About 1,500 miles away from New York is the island of Haiti. It’s the third-largest country in the Caribbean with Cuba and Dominican Republic following behind. It’s also the first independent colony in the Western Hemisphere.

The situation

However, only one-fourth of Haiti has access to electricity. That’s only 2.5 million out of 10 million people living on the island who are connected to the power grid. Not to mention, even for them,  electricity is inconsistent. It’s available between five to nine hours a day. Blackouts are frequent and it can stop anyone’s daily activities. Everyone needs proper and safe access to electricity, but a group that can benefit from it the most are students, especially those enrolled in Haiti’s vocational school program. So, students enrolled in the Wharf Jérémie Vocational and Technical Training Center show they’re actively taking measures to make a brighter future for themselves and their families—despite difficulties they may face. They’re serious about their studies with an occupation in mind. Yet, what can stop even the most diligent student? Lack of electricity.

BRIGHT MINDS NEED BRIGHT LIGHTS

With this in mind, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-Jah, decided to step in to give students in Haiti the gift of light. Because of her, The #BrightHaiti Project was born—a campaign to donate 3,000 solar-powered lanterns to students in Port-au-Prince.

A little light can go a long way. A solar-powered lamp could mean saved expenses on kerosene or batteries. It could mean hours of extra study or more time earning an income to make ends meet. It could mean graduation and a career. And bright minds with successful careers mean a bright future for Haiti.

Through this, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-Jah hopes to empower students to succeed.

Zahng Gil-Jah set the example of sharing the love of a mother through all volunteer projects. To fulfill this, members from WeLoveU traveled to Haiti to personally deliver the lanterns to the Wharf Jérémie Vocational and Technical Training Center.

SENDING LOVE TO HAITI

On May 30, the WeLoveU team touched down in Port-au-Prince. The 3,000 solar-powered lanterns the vocational school received are valued at more than US$150,000.

The next day, the WeLoveU team visited the school for the ceremony. Because of space, 1,000 students fit in the auditorium so many were listening from outside. In attendance were the Director of the Institute of Vocational Training, the Project Manager from the Presidential office, and the Principal of the school. All of them expressed how meaningful this donation was and how it will impact their lives.

“The WeLoveU Foundation, which declares to us by its name its great love without having to say it, is thus committed with its BrightHaiti project alongside the National institute of vocational training to raise their voice together and say today, “Let there be light,” on the academic path of the students of our professional centers, and the light will shine on the success of your studies and on your professional future.”

– Ronald Legoute | Project Manager | Private Office of the President of Haiti 

“I’d like to repeat that it is my duty to express my sincere thanks to this organization today and to its Chairwoman Zhang Gil-Jah who gives us, the President of Haiti his excellency, Jovenel Moïse, and Haiti as a country hope for a better future. A Bright Haiti, a smart Haiti, a professional Haiti. That’s what we all want.”  

– Maguy Durcé | General Director of the INFP 

“God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” He gave light and life to people and told them to love one another. The spirits then asked God, “What is love?, and God had said, “To love is to selflessly give to others.” So, to love is WeLoveU. I would like to ask everyone, all of the students, to please give a standing ovation and applaud these people for this beautiful gesture.” 

– Jean Marie Boujolie  | Principal of CEPROTECH 

Then, Mr. Lee, the President of the WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region, delivered a speech full of encouragement and determination to the students. The Foundation’s earnest wish is to deliver the love of a mother. 

Afterwards, the WeLoveU team began distributing the solar-powered lanterns to the students. Their smiling faces lit up the room and they expressed their gratitude to Chairwoman Zahng Gil-Jah for her donation. The lights are a tool of hope and an instrument to complete their education. 

Watching the students use the lanterns was one of many highlights during this campaign. The vision and dream of Chairwoman Zahng Gil-Jah for The #BrightHaiti Project was now coming to fruition. Students can read their schoolbooks with ease and practice their trade at home when the sun goes down. They can also walk safely in the dark, but this is only the beginning. The International WeLoveU Foundation commits to helping Haiti through various projects under the initiative The #BrightHaiti Project.