"Our experience shows us that these young children are normal children endowed with normal qualities and failings. Let us give them a chance and the means to cultivate these natural gifts while we endeavor to cure some of their failings." Father Joseph Simon of Timkatec

Timkatec 2 has record 61 graduates in dignified ceremony amidst of rubble-strewn, devastated post-earthquake Port au Prince

I have just returned from Haiti after attending the 2010 Timkatec 2 graduation. On July 31st the 61 graduates of the trade training school started a new life. Amidst the total devastation of the earthquake, this was a shining example of the success that can occur in Haiti even in these desperate times. I was accompanied by Tommy Stinson, current bass player for Gunsín Roses and Soul Asylum and a founder of the Replacements, who has committed to some long support of Timkatec, and Mike Spinelli. Tommy had contacted me a few months ago to assist us in raising funds for our "street children". His website I now linked to ours, and he will be auctioning off band memorabilia to support us. This trip, in the midst of the rubble, was a great success and we saw what can be done by private means, as government organizations seem to crawl towards solutions.

I have been to Haiti many times, but was unprepared for what I saw. The airport procedures were chaotic and CRS security protocol required us to travel in a convoy of 2 jeeps at all times, while avoiding certain hours and streets. We were shocked at the destruction all around us and we did not even see the worst hit areas. The airport area has a refugee camp for over 20,000 and near the Timkatec schools, another for 50,000. On arrival at the hotel we saw that half of it was rubble. There are falling buildings and piles of rubble on every street, many of which are still impassible.

Rubble-filled street in Port au Prince Crumbling building in Port au Price

Since we started The Friends of Timkatec in America in March 2004 Haiti has battled disastrous floods, several massive hurricanes, and now the earthquake, which killed 230,000 people in a city of 2 million, a similar number suffering serious injury and over a million, rendered homeless. The four Timkatec buildings were only slightly damaged, but over a 100 students and staff still remain unaccounted for out of 500. We can only hope they fled or are in refugee camps. The need is great and they have been quickly replaced and in fact, we have just committed to increase the total students to 600 next year

The good news from the 3 Timkatec schools and shelters, shining beacons in a sea of misery

Through the heroic leadership of Father Simon and his dedicated staff, Timkatec has overcome huge problems. Greatly assisting Timkatec in this traumatic time has been the food aid and supplies received from CRS and financial assistance from the Mennonites:

  • On July 31 had 61 boys graduated, most as electricians, plumbers, building trades and a small number of shoemakers and tailors
  • We had planned over 70 but some students were missing
  • The three Timkatec schools are functioning at capacity and are fully staffed again
  • Timkatec 3 is operating at an exceptional level of 185 girls versus the planned 70
  • The overnight shelter opened in April with 30 kids
Patrick O'Shea awards diploma to smiling graduate Tommy Stinson at Graduation ceremony

At a meeting with Father Simon and Scott Campbell of CRS — Haiti Country Head we agreed on plans for the financial support of the Timkatec 2, 2010/2011 Academic year:

  • The Friends, in 2011 will continue to focus its fund raising on the Timkatec 2 boys trade training school. Any additional funds will be used by Father Simon at his discretion for Timkatec 1
  • Timkatec 2 is planned to grow from 190 to 240 students in 2010/2011. We do not need to add to the existing buildings except for the need for some toilets
  • Timkatec 1, funded by our European partners cannot grow its current 110 places

The Timkatec 3 Plan, mainly funded by our Canadian partners and Europe is changing as follows:

In September 2009, with funding from The Jasmine Foundation of Canada, Timkatec 3 opened as a School for 70 girls, planning to offer primary education and training as cooks, seamstresses and beauticians. At night, the school was to convert to a shelter for up to 100 homeless youth.

That has changed drastically. He has now increased the number of girls from 70 to 185. Haiti, a Republic created in 1804 from a slave revolt, has a nasty secret. An estimated (UNESCO) 400,000 children, 10% of the child population, are either abandoned on the streets or sent to live as unpaid virtual child slaves know as "restaveks" by parents who cannot feed them. In the earthquake, many "restavek" families lost their homes and that tie was broken. Father Simon agreed to take 185 in. Most were abused, many sexually and needing gynecological treatments. We also added a child psychologist to deal with the many children also suffering PTSD after seeing family and friends die or suffer terrible injuries, and the trauma of the many aftershocks.

Refugees live crammed into tents Tommy Stinson, bassist of Guns 'N Roses attends graduation

While there, I met with a number of the NGO's constructing temporary or permanent shelters in the area in the hope that we can place some of our newly trained and previously graduated apprentices.

Geomoun in Belgium, The Jasmine Foundation in Canada, and Timkatec-France continue to be the major supporters of Timkatec 1 and 3.

Please help us to support this most worthy cause by donating using our direct link to CRS.

Best regards

Patrick J. O'Shea, Founder
Mike Spinelli, Co-Founder
Friends of Timkatec in America

Archived Timkatec News

Friends of Timkatec July 2015 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec March 2014 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec August 2013 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec December 2012 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec June 2012 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec August 2011 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec January 2011 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec August 2010 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec May 2010 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec March 2010 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec February 2010 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec January 2010 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec July 2009 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec April 2009 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec December 2008 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec November 2008 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec September 2008 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec April 2008 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec November 2007 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec April 2007 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec October 2006 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec June 2006 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec March 2006 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec December 2005 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec August 2005 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec June 2005 Newsletter
Friends of Timkatec December 2004 Newsletter