Happy New Year - Bon Ane!

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year! January 1st in Haiti is also their Independence Day. This year marks the 214th anniversary of Haiti’s independence from France when she became the first black republic.

The picture above is of a statue located in the capital city of Port- Au- Prince and is called “Neg Mawon”. It commemorates the landmark slave revolt that took place in 1804 when Haiti broke free from the French. It remains an icon of Haiti.

The sculpture is a powerful piece – the left leg extended with a broken shackle at the ankle denoting the hard-fought freedom, a machete in the right hand showing the strength to fight, and the conch shell at the lips harkening to the calling of the masses.

This statue stands strong and unbreakable.  As we celebrate the new year we also celebrate the strength and beauty of the Haitian people.

We look forward to the new year and look to carry the momentum of a great 2017 into our efforts for 2018. Thank you to all who gave to our matching campaign! We reached our goal and raised 24K which will sponsor one whole team for the year. We still have teams that need sponsorship. You can join us in supporting them by checking out our ways to help.

Our 12 teams will be getting daily soccer practice, playing in tournaments, pursuing education opportunities and giving back to their communities through volunteer service projects. We will be partnering with Coaches Across Continents and The Third Half this year.

Our award winning literacy program will be brought to two new communities and our tree nursery will continue to not only produce much needed vegetation but also teach out kids the importance for caring for our environment.

Our Impact Director Kathy McAllister has been promoted to serve as our Executive Director. Kathy along with Country Director James Louis-Charles will work with our Board as our leadership team guiding GOALS. Also playing a critical role will be our community members that have shaped our programs from our inception. It is the Haitian people that know best what their communities need and the road to get there. We are facilitators along that path.

If interested here is a great article op-ed from Haiti’s U.S. ambassador which appeared recently  in the New York Times.  It emphasizes  the importance for treating our Haitian neighbors with dignity and respect.


Giving Back

Community service is a core part of GOALS’ work in Haiti. It is a way for our kids to give back and learn the importance of volunteerism. To be on a team and play soccer they all commit volunteer hours on projects that will benefit their community.

Community service includes local development projects that involve players’ families and adults in the area. Service also includes activities and events organized for children younger than 10 years old, and players who don’t yet have places on local GOALS teams.

The kids submit ideas for proposed projects and with our staff they are provided the means to take charge of their own reasonable project.

Unlike other aspects of their life they may not be able to control, volunteering allows them to choose where and how to make a difference. It’s easy to get inspired with a cause they truly care about—and it’s rewarding for them to see their direct impact.

This year, the kids in Carrefour Croix painted the water faucets with bright colors to match their enthusiasm for the programs. The water faucets are a wonderful meeting place for the community members to meet and talk given there is no other water source in this community.

For the Destra kids, their priority was to fix the road leading to their isolated community. To get there, you must go on a road that runs through a sugar plantation for at least a mile. When it rains, the road is impossible for cars. At times even, taxi motorcyclists must avoid the road. It is the same road the kids must take to get their school.  Their presence in school is affected by the quality of the road. We assisted them with the tools and supplies to fix part of the road themselves.

As for the kids in Bossan, they had a bigger need since their field was recently bought by a foreign businessman to build a hotel. After a meeting where we demonstrated the importance of the programs to the community we were able to convince the owner of the sugar cane field next door to allow us to use the field next door. The Bossan kids have taken on the responsibility to clear the field so they can start using it in January.

From the kids’ tree nursery that they have been tending all year we have been able to plant over 3k trees. Most recently we planted 1,300 trees in rural Léogane over two days. 100 kids participated, and trees included mango, cherry, avocado and flamboyant.

These projects are a great way for the kids to give back to their villages and serve as important learning opportunities for these bright young community leaders.


Proud Graduates

Our literacy class held ceremonies last month where kids accepted their certificates of graduation in front of proud parents and GOALS staff members.

Their teacher Madame Sangla Cenatus taught the kids in her classes over the past 7 months. Her classes are full of energy as she incorporates dancing and singing in her literacy and numeracy course.

Of the 25 kids 23 kids passed their final exams, and only two did not pass.  Most importantly, the average test score for the class had jumped to 6.42/10 up from mid-term testing.

To celebrate their achievements, kids showed up in their Sunday best along with their parents and friends for the event.  A few students told the audience about the importance of the literacy program to them.  Other talented kids from the community were asked to present a sketch about how literacy can help with social inclusion and upward mobility in Haiti.  Finally, some kids prepared a choreographed dance routine for the occasion with music blasting.  It was the biggest event in Bossan that afternoon.

GOALS staff members Emilio, Jean Kendy and James gave a short speech explaining the importance of the program.  Madame Sangla also talked about how pleased she was to see her students improving their reading and writing skills over the few months that she taught them.  They had come a long way and we were all proud of them.

All the students were happy not only of the fact that they could now read and write, or in some cases, had improved on their low literacy skills, but also of the fact that their parents were full of pride with them.  At the end of the ceremony, parents were asking GOALS staff members to please take a picture of them with their graduating kid. As one parent told us, "It is because of GOALS, that some students who didn't know how to read and write, learned to read, write and to count.  This will motivate them to give education a lot more importance or value."

We hope this achievement will empower the kids to continue to go to school so they can continue with their education.

As GOALS Haiti strives to empower people in their communities, the ability to read and write is extremely important in the fight against social exclusion in Haiti.


Seeing GOALS in action: a truly eye-opening experience

It is one thing to kick start fundraising campaigns, to donate money and equipment, or to raise awareness for a charity. But it’s a whole other experience to see and understand the value of the work you put in, on the people it directly impacts. Travelling to where your work manifests itself, and journeying to different locations that might have remnants of the work you put in from far, far away can have a truly lasting impact.

I first got involved with GOALS in 2014, searching the internet for a service project for my Bar Mitzvah. I knew I wanted to raise money for a charity that somehow involved soccer but also had its roots in a developing country. Up came GOALS Haiti, the perfect match.

In appealing for money through friends, family, and their connections, I raised enough funds to sponsor one GOALS team. The team I chose is called the Boys’ and Girls’ Ti Poisson team, based out of Carrefour Croix. It was such a success that we have continued our sponsorship of the team for the past few years. It is great to get updates on how the team was doing, letters from the students, and postcards from the team thanking them for my sponsorship — but the most truly eye-opening experience was going to Haiti and seeing the GOALS teams in action.

This summer was my “eye opening” experience, my 3-day trip to Haiti to see the country and the GOALS Operations in Leogane and the surrounding villages. On the way to the village of Destra was the village of Carrefour Croix, where my sponsored team is from! I was so excited when I realized that the group of kids who had just piled into the back of the pickup truck I was in was the team I had sponsored. I thought to myself, “I get to see kids wearing clothes I had donated, playing the game I love, all with my help.” Arriving at the field site we were welcomed by young kids not yet old enough to play and an astonishing view of the surrounding mountains.

One of GOALS’ best coaches, a clearly well-liked and charismatic woman, was leading a pre-game cheer/activity with the kids. The kids were having so much fun doing something as simple as a group warm-up combined with a song and dance. After trying to communicate with some of the kids on the sideline and carrying a few around, the game started. I was shocked to see how many people showed up. A girls’ game with so much support in a country that has issues with gender equity is a powerful thing. This, I think, can attest to the substantial impact that GOALS has on the communities it exists in -- changing cultural norms for the betterment of society, little by little. The game was lots of fun to watch. People all around were gathered for the love of GOALS and the game of soccer.

After the game, we left and walked a bit into the town of Destra, maybe about 200 yards away. I was quite surprised; I expected the villages I had heard so much about to be much larger and have a bit more infrastructure. This town was quite small and did not have a road going through it.  We had a basic lunch in the schoolroom of the Destra Community Center. The center has clearly become the focal point of the village, with boys, girls, men, and women of all different ages gathered around, talking, eating lunch, and shucking coconuts.

All in all, I had seen the team I had sponsored in Carrefour Croix, a game at the Destra field, a coach in action, and a squadron of spectators who rely on or are connected with someone who relies on GOALS in some way. A community center, another GOALS town, and a school room with a chalk board. All thanks to GOALS, and the work of those supporting the organization. It was seeing it all in action, not just observing from far away. This, I can assure you, is what it means to see your work in action. And it is a truly invaluable experience. - Max R 

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.


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.