WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
Saving lives, building futures. BFI Haiti is dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children by providing the security of a family structure, the opportunity that comes with proper education, and the physical benefits of good nutrition and medical care. We invest in the futures of these children, making sure they have the tools they need to become leaders in their own community.
BFI Haiti puts education first.
Sheadmy, Jean-Kerby and Merilene attend a private school Monday through Friday. They also receive needed academic support with tutors after school during the week.
Where would these three bright young adults be if they were not at BFI Haiti?
They have an opportunity to grow, learn, and be part of a happy community. Our aim is that each child gain the life skills, education and values, that will allow them to be leaders in Haitian society. Walter and Patrick spend their Saturdays as an apprentice to an electrician. Last year, they apprenticed with a carpenter.
How we do it
The Director of BFI Haiti, Jacques Africot.
Jacques is more than an orphanage director. He considers all the children that walk through the doors one of his own. For Jacques and his wife, Vanise, and their three children, they are just one big connected family. Jacques has a similar background to the orphans at BFI Haiti. He was taken from his parents at a young age and raised in an "adopted" family, where he was kept safe, fed, educated and most importantly, loved. Jacques grew up in Jacmal himself and has worked at BFI Haiti since 2005. (Pictured here with his wife Vanise and infant daughter Jose)
It's all about these Children.
Thanks to the stability of life at BFI Haiti, the children there have passions, interests and are curious about life. Cheerful, optimistic and with goals for themselves and their community. Sheadmy (right) is currently second in his class. Walter (left), is a shining star, loves to study and is currently mastering Engineering. They love each other like siblings, they are happy, and this comes from the love and leadership, of Jacques, and because he is Haitian, they respect his guidance and values. He sets an example of how life can progress for the better. He sets an example of how life can progress for the better.
Jacques Africot the Teacher
where your money goes
While we're at it. 100% of all Donations goes to Programming.
Provision of Basic Needs.
In the home, the children receive loving care round-the-clock and emotional support from our staff of two permanent house parents and a part-time nanny. The children attend the best public and private schools in the region, eat balanced home-cooked meals and have regular health check-ups at the FOTCOH clinic.
Access to Eduction.
Typically children arrive to BFI four to five grade levels behind. They receive intensive tutoring (2 hours/5 days a week) to advance their knowledge and skills, based on their age and how far behind they are, each have the goal to attend the best school in the area. They are scoring an average of 7.9 out of 10 on their school marks, and attending special summer programs. We recently expanded to teach French and French grammar and math.
We hope to enhance the academic tutoring by expanding the after-school LEARNING to include:
• English Languages and Grammar
• Critical Thinking (ESSENTIAL in an educational system based on memorization)
• Health and Hygiene
• Sports, Arts, Dance and other Extracurricular Activities
• Computers (in the near future)
A Loving Home.
Jacques and Vanise set the tone. Thier love creates one big happy family along with thier own children who are like little siblings to the kids at BFI. Jacques and Vanise are permanently on site in the home in cyvadier, plus
two tutors to work with the children after school (2 hours/5 days a wee), as well as a part-time nanny. Additionally volunteers regularly visit the Haiti program to help educate the children, provide specialized support services or help with distinct projects like planting a vegetable garden or teaching dance classes.
Building for the Future.
This is only the beginning. BFI Haiti is actively trying to purchase land to build a larger site. We are dreaming and planning bigger than that. Our aim, with your help and donations, is to build a community center and invite Think Tanks in to craft a sustainable plan for the future. We want BFI Haiti to create local businesses that can defray costs in the long term, teach the current and future children the marketable skills they need to thrive outside BFI Haiti.
Tom Pegues, Executive Director
“It is an amazing feeling to help people with no expectation of anything in return, simply for the joy of improving the lives of others.” Tom Pegues was taught from an early age giving to others is a pleasure and a responsibility, as a result his work with non-profits comes as second nature. Over the course of his 20 year career in Risk Management, he has used his business sense to leverage his commitment to giving back, both at home and abroad. “It is my hope that my own giving, whether it is financially or just with my time, will inspire acts of giving in others, and continue on in perpetuity.”
Tom attended Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland, recently he resigned from the board but remains very involved. He seized the opportunity to travel throughout Europe during that time, and today travel is one of his greatest joys. “It is important to find your joy in this life. It is going to make everything else function more smoothly because it is a constant replenishment of your soul.“
Jacques Africot, Director
Doris Chernik, PhD, Board Member
When Doris first visited Haiti, she saw a wonderful, creative population with amazing paintings and sculptures, using all kinds of materials, even auto hub caps, wires, wood, cloth and cardboard, to create amazing artistic works. She also saw orphan children living on the street, garbage piled high on the streets and homeless women cooking bits of food in metal cans to feed a family of 6 or more. She immediately decided to help. Doris had big dreams of establishing a colony, with a senior center, a school, a clinic and a community center. Doris co-founded the first orphan home in 2005 with 12 children aged 4 to 12 after Hurricane Hugo destroyed Gonaives.
New York Board Members
Laura Fortinsky, Board Emeritus
Kristie DeKoker, Board Emeritus
Local Haiti Board Members
Pierre Frantz Joseph, Accountant
Ariche Ezachiel, Principal of the Suisse Ecole
Hugue Mondesir, Plumber / Electrician
Frantz Large, Eye Doctor
Diane Gaillard, Director, Devoted to Children Foundation
In order to maintain a non-profit organization status in Haiti, there must be an active local board
Jennifer Damiano, Marketing
Jennifer Damiano has been working with organizations that are global in nature and exemplify world-class standards in every respect. Among her most satisfying work is for major nonprofit organizations, extensively with Human Rights Watch, and other notable non-profit clients include: Committee to Protect Journalists; Roosevelt Institute; Rockefeller Foundation; and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. Her corporate clients include Loews Hotels, Bulova Corporation, Fabergé, Chanel and Tiffany & Co. Jennifer has twenty years of experience successfully leading creative marketing teams.