and vulnerable children in the country, the statistics paint a grim picture of the situation in Haiti, and for its children, in particular.

It is with this information, that NSA students and faculty have realized the importance of strengthening their intervention to reach these children.

During a student assembly, Lefort Jean-Louis came to NSA to tell his story. The son of a poor Haitian gardener, Jean-Louis himself was all too familiar with the extreme hardships that the people of Haiti face everyday.

It was several years into his adulthood when Jean-Louis became increasingly concerned with the number of children he saw living on the streets of Haiti.

He soon began toying with the idea of an orphanage. It was during this time that he met a woman who could not take care of her deceased sister’s son and asked Jean-Louis for help.

Knowing he had to do something, Jean-Louis quickly offered to take the boy along with three others.

Soon Jean-Louis found himself feeding, clothing, and educating sixteen young boys.

Knowing he could not possibly continue to do this on his own, he quickly rounded up a staff and they now help him care for nearly 85 boys in the orphanage.

Today Jean-Louis is trying to establish a girls’ orphanage as well.

While much has been accomplished, there is still much more to be done. The Haiti Awareness Group at NSA was established to raise awareness about Haitian current events and culture.

On Friday, Guest Jean-Louis did just that.

As the group works to publicize current events about the country’s condition through bulletin boards, club meetings, speakers and the relationship with Jean-Louis’s Maison Fortune Orphanage. The rest of the student body was very generous in donating money to sponsor an orphan and to support the Haitian Coffee fundraiser. To date, the students have raised more than $500. &uot;As a sponsor of the Haiti Awareness Group at NSA, I am proud of our caring, generous students who are so enthusiastic to help!&uot; remarked Kollette Hillard, NSA English Teacher.

&uot;Jean-Louis is proof that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of many people.&uot;