Last year, our Executive Director had an opportunity to deliver dolls made by kids in Japan and the US to Haitian children. This year, our two friends Kazushi and Marckeson who were traveling to volunteer with an organization called ServeHAITI stepped up to be HappyDoll Ambassadors.
ServeHAITI is a faith-based organization working together with the people of Grand-Bois, Haiti, to achieve a better quality of life. The people of Grand-Bois currently live in a state of poor infrastructure and governmental aid. ServeHaiti's projects range from providing water filtration, local micro-finance, medical care, to teacher trainings. One of their major focus is delivering medical equipments and medicine to the St. Vincent de Paul Health Center which was completed in 2005. This is the only medical facility serving the 60,000 people of Grand-Bois, a village near a mountain range 40 miles west of Haiti.
Hearing that many children suffer from malnutrition and depression, Kazushi and Marckeson decided not only to deliver medical equipments, but also something to lift the children's hearts--HappyDolls made by other children around the world!
The Health Center is where the HappyDoll session took place. 100 children ranging from ages 4-8 arrived from 4 schools in Grand-Bois. "Everyone was so well-behaved!” recalls Kazushi.
“Bon jou!” Kazushi and the other volunteers kicked off the session by introducing themselves in Creole.
Using the world map, they showed the children where these dolls had traveled from—Haiti, New York, Japan, India, Honduras, and Vietnam.
“Are you ready to make a doll to send to other kids around the world??
Look at these beautiful Haitian HappyDolls…
When everyone was finished, it was time to say bon voyage and “orevwa (good bye)” to the HappyDolls. Each child walked up to our “Bon Voyage Suitcase” to send their dolls off to other children.
As the children head to the door to leave the room, a big surprise awaited them…100 HappyDolls made by children from New York, India, Vietnam and Honduras! Each one were ready to go home with these kids and make Grand-Bois their permanent home. We hope the children of Grand-Bois will be able to feel a connection to the rest of the world, to children just like them on the other side of the globe.
During this journey, Kazushi met a special 5-year-old girl named Rose-Berlin. She is not a student from the schools, but used to be a patient receiving treatment at the Heath Center's Nutrition Program. As you can see though, she is doing much better now! The moment they met, Kazushi and Rose-Berlin felt a connection and became quick friends.
When she finished decorating her doll, Rose-Berlin handed it to Kazushi. She was very sad to see him go since she had said many goodbyes to traveling volunteers year after year. However, this time, it was different. Kazushi handed her a doll made in New York and said to her, “We’ll always be connected now. I will never forget you. When you miss me, hug this doll as if it were me.” Kazushi will find a special home for this doll made by Rose-Berlin! (He tells his story in ServeHaiti's blog)
The following day, Kazushi visited a house in the village and he met a young boy holding a HappyDoll! We were so moved to hear that these dolls have found a special place in these children's heart.
Finally, we would like to share a wonderful comment from Liz, the Trip Logistics Coordinator of ServeHaiti.
“Working with the Happy Doll organization to bring a Happy Doll session to Grand- Bois Haiti has been such a wonderful opportunity for ServeHAITI. Kazushi Udagawa, Marck Zephirin and our interpretor, David Baptiste, worked with the local teachers to provide a joyful and fun experience for the children, while teaching them the importance of empathy and sharing. It was so heartwarming to see the children willingly sending their dolls to others with no expectations of a gift in return. Happy Dolls is exactly the kind of experience all children in the world could benefit from and I'm grateful to have been able to participate. “ –Liz McDermott
We cannot thank our ambassadors Kazushi and Marckeson for holding this remarkable HappyDoll exchange. A special thanks to Liz McDermott of ServeHaiti, the other volunteers, the teachers, and the all children who participated!
Stay tuned until our next blog post at the end of August because we've got more exciting events coming your way...
-Help lift the spirits of children in need by donating to happydoll.org-