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MakeJesus Smile

Make Jesus Smile - Christmas 2007

Extracts from article in the Barbados Advocate Newspaper

By Akilah Bishop compliments of the

Over three hundred shoebox gifts, packed by Barbadian children as well as corporate and civic Barbados, were delivered to underprivileged children on Haiti this Christmas. Jenny Tryhane, Founder of United Caribbean Trust, in an interview with the Barbados Advocate, discusses the Haiti project and her experience this Christmas in Haiti.
Children from St Mary's school with the Make Jesus Smile shoebox project
Children from St Silas school with the Make Jesus Smile shoebox project
Children from St Gabriels school with the Make Jesus Smile shoebox project
The biggest problem in Port au Prince is that rural Haiti offers little education and little employment. It is a common finding for youth as young as ten years old to seek employment. Sometimes they are sent to work or sold by family to work as child labourers in Port au Prince. They are required to work from early in the morning to late at night. After a while these children run away and make up the “street rat” population. These are gangs of children who are homeless and live in dire conditions. They are also exploited by political sectors and become armed street gangs." Port au Prince
Jenny Tryhane diverted to highlight the severity of criminal activity in Haiti. She noted that she was told that there was some improvement with the rate of kidnapping which has reduced from eighty kidnappings per month in December 2006.
Port au Prince
Port au Prince UN Peace Keeping  Force Jenny Tryhane went on to describe the challenges United Caribbean Trust is faced with as it seeks to effect the situation in rural Haiti.

Port au Prince UN Peace Keeping  Force

She noted that while she is conscious of the fact that there are no over night solutions, she is hopeful that there will be increments of change resulting in great change for the next generation of Haitians.

The problem needs to be addressed in rural Haiti. UCT needs to get sponsorship to educate children in Jacmel and offer vocational training so they would not run to Port au Prince. This is the key reason for the child sponsorship programme, which is facilitated by the shoebox project- the conduit into Haiti.

Seen here an orphan in the Bon Repos orphanage holding the card sent to them by the children of the Caribbean Development Bank After School Club.

Below the children receiving their Make Jesus Smile shoeboxes.

Orphan in the Bon Repos orphanage receiving their Make Jesus Smile shoeboxes
Orphan in the Bon Repos orphanage receiving their Make Jesus Smile shoeboxes When we go in with the shoeboxes it offers an opportunity to photograph and document children. Of course, it is an opportunity for children in Barbados to share, give and experience the true reason for Christmas.” She added, “The long term objective is the child sponsorship with is US$30 a month. The thirty dollars is subdivided into education, family empowerment, and after school club”, Jenny explained.
Orphan in the Bon Repos orphanage receiving their Make Jesus Smile shoeboxes Orphan in the Bon Repos orphanage receiving their Make Jesus Smile shoeboxes Orphan in the Bon Repos orphanage receiving their Make Jesus Smile shoeboxes

It was not an easy journey for the shoebox project, as it took many months of preparation and soliciting assistance. There are also a number of people Tryhane noted played an integral part in the Christmas project and she expressed sincere appreciation for their assistance.

"It was a struggle to get boxes to Haiti. We are so grateful to Amerijet who gave us a fifty- percent discount and to Big P Packaging and Brokerage for handling everything free of cost. I am also extremely thankful to General Distributors for donating toothbrushes, Stokes and Bynoe for donating the soap, SBI Distribution for donating the toothpaste, Brydens for donating the pens CCC for hundreds of sweets and Laurie Dash for the hundreds of balloons".

In addition, the struggle continued after they arrived in Haiti as Jenny explained, "We had a serious challenge getting the boxes out of customs in Haiti. In took four days back and forth from customs to get the boxes out. Bare in mind it takes four hours to get there!"

All the hard work and struggles paid off as Jenny noted with excitement...

“We had three wonderful Christmas parties in Jacmel. We had a programme with skits, drama etcetera. We also fed approximately four hundred people in Jacmel at the Christmas party.”

Barbadian children involved in the project

She also expressed special thanks to all the children of Barbados who helped packed shoeboxes as well as civic, corporate Barbados and all those who contributed financially and as helping hands.

Seen here the Pre Primay children from Wee Pals.

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