A Perfect Match!

It is the perfect match – soccer and learning. We have seen the impact on our kids as well as entire communities through our sport for development model. Soccer is the most popular sport in Haiti and all of our kids love to play it. It is through that love that our kids immerse themselves in learning.

They come together daily for practice with their team mates and coaches. My favorite part of the day is to see the kids coming from all directions.  The older kids help the younger kids, not only with their soccer skills, but even with tying their shoes.

They tell us that GOALS has helped them to be healthier, get an education and be a better friend. After school programs are rare in Haiti and kids are hungry for inclusion. They welcome the opportunity to participate in our other programs such as literacy and community service.

Being part of something bigger and giving back to their communities teaches important skills and gives them a sense of pride.

“I love soccer. When I started back in 2010 girls’ soccer was not that popular in Haiti. But GOALS brought that opportunity here. Now the community sees how it can take us further. I started volunteering with GOALS because I wanted to see the program grow. Now I am working with the little kids helping them to learn, play and grow.” – Rosemirlande, former GOALS student & current Coach

Currently we are in need of raising 20K in team sponsorship support that provides daily programing for 25 kids for one year. Through a generous match offer from one of our longest supporters every dollar contributed between Oct 18th and Dec 20th will be matched dollar for dollar up to 10k.

Help us reach our target and stretch your gift even farther by taking advantage of our match opportunity. Together with your support we are providing the vision that is creating young leaders.

Join us in changing entire communities and fostering growth in rural Haiti through team GOALS.

Sincerely,

Kathy McAllister
Impact Director

1 Day, 75 kids, 3 coaches & 1k trees planted

The goal of our tree nursery project was to teach our kids about the environment and the importance of planting trees. With the help from our agronomist our Bossan team kids planted 2k tree seedlings over the summer.

This project took on an even greater relevance due to the devastation caused by hurricane Matthew last October, which Haiti is still recovering from. The importance of planting trees in Haiti has long been talked about but now there appears to be evidence that they can actually reduce the likelihood and severity of hurricanes (check out this article if interested).

The Grand’Anse region which is one of the lushest areas of Haiti was the hardest hit by Matthew, the greenery and agriculture in the region was almost completely wiped out.  We decided we wanted to contribute to the reforestation of the region.

Recently we loaded up a “tap tap” and buses with staff members, our Agronomist Onel, 3 coaches along with 75 kids from our communities to go plant trees from our nursery. We went to a community near Les Cayes which is 4 hours from our sites. We had one truck just for the saplings which included 1,000 plants varying from moringa, mangos and flamboyant trees.  

The kids and everyone else were excited for this rare outing to do community service outside of their own communities. We collaborated with a local agronomist Yvette, and she partnered for us with a local youth group. The community we worked with is called Madan Comb, which is 15 minutes outside of Les Cayes.  We spent the day unloading and planting trees and after lunch we organized a small soccer game for our kids with the local youth group.  The score was not what was important but the camaraderie and the sense of community that both our kids and the kids from Madan Comb experienced were. In the end, it was a great outing for all of us.

Most of our community service projects are done within our own community.  It is important for our kids, who have never left their own town, to understand the need to give back to others beyond their community. Taking our kids outside of Leogane to collaborate with other community leaders for a good cause is part of the process of creating future leaders of the country. 

We plan to plant the remaining tree seedlings within our communities in the coming weeks and look to replant the tree nursery with a new crop next year.

Annual Report - Ann ale! - Let's Go!

Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to present our annual report.  It has been a productive time for GOALS and you can see some of the highlights that we are happy to share with you.

Your support has made the difference in the daily lives of our kids, their families and their whole communities.

Through programs running strong, lessons learned and rising to the challenge of natural disasters, our staff has been committed to our mission: to advance youth leadership through soccer and education to create stronger, healthier communities in rural Haiti.

Thank you for being a part of Team GOALS!  I look forward to sharing our progress with you and as always if you have any questions or want to learn more feel free to reach out to me.

Best, Kathy

Kathy McAllister
kmcallister@goalshaiti.org
Impact Director - GOALS Haiti

 

Recycling in Rural Haiti

If you have ever been to Haiti then you probably have noticed all of the soda and water plastic bottles littering the environment in some areas.  Because there are not a lot of garbage collection or recycling centers in Haiti, a lot of those bottles usually end up on our beaches from having been washed up in our rivers.  Subsequently, they also end up in our seas causing environmental damage.   

To tackle this problem, GOALS recently teamed up with the Tropical Recycling Company to restart our recycling program.  That collaboration was arranged through our partnership with the Caribbean Bottling Company.

Starting at the beginning of July, GOALS received 10 large recycling bags that were placed on our different fields. Our kids have started recycling the plastic bottles that are littering their environment.  It is great to see them get involved and take an active interest in cleaning up their communities. To launch the program, GOALS started with a small contest between all the fields to see who can collect the most bottles.  The prize for the winning team will be a field trip to visit a museum in the capitol. Since many of our kids have never left rural Leogane this is a great opportunity to explore their country and culture.   

The benefits of this program are not only the obvious of cleaner spaces and increased volunteerism in the community but also potential for income producing activity through the sales of recycled materials.

Join us in our work to support strong communities in rural Haiti. 

Learning and Growing

Our award winning literacy program is going strong and our new classes started in April in Bossan. We are pleased to have a new teacher Mme Sangla Senatus. Because of high demand for a spot in the classes we have had to separate the kids to have classes for the younger kids and the older kids so we now have two sessions instead of one.

In the isolated, subsistence-based villages where GOALS works, there are no schools, no paved roads and no electricity or running water. Nearly all adults are low- or non-literate and just 72% of children attend school. The ‘Leveling the Playing Field’ literacy project uses the power of sport to build locally-led literacy programming in order to create fully literate communities, thereby improving local leadership, health and future earning potential.

To date, 64 children and 20 adults have successfully completed the program, each achieving measurable progression in learning. As a group, students have improved from a starting average test score of 13% to a final score of 66%.

For children who cannot attend school and adults who never had the opportunity, the GOALS literacy program provides their first chance to learn to read and write, establishing a more equitable playing field for everyone.

Our literacy teacher Sangla teaching our kids

We hope to bring our literacy program to all those that need it in our villages as we know it provides life changing results. Join us in changing the playing field and impacting our communities one child at a time, consider donating today!

GOALS is changing lives through soccer, and creating new opportunities for Haiti’s brightest young leaders and you are a part of that important work.

We know that we could not achieve our vision without support like yours.

 
 

Introducing our New Impact Director!

Dear GOALS family,
As you know, we’ve had some big leadership changes in the past few months. Jolinda did an amazing job recruiting a one-of-a-kind Country Director, James, before she stepped down as Executive Director in December.

For the Board of Directors, knowing that Jolinda was stepping down was daunting. She is irreplaceable, dearly loved, and leaves very big shoes to fill. That is why it is so exciting for me to introduce you to our new Impact Director, Kathy McAllister. Together, Kathy and James are our new executive leadership team, and with two phenomenal new directors at the helm, we couldn’t be more excited about GOALS’ future.

In joining GOALS, Kathy brings with her an impressive list of accomplishments: she first lived in Haiti as a Peace Corps volunteer and went on to found a Haiti-based nonprofit organization. She has over ten years of nonprofit experience, ranging from grassroots organizations to multi-million dollar foundations. Her work has included strategic planning, finance and administration, fundraising, and communications. Most importantly of all, she has a deep-seated love of Haiti based on her personal experiences, her work, and her impressive expertise. Kathy writes:

"Working with GOALS is an exciting opportunity for me as it allows me to use my experience and skills for a program that I know is helping kids to actively engage in a positive way in their communities. The development through sports program is fostering individual leadership and good health while mentoring volunteerism and community development. Along with James Louis-Charles, I look forward to continuing the great work that has been established by the founder and Board Chair Kona Shen and the previous Executive Director Jolinda Hackett."

Kathy began in January, and she has hit the ground running in a truly impressive way. She immediately helped us increase our capacity in innumerable ways, and I have no doubt that she is going to help GOALS improve as an organization.

We have always prided ourselves at GOALS for prioritizing our programs, our local staff, and our results in rural Haiti. Until now, we have never had an employee based full-time in the United States. As GOALS prepares to turn seven, the Board felt strongly that this was the right time to invest more fully in our U.S.-based operations, many of which are impossible to manage in Leogane, Haiti.

One of Kathy’s primary roles can be described as this: to dramatically improve how we measure, share, and support our programs for children in rural Haiti. She will wear multiple hats, from Chief Storyteller to Development Officer. As an organization, we care about your experience as a member of “Team GOALS.” We want to know about how we can improve your experience as a donor, and what questions you may have about our impact. These questions will guide much of Kathy’s work in her first year, and we hope you will reach out to her directly with your thoughts.

On that note, thank you for your ongoing support of GOALS. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Kathy as our phenomenal new Impact Director, and I look forward to sharing our results as we work together to make GOALS better than ever before.

With love,
Kona
Founder & Board Chair

 
 

Celebrating Jolinda

Leadership transitions are always tough for young organizations—and especially so when the outgoing leaders are as strong, caring, and irreplaceable as Jolinda Hackett. Jolinda joined GOALS back in January 2012, and two years later, she became our second-ever Executive Director. Three years later, Jolinda's term as Executive Director has ended, and we owe her an enormous thank you for her hard work. As I wrote in 2012:

"Jolinda has been making a difference on the ground in Haiti for over three years now. Since joining GOALS in January 2012, she has proven to be an exceptional asset. She is fluent in Haitian Creole, extraordinarily impactful, and takes on oversized challenges with a smile. Not only has she weathered hurricanes with us (two, in fact!), but she worked alongside our coaches and players to lead clean-up efforts afterwards as well. As a program manager and then Country Director, Jolinda has been responsible for many of our proudest moments, including winning the Beyond Sport award in London, partnering with Coaches Across Continents ... and the Klinik Lasante for health services, and sending some of our most talented girls to the national youth football training academy."

I have heard time and time again from partners, donors, and volunteers about Jolinda's extraordinary abilities leading GOALS' programs in Haiti. I have personally appreciated our adventures hiking up and down Haiti's beautiful mountains and trekking around the country in pursuit of Kanaval, R&R, and Barbancourt. If you visit our programs, you'll hear one thing from our kids over and over again: "kòt Jolinda? Where's Jolinda?"

Kona and Jolinda

We benefited from having Jolinda as our organization's leader for far longer than we had hoped to expect back in 2012. As Executive Director, her accomplishments are impossible to summarize in just one blog post, but the highlights include:

  • The construction of GOALS' very own community center in Destra, which recently weathered Hurricane Matthew 
  • Winning our second-ever international Beyond Sport Award for a truly incredibly youth literacy program 
  • Helping our first-ever Jovan Julien Dream Team Scholarship students graduate from high school!

There are many more accomplishments that we could share. In addition, Jolinda has helped increase GOALS' capacity internally, which is less glamorous, but just as critical to our organization as we near our seventh year. This work would be difficult anywhere, and Jolinda has led GOALS under extremely difficult conditions in rural Haiti. Under Jolinda's leadership, GOALS weathered multiple hurricanes, grieved the losses of players who have passed away, and kept things running smoothly amidst tumultuous political upheavals in Haiti.

It is impossible to share what Jolinda has meant to GOALS over the past five years. From our youngest players—whom Jolinda called our "ti pwason," or "little fishes"—to our founding Board members, we thank Jolinda for her hard work and her big heart. GOALS, along with all of our far-flung members of "Team GOALS," is better as a result.

Thank you,
Kona
Founder & Board Chair

PS - We are excited to introduce our newest Director who is helping GOALS with this transition, and beyond - more news coming soon!

 
 

Why the future of GOALS is brighter than ever

With Hurricane Matthew and other challenges, 2016 has been a year of ups and downs for us at GOALS, but now is a time to share some of the best news we've had all year. Introducing the very bright future leadership of GOALS, our new Country Director, James Louis-Charles!

James is a coach and educator who holds an MA in Sustainable Peace through Sport from United Nations University for Peace and the International University of Monaco, and, as a long-time fan of our work, he jumped at the opportunity to join Team GOALS! With an introduction like that, you can imagine that we were only too happy to have him on board! James comes to GOALS as a Haitian-American mid-career professional who has long held a dream of returning to his home country to help youth develop through sport and, more specifically, his dream is to further the potential that soccer has to transform Haiti.

As Country Director, James brings fresh expertise and leadership, and, like everyone at GOALS, he has big dreams for our youth and our programs, particularly through mentoring our coaches. As a licensed coach himself, James says:

"I'm a strong believer in training our coaches by working with organizations such as Coaches Across Continents to provide specific training for social issues such as gender equality and to have the strongest impact possible on our kids. Discipline and goal-setting and all social messages start with our coaches, who are role models in their communities."

At GOALS, we've always believed in investing in our local coaches who are both change-agents in their communities and GOALS' biggest cheerleaders. We're thrilled that James will help us take it to the next level.

Besides mentoring our coaches, James' favorite part of GOALS so far has been seeing the impact that our programs have for our kids and knowing how much they anticipate GOALS each day: "For GOALS kids, this is the highlight of their day. They don't have electricity to watch TV or play video games, and they'll even play barefoot if they don't have equipment, which just shows the importance of soccer in their life."

James has already been bringing some incredible changes to GOALS and has been leading our response to Hurricane Matthew. This week, he's at the International Forum on Peace and Sport in Monaco, where he was invited to give a presentation about GOALS. All of us at GOALS, from our coaches and kids to our board and staff, couldn't be prouder to have him on Team GOALS and representing GOALS to the world at the Peace and Sport Forum.

James (left) and FIFA Communications Manager Honey Thaljieh at the International Forum on Peace and Sport in Monaco

Byenvini, James! Welcome to team GOALS!

Meet the rest of GOALS' staff here.

 

Hurricane Matthew Update: Small Steps and BIG Plans

It’s been a while since our last update, and this one will be full of good news (the very best news is at the end, so be sure to read it all!). While much of Haiti remains devastated by Hurricane Matthew, GOALS communities in Leogane are well on their way to recovery.

Thanks to your support, GOALS was able to address the immediate concerns of providing food and clean drinking water to the areas which were heavily affected by Hurricane Matthew. We’re proud to say that there hasn’t been a single reported instance of cholera in these communities, which was a major concern. We’re grateful that our previous hygiene outreach and water filter trainings and distributions helped mitigate this risk. Our next goal was assessing damages and trying to get life back to normal as quickly as possible. We met individually with every single one of our children and their families to assess their losses and determine how to best respond:

  • Roughly 25% of GOALS participants had floodwater enter their homes
  • 20% experienced severe housing damage; 7 roofs and 25 homes were completely lost to the wind and rain
  • About 90 children lost material possessions, including their cleats, sports clothes, school clothes, books and materials.

Thanks to your support, GOALS was able to buy school uniforms, backpacks, school shoes, and school books and school supplies to help those children return to school. As of last week, about 90% of our kids are back to school, and by the end of this week, all of our children should be back in school as normal. Thank you for helping us make it happen!

Support the GOALS Hurricane Matthew Recovery and Relief Fund

What’s next? While we are continuing to make sure there are no children in our communities going hungry, our next response to Hurricane Matthew will focus on livelihoods and housing. We are working on a micro-finance partnership to create special fund so that GOALS parents may take out a small, interest-free loan to help replace lost livelihoods. Many families lost livestock, agriculture, and merchandise for their small businesses. This partnership is not yet confirmed.

Ready for our biggest and best news? We are thrilled to announce a new partnership to replace the tarp, tent, and wooden houses which were damaged or destroyed in Hurricane Matthew. Many people were simply unable to rebuild after the 2010 earthquake, and were still living in tarp or tent structures, now in tatters post-hurricane. But not for much longer!

With help from our coaches and community leaders, we have already assessed and identified 60 families who qualify to receive a house under our selection criteria. Of these 60 households, for example, five include people with physical or mental handicaps and nearly 2/3 are currently living in a tarp structure (the rest are living in either hand-made tin or wooden houses). These are families which were forgotten by larger aid groups after the earthquake of 2010, and GOALS refuses to let them be forgotten again after Hurricane Matthew.

While we would love to be able to get ALL of our children out of tents and into safe and dignified housing, we are starting with a commitment to build a minimum of five houses and, funding dependent, we are optimistic about providing houses for all of our GOALS families who have been unable to recover on their own - (up to 100 total houses!) - by the end of 2017. We are thrilled about the opportunity to provide job skills training for GOALS youth who will work alongside skilled tradesmen in constructing these houses.

Thank you again, for all your support and for allowing us to impact these youth and their families in Leogane!

Support the GOALS Hurricane Matthew Recovery and Relief Fund

 
 

Hurricane Matthew Update Part III

A large part of Haiti has been devastated by Hurricane Matthew causing a massive humanitarian crisis for the foreseeable future. The UN estimates nearly 1.5 million people are in need of assistance and half of those critically so. Due to the significant loss of agriculture (both crops and livestock), recovery will take years.

House in GOALS community destroyed by Hurricane Matthew

At GOALS, we were spared the worst of the impact, but our programs and people were still very affected. While we are still assessing damages, we know that many children lost material possessions (such as school uniforms, school books and sport clothing and cleats) when they were washed away by flash flooding and storm surges. Families lost their crops to winds and flooding, and livestock animals and fishing boats were also washed away. In addition, many houses were damaged and some destroyed, while other GOALS families, still living in tarp structures after the earthquake, are patching together bits of shredded tarp to attempt repairs.


Support the GOALS Hurricane Matthew Recovery and Relief Fund


Here’s how GOALS has responded so far
Before the storm:

  • GOALS coaches alerted communities to the oncoming storm. In coastal areas, staff went door to door to reiterate the severity of the threat. Unfortunately, for the rural poor, there is no real way to prepare for a hurricane. There is little food to stockpile, and nowhere to evacuate to.
  • GOALS staff met with partners to discuss immediate logistical support in a worst-case scenario.

During the storm:

  • GOALS staff kept in touch with remote areas via WhatsApp. Even in the height of the storm, we lost contact for only a few hours.
  • Dozens of people moved into the GOALS center to shelter during and after the event for several days until storm surges subsided and their dirt floors began to dry out and they could return home. We are very, very grateful that our building survived well and provided this important community function.
  • After the winds passed, the storm surges and flash flooding began from the heavy rains behind the eye of the storm.
  • GOALS staff was able to remotely send data plan top-ups to all of our coaches to allow them to continue to keep in touch via WhatsApp throughout.
GOALS kids cleaning debris off the soccer field after Hurricane Matthew

Immediately after the storm:

  • Two GOALS communities were completely cut off with no land access in or out. GOALS staff in the city of Leogane hired a boat to bring immediate relief supplies to these areas. With two days of solid rain, GOALS prevented an estimated 300 people from experiencing a third and fourth day of hunger with this distribution while access roads were still impassable. See photos here.
  • GOALS staff deployed to some of the hardest hit areas along the south coast (from Port Salut to Port au Piment) to assist with logistical support including transport, translation, meeting with local governments, securing local staff and assessing damages, access and security risks for incoming personnel in order to allow other larger aid groups to hit the ground faster and more effectively.

After the emergency phase:

  • As the roads dried out, we ensured GOALS families were able to leave their communities to obtain supplies from local markets, which were also slowly recovering.
  • Our next response was to provide tools (rakes, machetes, brooms, etc.) to help communities clean up debris on their own (and so GOALS kids could remove trees, branches and other debris from the soccer fields!)

Team GOALS assessing lost items from flood ie school clothes

Next is the assessment phase:

  • This is where we are currently. Our coaches are nearly done checking on the status of every single one of our 400 enrolled participants, scholarship students, alumni players and literacy students and checking for any other serious damage and loss in their communities.
  • And of course, it wouldn’t be GOALS without youth leadership! Two GOALS youth, Bettina and Rose Mirlande, are volunteering to help coaches with data collection.
  • After we have a complete and accurate count of specific needs, we will respond accordingly. Our response will focus on:
    • Replacing lost materials such as school uniforms, school books and backpacks, sports clothing and cleats. We hope our supporters will respond with donations of soccer uniforms and cleats to help with this step.
    • Responding to the ongoing food need: Many crops and livestock were lost, and GOALS communities were already somewhat food-insecure (nearly all GOALS children eat only one meal each day).
    • We are exploring opportunities to address loss of income such as helping small merchants recover through micro-finance or expanding our bakery program to offer more jobs to GOALS parents and alumni players.

While we perform our needs assessment, we are also planning a response for how GOALS can assist in other harder hit areas:

  • GOALS youth are assembling hygiene kits for our partners and friends at Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMD), and a few older teens will be traveling with CMMD to the region of Cote de Fer to help distribute supplies. Cote de Fer was hit harder than Leogane, but we believe it is safe to access for our older youth.
  • When the critical phase is over and it is safe to do so, GOALS coaches are planning to enter affected communities to provide therapeutic play as this is something they are, unfortunately, personally experienced with. After the 2010 earthquake, four GOALS coaches were specially trained in using sport to teach critical health messages for internally displaced and vulnerable populations following natural disasters by Mercy Corps and Partners for Health.
  • Older GOALS teens will travel to the hardest hit areas to provide community service by helping to remove debris from beaches, farm lands, schools, churches and other public spaces when it is safe to do so.

Our largest need, however, will be for housing.

A GOALS dad living in tent after the earthquake

Many of GOALS’ families were unable to rebuild after their homes were destroyed in the earthquake of 2010. Dozens were still living in tents or tarps which are now shattered and torn from Hurricane Matthew and, with no alternative, they are still living inside of these ragged structures. Many others have cobbled together shelter from bits of tin to form walls and a roof. One family even continues to inhabit a shelter which was crushed by a fallen tree.

GOALS is determined to provide safe and dignified housing for those who have now lost their homes twice. We are reaching out to partners for a way to make it happen but, with your support, we will go at it alone if needed, albeit on a smaller scale than we could with a partner.

Support the GOALS Hurricane Matthew Recovery and Relief Fund

The GOALS English classroom at Terrasonson will need to be rebuilt

Schools, soccer clubs and individuals wishing to donate materials: YES we can put your donations of new or gently-used sports gear to use helping children in Haiti.

Please see our Donate Equipment page for more details. 

 
 

Hurricane Matthew Update Part II

GOALS was able to hire a boat today to bring food, water and cooking fuel to about 300 people who have been stuck in two coastal areas where we work and where roads were too flooded to go to town. This would have been day 3 without any food for these GOALS families. We were able to do this work today without hesitation knowing that you, our friends and supporters, would help support this work. So a huge, huge thank you to those of you who have donated already. We are breathing a bit easier tonight, knowing that our families in Destra and Bossan were able to eat today, after two days of nothing.

After addressing the immediate need, our next concern will be hygiene/cholera and then long-term needs, since all crops and most livestock just plain gone. A big part of GOALS' role will be helping communities to get back to daily life and normalcy on their own by continuing to work our network of local soccer coaches and community leaders. Reopening schools and soccer fields helps life to get back to normal, and, providing jobs in local areas will be critical.

Support the GOALS Hurricane Matthew Recovery and Relief Fund

Behind the scenes, our staff has been working around the clock, partnering to provide logistical support to other aid groups, allowing them to hit the ground faster and more efficiently. See our partner coalition below.

Coach Liguerson

The photos and reports from other areas in Haiti are devastating. While GOALS will be lending logistical and translation support to recovery in these areas. GOALS own work will be focused on the four villages in Leogane where we have networks and existing programs. Our ongoing programs impact 400 children daily, but we will be supporting all those impacted in these areas, an estimated 6000 people.

Here are our very trusted friends and partners, should you choose to support their work in other areas of Haiti:

Be sure to find out what's happening with the GOALS "Boul'anjri" bakery, literacy projects, soccer teams, and all of GOALS' projects! 

Follow GOALS on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep in touch and share with your friends about what's happening on the soccer fields of Haiti every single day.

 
 

Hurricane Matthew Update Part I

Rain and flooding from Hurricane Matthew in Leogane is severe. Many GOALS families have had homes destroyed and rising flood waters and storm surges are affecting our communities. Floods have devastated crops, washed away livestock and damaged most houses in Destra and Bossan; Carrefour Croix and Terrasonson are also flooded. Two GOALS communities remain completely inaccessible by road but our coaches there were able to send out a couple photos via WhatsApp. Fortunately, GOALS has a modest supply of food and cooking fuel prepared, which we'll keep trying to deliver to those who are stuck. If roads remain too flooded, we'll try to send a small boat to these communities tomorrow. Thankfully all our communities have working water filtration systems from GOALS and our partner Waves for Water to provide some clean drinking water but hunger will be our next big concern as tomorrow will be day three without food for many people. We are also grateful that the GOALS building in Destra withstood the hurricane unharmed and is sheltering many people with no where else to go.

Thank you for everyone offering to donate. We have set up a fundraising page here:
GOALS Hurricane Matthew Recovery and Relief Fund

Funds are needed immediately for: food, general sanitary supplies (soap, hand sanitizer), tools to remove mud and trees, and other small expenses such as gas and cooking fuel to prepare food. As you know, GOALS is a small, locally-led organization and we are limited as to the resources we have available.

We are also partnering to provide logistical and translation help with other large incoming aid groups, but we will need both immediate and long term support in order for our staff, children and families to recover. GOALS has been working in Leogane since 2010 and is dedicated to the long-term recovery and development of rural communities through local leadership and community engagement through sport. This will be another long, hard recovery process, but GOALS will be there every step of the way.

Be sure to find out what's happening with the GOALS "Boul'anjri" bakery, literacy projects, soccer teams, and all of GOALS' projects! 

Follow GOALS on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep in touch and share with your friends about what's happening on the soccer fields of Haiti every single day.

 
 

What's new at GOALS?

It's been a while since we shared any news here on our blog (but if you just can't get enough good news from GOALS, be sure you're following us on Facebook where we post updates daily), but that's just because we've been so busy doing some incredible things.

Just last month, for example, armed with compost and shovels (and dreams of lots of shade in the future!), GOALS kids planted 230 trees around the soccer field and around their village. The soil in Haiti is generally of poor quality, and saplings are mighty tasty to local goats, so our soccer teams have a big task ahead of them to make sure that the trees are regularly watered, take root and grow up strong! There's some more pictures here, if you're curious.

Earlier this summer, we hosted our very first mobile medical clinic in our brand new GOALS community center in the village of Destra, providing care to 178 patients in a safe and dignified space. Previously, we held clinics in outdoor spaces, lacking both privacy and hygiene, but we're always proud when communities come together and join resources to make things happen, lending chairs and tables to visiting doctors and nurses, and setting up tarps to create shade. Check out some of the inspiring photographs here. A shout-out to both the visiting medical volunteers and the local GOALS youth who volunteered to help out as well.

Like all of our kids, GOALS' newest little girls team has big dreams. Recently, their coaches led a little goal-setting workshop to help them think about what they want to achieve in life and how GOALS can help them get there. Want to grow up to be a goalie? Be sure to come to GOALS every day and listen to your coaches, for example! Check out what these girls in Haiti dream of with more photos on our Facebook page here.

And, in case you missed it, we had some very, very special visitors at GOALS recently: A film crew sent to document our work for FIFATV!

It was a busy summer at GOALS indeed! If you grew up playing sports, you know the myriad of benefits it brought to your own life, and you can imagine that theses benefits are multiplied for kids in Haiti who have so few opportunities. Every single day at GOALS, we're empowering young women, kids are gaining problem-solving and leadership skills through weekly community service projects and peer-led sexual health lessons; we're providing food and clean drinking water to all our players, helping kids to graduate high school and, of course, lots and lots of kids are playing lots (and lots!) of soccer!

But we can't do it without the help of our friends and supporters around the world. If you'd like to help children in Haiti play, learn and grow at GOALS, please consider making a donation to support our work.

Be sure to find out what's happening with the GOALS "Boul'anjri" bakery, literacy projects, soccer teams, and all of GOALS' projects! Follow GOALS on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep in touch and share with your friends about what's happening on the soccer fields of Haiti every single day.

 
 

5 reasons to send a child in Haiti to school with GOALS

Did you know that less than a third of children in Haiti attend high school? Education is not free, and many families cannot afford to pay tuition. Each year, GOALS provides some of the brightest and most promising students in Leogane, Haiti with the opportunity to go to school through our Dream Team School Scholarship program, and we need your help to pay tuition costs for the 2016-2017 school year.

Please consider donating $20 or even $10 to help us meet our goal of sending these kids to school!

e-school-copy.jpg

Here’s three reasons why you should consider making a donation to help a student in Haiti attend school:

  • First, students work hard to be eligible for a scholarship, then, they work hard to keep it. Along with getting good grades, GOALS meets with school staff to monitor behavior and attendance. A GOALS scholarship is not actually a gift.
  • Second, students give back through service and leadership projects. For example they may lead recycling projects or tutor literacy students.
  • We’re committed not just to sending kids to school, but to seeing them graduate. Our goal is not simply to send kids to school. Our goal is to build a generation of strong, capable, inspired and inspiring leaders who will create change in Haiti, starting in their own communities. Yes, it’s as lofty, awesome, and possible as it sounds.

Please consider donating $20 or even $10 to help send our hard-working Dream Team students to school! You can also learn more about the Dream Team scholarship program here, or meet the students here.

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Thank you for believing in a better future for Haiti with GOALS!

 
 

It's back to school time in Haiti!

All children deserve an education, but in Haiti, only 20%will ever attend high school and fewer still will graduate. It's been 5 years since GOALS started giving teens the boost they need to graduate high school. And our investment has paid off. In 2014, Cassandra was the first person in her entire village to finish school, and last year, thanks to your support, Olsen was able to attend university. These are huge accomplishments, and we at GOALS couldn't be prouder of these young people and their hard work.

But students like Olsen and Cassandra can't do it alone. Children whose parents struggle to provide as farmers and fishermen can't afford the books, uniforms and tuition costs to send their children to school. GOALS invests in these bright and dedicated students to give them the opportunity to grow up and become the leaders Haiti needs.

Please consider making a donation to support one of these students to invest in their education as the future leaders of Haiti.

Each one of the extraordinary students below needs help paying their school fees for the 2015 - 2016 school year:

Books: $50
Uniform: $35
Tuition: $235 - $389 (depending on grade level)

You can sponsor any of the students below or make a general donation to the GOALS Dream Team School Scholarship program. Scroll down to learn more about education in Haiti and how the GOALS provides new opportunities for children who would otherwise be unable to finish school.
 


About education in Haiti
In Haiti, school can be prohibitively expensive at any age. The country’s literacy rate is 53% and secondary school enrollment is just 19%. Many rural areas lack schools, and poor communities can't afford both the tuition and the transportation costs to commute. In the village of Destra, where GOALS works, there are no primary schools and no secondary schools. The nearest paved road is nearly two miles away.

While primary school fees are more affordable, around $60 a year, secondary school fees are costly - around $350, and transport costs, books, school uniforms and exam fees add to the burden. Children from larger families may take turns going to school, with one child attending one year and another child the next.


About the GOALS Dream Team Scholarship Program
The Dream Team provides scholarships to students with strong grades, demonstrated leadership skills, and a commitment to local development.

GOALS is committed to seeing each student graduate from high school to create a better future for themselves and their communities, but students must maintain high grades to keep their scholarship each year.

All students give back by volunteering at GOALS and at service projects which they plan and implement, demonstrating that hands-on involvement is as important as academic success. Past projects include health lessons and soccer activities for younger children, collecting plastic for recycling and beach clean-up days and painting public spaces.

About the costs
GOALS works with three schools in Leogane, Haiti which have the highest test scores in the region, according to published reports from the Haitian Ministry of Education. Costs vary slightly both by school and by grade level. Each student profiled above has slightly different needs, and their sponsorship costs reflect these actual individual needs.

Thanks to commitments from GOALS' Board of Directors to fully cover all administrative costs, 100% of your donation goes directly to supporting your sponsored student.


More facts about the GOALS Dream Team Scholarship Program:

  1. Nearly a third have lost at least one parent.
  2. Only 8 have parents who ever attended school.
  3. 100% of participants will be the first in their family to graduate from high school.
  4. None of the students live in permanent housing: All scholarship students live in post-earthquake tarp, tin, or wooden structures; none have electricity in their villages or running water in their homes.


Challenges:

  1. Muddy roads prohibit school attendance after a strong rain.
  2. While we’ve selected the best possible schools for our students to attend, the quality of education in Haiti remains low.


Successes:

  1. 96% of students passed their final exams last year, allowing them to progress to the next grade level.
  2. Extra funding last year allowed us to purchase durable solar lanterns so students could study after dark, even without electricity.
  3. In 2014, GOALS saw our first two students graduate high school! Olsen and Cassandra both became the first in their families to graduate high school - Cassandra was the first in her entire village - a huge accomplishment!
 
 

In Memory of Ansito Laguerre

In memory of Ansito Laguerre

Anyone who has spent time in rural, impoverished areas is no stranger to tragedy, and GOALS is no exception. We do everything we can to help our children grow up stronger, healthier, smarter and happier through our sport, health and education programs, but the barriers and injustices of poverty can sometimes overwhelm us.

Ansito Laguerre grew up with his grandmother and his brothers, also GOALS athletes, in the rural village of Destra, while his mother worked in Port au Prince. He was 11 years old when he first enrolled in GOALS literacy project, after our assessments revealed that he struggled with reading and writing. Ansito had attended school until third grade, but had been out of school for a while when he enrolled in GOALS' literacy program. He knew how to write some letters, and he was very good at copying, though he struggled to write his own name.

But Ansito, in many ways, was the perfect student. He didn't need anything to motivate him, other than his own desire to learn, and quickly excelled faster than other students. His literacy teacher says he was a bit of a trickster, poking fun just to get a laugh at your reaction, and he loved being the first one to finish his work, so that he could ask for more lessons to work on. GOALS has always been proud of all of our literacy students and we were pleasantly surprised to see just how quickly they progressed. Ansito finished the program with a test score in the "fully literate" range, having started as "semi-literate". Just when everything seemed to be looking up for Ansito, tragedy struck.

Ansito

Ansito was tragically killed in a mass casualty traffic accident that struck during the height of "rara" celebrations near his village. Rara is a Haitian cultural event celebrated each year in the weeks before Easter, and, like much of Haitian culture, it is a rich blend of Catholic and traditional African and voudou roots. In late March, 18 people, including our Ansito, were killed when a large transport truck plowed through a crowd celebrating this traditional Haitian rara. In a rural area, without access or transport to clinics and hospitals, Ansito didn't stand a chance at surviving his injuries.

Ansito's death is more than a tragedy, it is extremely frustrating for us at GOALS, revealing the injustices of poverty and taking a life just when things should have been getting better. We have cried alongside his brothers and his family, and we have placed his photo on our office walls to keep his memory alive as we continue bringing soccer programs, literacy, school scholarships, micro-enterprise opportunities and sexual health training to Ansito's family, friends, neighbors and teammates.

In memory of Ansito Laguerre, January 1st, 2003 – March 17th, 2016

Nou p'ap jamn bliye'w.

Welcome to the new GOALS center!

GOALS began with a dream that children living in poverty in Haiti would grow up healthy and strong, with new opportunities to play, and plenty of reasons to hope for a better future. It's a dream that the love of soccer can be used to create a better life - not just for a week or a month or even a year - the dream has always been about transforming entire communities for generations.

Party time! A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped make this possible!

In 2013, after a series of public forums and meetings with community leaders, we announced our biggest dream yet: a safe, public and dignified space to house all of GOALS' programs in the village of Destra. A place for learning and the exchanging of ideas; a place to receive visiting medical staff; a place for commerce; a place for local elections and public debates; a place that will withstand earthquakes, hurricanes and storm surges to last generations; a place built with local labor to increase future employability for unskilled youth just as much as to create jobs.

In partnership with our friends at Building Goodness Foundation who shared our vision, and with the support of our friends and supporters around the world, and with land donated by the community itself, we broke ground on the new GOALS center in late 2015. The project has had an even bigger impact than we had hoped for, creating an increase in economic activity in the village, leading new vendors to create new micro-enterprise businesses, and leading to full-time jobs for two of the previously unskilled GOALS youth who worked alongside Building Goodness Foundation teams to learn about construction.

We couldn't possibly be prouder of the new GOALS center. Check out the photos below (click for a larger version) to share in our excitement and be sure to check out the video of the party we held to celebrate!


Welcome to the new GOALS center
in the village of Destra!


GOALS staff often receive thanks and praise from parents, students and community members who are grateful for our accomplishments. But that gratitude is not ours alone to keep: it belongs to everyone who helped to make this project happen.

So, on behalf of all of GOALS' children and their families, our local coaches, the entire community of Destra, and future generations, I hope you'll take a couple minutes to share in that gratitude as a GOALS donor and supporter, by watching this video, to see just a bit of the joy that you helped to create, and allow us to say, simply, thank you.

Be sure to find out what's happening with the GOALS "Boul'anjri" bakery, literacy projects, soccer teams, and all of GOALS' projects! Follow GOALS on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep in touch and share with your friends about what's happening on the soccer fields of Haiti every single day.

 
 

How the GOALS bakery creates new opportunities

Bossan is a rural, poor and vulnerable area where GOALS has worked since 2011. Families subsist on fishing and agriculture, with little opportunity for formal employment. Like many places in Haiti, food security is a challenge as resources are scarce, and children often go to bed hungry at night. But children can’t grow, play or learn on an empty stomach. Providing food to GOALS participants is a critical part of our work.

Flooded Road Sandy

After a particularly busy hurricane season in 2012, roads into the village were twice flooded so badly that villagers were completely cut off for days. No one could make it into town to find food at the local markets. GOALS responded to calls for help, leading UN military into the region to distribute food and clean water. Children and adults braved the storm to come receive as much bread as we were able to pack into the UN vehicles which could make the trek.

GOALS staff identified this as a significant problem and chose to address it by creating a local bakery, which would serve a critical economic need, beyond providing locally produced food and increasing food security in the region.

Snack time at GOALS with bread from our very own bakery!

Bread is a simple and cheap staple of the Haitian diet (along side rice, beans, and plantains) and is often the only meal children and rural farmers can afford for breakfast. While a meal of rice and beans costs about $1, a large roll costs about $0.10, and makes for a popular breakfast, along with locally produced peanut butter or a banana, and is affordable for nearly all. Haitian children are often sent to school with the coins needed to buy bread along the way.

But in Bossan, with no place to purchase bread, families commuted to the city, spending precious means on transport costs rather than food. Bringing bread directly to the village eliminates this extra cost, allowing families to maximize their food budgets.

GOALS decided to call our bakery the “BOUL’anjri” with an apostrophe because BOUL in Haitian Creole means “ball" or, usually, "soccer ball” and "boulanjri" is the word for bakery. We have a soccer bakery, so it is a BOUL’anjri!"

At GOALS, our mission is to make daily life easier, while helping to shape a better future. This what we work for every day: Healthy, nourished children who gain confidence on the soccer field and have the opportunity to grow up and make their communities a better place.

The GOALS bakery promotes local food consumption, reduces transport costs for rural villagers, provides food for GOALS children, and, in a region with widespread unemployment, it provides GOALS youth an opportunity to learn critical job skills and increase their future employability.

The bakery employs four staff, and 10-15 people purchase bread in bulk to resell for a profit daily. Surveys estimate that those with a formal income in Haiti provide for 8-10 family members, which means roughly 200 people directly benefit from the income the bakery generates.

GOALS teens learned small business skills and the bakery trade while volunteering at the GOALS bakery.

GOALS is dedicated to increasing environmental stewardship. Food insecurity stems from many factors in Haiti, but one contributor is reliance on cheap imported food from over the border in the Dominican Republic. These cheap imports, such as eggs, ketchup, and spaghetti undermine the Haitian economy and the Haitian farmer. Food security will never be possible in Haiti without a population who both can and will support itself with domestically produced foods, and growing the market for bread baked in Haiti from locally milled flour is a step in this direction.


About the GOALS Community Bakery
The problem:

  • Most families subsist on $2 a day, but a serving of rice and beans costs about $1
  • Extreme weather floods roads, isolating rural communities for days at a time
  • Food is expensive and labor intensive, and many children in go to school hungry
  • Imported food undermines the Haitian economy and local farmers
  • Families spend $1.25 to go to the city to buy food
  • GOALS spent nearly 10% of all programmatic expenses on food in 2014-2015

The Solution: The GOALS Community Bakery

  • Provides formal jobs for four employees
  • Creates an informal income for 15-20 GOALS parents who buy and resell in bulk
  • Bread is cheap: A large roll costs about 10 cents and makes for an affordable breakfast, along with locally produced peanut butter
  • Offers work experience and job skills training to GOALS youth
  • Provides an inexpensive and local food source, allowing rural families to save on transportation into the city
Meet Sofonie, 17, and her grandmother.

Be sure to find out what's happening with the GOALS "Boul'anjri" bakery, literacy projects, soccer teams, and all of GOALS' projects! Follow GOALS on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep in touch and share with your friends about what's happening on the soccer fields of Haiti every single day.

 
 

Meet a GOALS family

We often share stories of children whose lives have been transformed through GOALS' programs and the power of sport for development (such as Olsen, Esteri, and all our students). But what about their families? How are their families and their daily home lives changed? Read on to find out...

Meet Andremene Desir.
Madame Desir was born in the village of Destra and has lived there her entire life. Surrounded by sugarcane fields for miles on three sides and the ocean on the other side, Destra is in many ways, a typical poor, rural, Haitian village. There are no formal jobs, and the closest schools, markets and paved roads are miles away.

In Madame Desir’s “lakou” (Haitian communal courtyard), there are two houses, one is a tarp shelter which GOALS helped secure for her in 2010 after the earthquake, and one is a single room wooden shelter with a dirt floor. Together, these shelters house a total of six people: Madame Desir, her husband, and her three children and one nephew, who participate in GOALS' programs. A fifth child lives elsewhere.

In the five years that her children have been participating in the GOALS programs, their village has seen many changes - from the first public toilet, to privacy shower stalls, and even the village's first high school graduate. Along the way, fewer teenagers have gotten pregnant, and the village's children - including Madam Desir's -  are growing up healthier, stronger, and with big dreams for their future.

But what about Madame Desir herself?
Though she has never held a formal job, Madame Desir has enough land to grow food to feed her family - plantains, potatoes, eggplant and peas – and occasionally enough to sell. She also helps prepare food for the GOALS programs one day a week.

Like many adults her age in the village, Madame Desir never attended school, but she jumped at the chance to enroll in GOALS’ literacy class. She was unable to even write her own name when GOALS first assessed her as a candidate to enroll, making her fully illiterate. After several months of hard work, Madame Desir scored a 10 (out of 24 possible points) on our assessment, placing her in the “semi-literate” category.

Before Madame Desir received a water filter from GOALS, she relied on the local community pump, which, fortunately, is very close to her house. Though water from the local pump is untreated, like in many rural areas, there simply isn’t any option for clean water to drink in the village of Destra, so a small portable filter, like the Waves for Water system which GOALS procured for her, are a good solution.

Now, Madame Desir uses clean water from her filter to drink and also to wash the food from her garden, and to wash her face and her body after using the toilet. With her filter, Madame Desir says she feels healthier and that her family “avoids microbes” such as “kanal boulee” (urinary tract infection) and “vant fe mal” (stomachaches).

 
 

A quick (video) visit to the GOALS fields in Leogane, Haiti

Thanks to a fantastic volunteer who stopped by to visit us, we have a fabulous new video to share with you, straight from our Carrefour Croix soccer field in Leogane, Haiti! GOALS program manager extraordinaire Jean Kendy talks about the importance of soccer and education in Haiti, and the video features some pretty incredible smiles (and hugs!). Take a peek!