- «Sa ou vle Tonton Nwèl pote ou ou?»
- «Yon poupe, yon balon, yon liv pou’m ka li, yon odinatè jwèt, yon bekann.»
- “What do you want Santa Claus to bring you?”
- “A doll, a ball, a book to read, a toy computer, a bike.”
Those were the answers of orphans Emmanuella, Sonon, Adonaika & Oltrich, aged 10-12. Others like Sorel who looked utterly lost in a big field of playground simply answered “nothing” and when I asked him how old he was, he answered: I don’t know.
Last Saturday was Sow-a-Seed’s second annual Santa’s Wonderland: an all day event filled with fun activities, meals, live entertainment and gift distribution for young orphans aged 4-12 in Port-au-Prince. Above all, it was a day full of joy and emotion, and fashionAYITI was proud to have been able to participate in “spreading the joy.”
“Referring to comments that we hear back from volunteers and sponsors, the best part is when children arrive with huge smiles on their faces and randomly embrace Sow a Seed volunteers, especially the ones that they recognize from past projects, thanking them for giving the best holiday experience they have ever received” answered Sow a Seed board member Nadeige M Tesserot when asked what her favorite part of this event was.
Founded by Claudia Apaid, Sandrine Alkhal Viera, Dayana Villedrouin, and Michele Baker, and managed by a team of young Haitian-American woman, Sow a Seed is a non-profit volunteer-based organization. Operating since 2004, their mission is to equip and provide orphanages with proper resources in areas of health, nutrition, education, shelter, as well as arts and recreation.
The idea of this SPREAD THE JOY drive is to create a Christmas wonderland for 500 children from orphanages throughout Port-au-Prince. The school’s soccer field was divided into workshops and sections for various activities which included: Music and Dance workshop, Santa’s Toyland, Candyland with gingerbread houses, Playland, Arts and Crafts workshop, and a stage for live entertainment, as well as lighting of the tree.
To say that the school was transformed in an actual Christmas Wonderland is an understatement: A giant red carpet welcomed the kids through Santa’s forest with adorned trees, as they were greeted by Santa’s elves and characters such as Mickey Mouse, Disney princesses, etc…
With a big smile, the children proceeded through the wonderland, engaging in various activities and workshops. Each workshop was a big reproduction of our local Christmas “fanaux”, house-shaped lanterns that are a staple of Christmas in Haiti.
As the children enjoyed themselves on the playground, jumping on bouncing castles, taking pictures with Santa, and enjoying the local goodies such as Fresco and Cotton Candy, a local DJ created the mood by playing Christmas music, later switching to dance music and eventually our local kanaval beats which had all the kids and volunteers dancing together. Towards the end of the day, live performances by local artists Mikaben, Wanito, Olivier Duret as well as emerging artists were part of the children’s celebration.
200 young adults from various schools in PAP including Union School, Lycée Alexandre Dumas, St. Rose de Lima, CCCPV, Faculté d’Ontologie, Exceptional Learners, and Caroline Villard were part of the volunteering team that contributed to the realization of this event. Sponsors, donors and supports of this holiday drive included celebrities Patricia Arquette, Jillian Michaels as well as major sponsors such as Coca Cola/Couronne, Perspective Habitat, GB Group, Maison Handal, American Airlines, Bongú. In the past, SAS has collaborated with Donna Karan’s Urban Zen as well as Maria Bello for various projects.
This event was truly an amazing effort and the contribution and devotion of this organization and its volunteers brought priceless smiles and indescribable joy to hundreds of deserving orphans in Haiti’s capital.
Names orphanages that were present:
La Référence Village in Cité Soleil
Fondation Rosemina de Diegue
Fondation Foyer Marie Mère de la Divine Miséricorde
Acrejah- Sant Rèv Timoun
Maison des Anges
Nos Petits Frères et Sœurs
For more pictures see our FB album: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fashion-Ayiti/263122973808826
For more information about Sow a Seed, please visit http://www.sowaseedonline.org and follow @sascharity on Twitter