In November, Project Picture Day will go back to Île-à-Vache, Haiti, to photograph over 300 students in five different schools. This time, volunteers will join the team.
“This will be the first project where the organization is exhausting a volunteer program. We’ll look to bring 3-4 volunteers with us to help improve the quality of our projects. I couldn’t be happier with the progress PPD is making,” said Jules Alonzo, Co-Founder and President.
PPD will set up two stations at each school to photograph the students, edit the photos, and then print them from portable printers. Within 24 hours, each student will receive a set consisting of their glossy 4 x 6 portrait, a pencil, and a notebook.
Why is it important to do this in Haiti, again?
“Returning to Haiti shows our organization’s commitment to spreading positivity and creating relationships with the students and communities in Île-à-Vache,” said Jennifer Campos, Co-Founder, Vice President, and Head of Photography.
The government of Haiti has made free and universal education a priority. However, low enrollment, poor literacy rates, lack of government oversight, and a shortage of qualified teachers still present challenges for the country. Girls stay in school an average of seven years.
Haitian children also face risks of slavery. Restavek is a traditional system where poor children become domestic servants in another families’ home. These children are supposed to be enrolled in school and treated as part of the family, however, this rarely happens. Often these children are forced to work long, difficult hours with no pay.
“Our hope for Project Picture Day is to be able to have the students react positively to our service. This can range from continuing their education and advancing to the next grade, staying away from crime and drugs, to feeling more confident and gaining a sense of self-efficacy. Returning to Haiti is a huge milestone for the organization. As we look long-term, our goal is to return to the schools we serve, annually. We feel this will have the most impact and Haiti is the first step in moving forward in this direction,” said Jules.
The photos, school supplies, and the experience we will provide these students and their families represent something more intangible – the potential future they can create.
Written by: Mary Donovan