The Road to Hope, with Teen Student Philanthropists, Announce Opening of Sister School, Sustainable Crop Gardens, New Water Filtration System for the Children of Haiti

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Students to Travel to Open New School, Bring Art/Instruments, on St. Patrick's Day.

“Our goal is to build sustainable communities focused on education,” said Rich Harris. “More than anything, Haitians want to give their kids opportunities to attend school and thrive…things we take for granted.”

Denver, CO – (March 10, 2015) – The Road to Hope, an American nonprofit foundation led by parents and students, will travel to open first Sister School and community center complex in Nordette, Haiti (near Port-au-Prince), plant crop gardens, and implement a new water filtration system using local invertebrates on St. Patrick’s Day, as part of ongoing efforts to build partner schools in Haiti.

As part of the Global Water Challenge, middle school students developed a water filtration prototype with mussels. Elementary, middle and high school students have been studying the earth, agriculture and indigenous crops, in Haiti and Colorado, to create a sustainable food source and learn what grows in each climate. Art students developed templates for the buildings and gardens, to be commissioned from artists in Haiti’s metal market (Croix de Boquets). Students also are bringing donated musical instruments to the new Haiti Youth Orchestra.

The new Nordette school, nicknamed St. Patrick’s, will provide education, clean water, free meals, and a community room to 300 local K-12 students. It is the second partner school developed by The Road To Hope in conjunction with the US-Haiti Partnership Program, aided by Colorado Academy. The first school serves a daily meal plus clean water to 120 students in Mathone, near Cap Haitien. (61% of Haiti schools are without potable water; children often work instead of attending school). Development is underway for medical clinics.

Eighth grade student Rachel Harris, daughter of The Road to Hope founders Rich and Lisa Harris and sister to two Haitian siblings adopted in Port-au-Prince in 2010, travelled with American photographer John Fielder to Haiti to write a children’s book featuring illustrations by local Haitian children. All profits from Nadia’s Good Deed: A Story about Haiti, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, go to build schools and provide clean water and agriculture. The book will also be available in Creole and French. The story is about Nadia the goat and her journey to the city, replete with insight into Haitian culture. Combining Rachel’s tale, Fielder’s photography and local illustrations, the picture book aims to inspire, educate and entertain while benefitting one of the poorest countries in the world.

“Our goal is to build sustainable communities focused on education,” said Rich Harris. “More than anything, Haitians want to give their kids opportunities to attend school and thrive…things we take for granted.” Rich and Lisa Harris also founded The Harris Law Firm, a family law firm.

Edmida Jacob, a 13-year-old Haitian who lost both parents in the quake and now attends Mathone school, said: “I am proud of my school because they teach mathematics, French, Creole, Natural Sciences, Geography, Haitian and General History. Like other Haitian kids, life is not easy for me. I am very grateful to The Road to Hope, which provides food to my school. Without that, I could spend days without eating.”

January 12, 2015 marked the 5th anniversary of the devastating 7.0 earthquake. About 4,992 schools were destroyed and 1.5 million Haitians were displaced; 1,000 orphans were adopted in the U.S. (USAID). Haiti still lacks infrastructure, water, schools, shelter, and suffers from Restavek – a form of modern child slavery affecting 300,000-500,000 children who are sent to work for other families, paid only in food and shelter. Although parents of these children are often given assurance that their child will be sent to school, very few will actually be educated. Nearly 75% of Haitian children live in poverty.

Roger Bowen, Director of US-Haiti Partnership Program, Mike Davis, Headmaster of Colorado Academy, American Naturalist Photographer John Fielder, Rachel Harris, the Harris family (who adopted two malnourished Haitian children to add to their clan of 9 children), and TRTH members including Haitian-American émigré Ray Berrouet, contributed to efforts.

Nearly half of Haitian children do not attend school. Sixty percent of children who attend school will drop out before the 6th grade; 30% will not make it to the third grade. (UNICEF.)

For more about Nadia’s Good Deed: A Story about Haiti, tours, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit or like The Road to Hope on Facebook.

About The Road To Hope
The Road to Hope Foundation is a 501c(3) whose mission is to develop schools and promotion education in Haiti where children can grow up strong and healthy, free from the trauma of abandonment. By providing water and meals, TRTH enables children to attend school while providing for their families’ needs. Projects are designed to meet the basic needs outlined by the 1989 UNICEF Bill of Rights’ principles: “Non-discrimination, devotion to the best interests of the child, the right to life, survival and development, and respect for the views of the child.”

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Melanie Howard
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