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Shoebox gifts from Barbados gave Christmas cheer to underprivileged Haitian children

By Akilah Bishop compliments of the Barbados Advocate news

Hundreds of shoebox gifts, packed by Barbadian children as well as corporate and civic Barbados, were delivered to underprivileged children on Haiti last Christmas. Jenny Tryhane, Founder of United Caribbean Trust, in an interview with the Barbados Advocate, discusses the Haiti project and her experience of Christmas in Haiti.

Jenny Tryhane explained that the United Caribbean Trust's project for Haiti focuses on alleviating the socio-economic problems that plague rural Haiti. 

Children from the Christ Church girls school
Children from the Caribbean Development Bank After School Club
Children and parents of the Charles F Broom PTA

She said, "Our focus has been on Jacmel located on the south coast. It is about four hours drive from Port au Prince Airport across the mountains.

United Caribbean Trust has a base at Restoration Ministries Haiti, which was planted by Pastor La Fleur three years ago. The main focus there is with the youth of the community. "

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. Rural Haiti
Port au Prince UN Peace Keeping Force 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.

Jenny Tryhane went on to describe the challenges United Caribbean Trust is faced with as it seeks to effect the situation in rural Haiti. 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. Haiti Make Jesus Smile Christmas party
Haiti Make Jesus Smile Christmas party Haiti Make Jesus Smile Christmas party
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.
Haiti Make Jesus Smile Christmas party

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 Jenny 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."

Haiti Make Jesus Smile Christmas party

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, puppets, drama etcetera. We also fed approximately four hundred people in Jacmel at the Christmas party."

Children of Barbados She also expressed special thanks to all the children of Barbados who helped packed shoeboxes.

She also thanked civic, corporate Barbados and all those who contributed financially and as helping hands.

A special thanks to DaCosta Manning for donating the warehouse where most of the work was done.

Thank you for your help Thank you for your help Thank you for your help

Shoebox gifts from Barbados gave Christmas cheer to underprivileged Haitian children

By Akilah Bishop compliments of the Barbados Advocate news

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