On July 23, 2011, the year after the earthquake—Timkatec 2 graduated a record 71 students and is soon opening 50% expansions at both Timkatec 2 and Timkatec 3

"You are the instruments that saved not only 500 young Haitians, but also some of their relatives and the personnel of this Institution. Sometimes you may think that you have done little, but what you call little is huge... You allow people to sleep, to walk, to laugh because you send them their daily bread and the bread of knowledge. I thank you on their behalf and on my own."

Father Joseph Simon, Director Timkatec schools

Father Simon and a local supporter
congratulate the 2011 Laureate

Despite the desperate situation in Haiti, Timkatec is succeeding when so little else is. Please read the following and then make your donation to this very worthy cause.

The cataclysmic earthquake of January 12, 2010 is past, but not forgotten, as the country struggles to rebuild. Many people ask me "why the slow pace of recovery"? As one born in the UK during WW 2, who saw that the bombing of that country took 20 years to rebuild and who served in the Air Force in Germany and still saw bomb damage in East Berlin 45 years later, I am not surprised. In fact, I marvel at what the Haitians have been able to do. This was worst disaster in the last two centuries in the poorest country in this hemisphere. In percentage terms, it was as if 8 million Americans had died, with 7 million seriously injured and 75 million homeless. Hard for us to imagine.

So let's forget the ill-informed news stories and concentrate on what the Timkatec team directed by Father Simon has achieved since the earthquake:

  • Opened Timkatec 3 as a Girls School and overnight shelter with 186 day students and 40 sheltered nightly
  • Built a 50% increase in space at Timkatec 3 to increase that capacity by 50 in 2012
  • Are in construction of a 50% space increase at Timkatec 2 to add 40 students to the 190 already there in 2012.
  • Expanded Timkatec 2 Expanded Timkatec 3
  • The Timkatec 2 addition was fully funded through the Charity Auction organized by Tommy Stinson of the Replacements and Guns'n'Roses.
  • Increased total student count from 430 before the earthquake and 320 after, to 505 currently, increasing to over 600 starting in September for the 2011/2012 year

Now that is progress anyone could be proud of at any time. But considering Haiti's circumstances, this is nothing short of a miracle.

OUR 2011/2012 PLAN

In addition to the significant expansion of facilities and students we have five other major priorities for 2011/2102:

  1. We must ensure that our graduating students have the tools they need to be able to work in their trade
  2. We must make finding them jobs as great a priority as their actual training and education
  3. We must add 4 new instructors to teach the new students
  4. We need to obtain the equipment for the expansion
  5. We need to ensure that the trades are in sync with the market requirement s for more construction related jobs and a lesser need for shoemakers. This review needs to be ongoing.

The "Tools for Timkatec" program:

Personal tools are needed for The Timkatec 2, 2011 trade school graduates to begin as trained tradesmen. $15,000 will outfit the graduates with the tool kits they need to help rebuild Haiti. Here they are pictured recently during their training.

The apprentice graduates now need their own tools to get work. Many of these tool kits cost almost a year of wages in Haiti as they are imported and taxed. So, how can I sponsor/give a tool kit? You can sponsor them by making a tax deductible donation from this site and the amount can indicate the trade.

We thank you in advance for supporting them. To fill their tool boxes we need that support. Below are the number of graduates by trade and the cost of completing one tool kit for that graduate:

  • 14 Masons and Builders - $250 per kit
  • 18 Electricians - $500 per kit
  • 12 Tailors - $50 per kit
  • 4 Shoemakers - $60 per kit
  • 26 Plumbers - $125 per kit

Our very best wishes to all of our "Friends" for your continued support and for your success for the rest of 2011.

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

January 11, 2011 - A year after the earthquake—Timkatec 2 has graduated a record 61 students, opened Timkatec 3 for 186 girls, a shelter for 40 kids nightly and repaired all four facilities

The earthquake of January 12, 2010 was a cataclysm of historic proportions. The worst disaster in the last two centuries visited on the poorest country in this hemisphere. The results are still with us, a million living in tents and refugee camps and a cholera epidemic that has already killed over 1400 and sickened over 100,000.

Crumbling buildings in Port au Prince Father Simon and a CRS Relief worker

Yet, Timkatec under the guidance and tireless leadership of Father Simon and his dedicated staff have performed miracles. The 3 schools are not just up to strength, they have more students enrolled today than before the earthquake. In addition Father Simon has opened a fourth unit, using Timkatec 3 girls school at night as a shelter for street children. A total of 530 kids compared to the 2010 plan for 450. However, many suffer from posttraumatic stress and many from previous abuse. Timkatec has had to hire a child psychologist and also offer many girls Ob/Gyn treatment.

  • Timkatec 1 has 104 kids including 43 residents
  • Timkatec 2 has 200 enrolled
  • Timkatec 3 has 186 girls in Primary schooling and Trade training
  • The Timkatec 3 shelter offers overnight beds, meals and counseling to 40 kids nightly
  • 20 kids finished their Primary schooling at Timkatec 1
  • 61 lads finished their 2 year apprentice training at Timkatec 2 in July
  • Timkatec offers medical and mental health treatment for many of these kids

Expansion plans for 2011 are to increase the number of kids to 650:

  • A third floor to Timkatec 2 to increase the students to 250
  • An third floor to Timkatec 3 to increase facilities there to add another 40 days students
  • An increase in the nightly Shelter intake to 70 kids
Patrick and the Graduates of Timkatec 2, Tommy Stinson and several 2010 Graduates

Less than one year ago I was contacted by Tommy Stinson of the world-renowned band Guns'n'Roses, who wanted to help Timkatec. Tommy and his manager, Ben Perlstein, joined me at the 2010 Timkatec 2 Graduation and Tommy was so impressed that he made an immediate commitment to raise enough money to build the extension to Timkatec 2. He accomplished that with a wildly successful Charity Auction in October, which raised over $40,000, enough, for the Timkatec 2 expansion and first year fees for over 20 students. Tommy is committed to making this fund raising an annual event. His website has great coverage of Timkatec and is linked to this site. See for yourselves at Tommy's website:

tommystinson.com/news

As you can see, contrary to much of the negative stories that you may read about Haiti currently, Timkatec is moving forward in all of the right directions. We are also adjusting the Training curriculums to increase construction related jobs and also the tailoring courses as 2010 US legislation is now favoring the production of clothing in Haiti for re-export to the USA; long one of Mike Spinelli's concepts.

The pictures tell the story of both Timkatec's triumphs and Haiti's tribulations in the last year. As you consider donations to Timkatec I want to add some comments that father Simon made to us in Florida during a recent visit:

"You are the instruments that saved not only 500 young Haitians, but also some of their relatives and the personnel of this Institution" He then continues " Sometimes you may think that you have done little, but what you call little is huge... You allow people to sleep, to walk, to laugh because you send them their daily bread and the bread of knowledge. I thank you on their behalf and on my own."

The role of the Friends of Timkatec in America is, and always has been, to raise the money to fund the operations of Timkatec, while its gifted Haitian Founder Father Simon and his staff lead this highly successful effort.

The Timkatec program has shown enormous success against incredible odds over the last 7 years as we have grown Timkatec from one to three schools and a shelter, and from 90 kids to 540. We have not been alone as Father Simon has supporters at Timkatec; France and Geomoun, Belgium who mainly finance operations at Timkatec 1 and 3 and our Canadian friends of the Jasmine Foundation who financed the building of Timkatec 3 and part of its operations. In the midst of the rubble, Timkatec is great success and we have seen what can be done by private means, while government organizations seem only to crawl towards solutions.

Also we cannot forget the great support from our partners at CRS and CRS-Haiti. Our special thanks go to Scott Campbell the recent Head of CRS-Haiti who has just finished his contract and was so helpful to Timkatec in the post earthquake chaos. We warmly welcome his successor, Luke King.

Please check the NEWS section of the site for the stories about Timkatec from many newspapers during 2010.

Past Friends, please continue your support. New Friends, know that your donations will make an immense difference in such a poor and troubled country.


Post earthquake — January 18, 2010, one week later

I drove from Sanford to Miami on Sunday yesterday to meet with Father Simon and Sabine Manigat of Timkatec 1 and to provide him some cash. We are very concerned about the future difficulty of getting money there. They are tired but determined to serve their children and the many others they expect to come to them. They fly on Thursday to Santo Domingo and overland to Petion-Ville, a 12-15 hour journey (Father had his 80th birthday at our home in October). I also met Michael Voltaire, Professor of Psychology, of Nova Southeastern University, a former student of Father Simon in the late 1960s, and advisor to the Friends of Timkatec.

We still have little direct information regarding the overall situation in Petion-Ville but we are now getting direct information regarding the three Timkatec locations. Their situation is much better than the surrounding buildings and streets.

Timkatec 2 - Main Entrance, January 2010

Timkatec 1 has heavy damage and Father Simon has indicated that he cannot allow 43 residents to return until its safely is checked. They sleep in the street. We have no news regarding the other 32 staff members or over 400 day students-we does know that the 3 senior staffers had the homes totally destroyed and that Father's residence is now uninhabitable. Timkatec 2 has severe damage to one of the buildings but the workshops appear OK, as does the brand new Timkatec 3 building. These were both build recently to higher standards and we see the benefit.

Timkatec 1 - Main Classroom, January 2010

Timkatec 3 - Lightly Damaged, January 2010

He tells me that his load will dramatically increase on his return, and may have to use Timkatec 3 building for both classrooms and temporary dormitories for the Timkatec 1 street children. Timkatec was founded to rescue street children and that is known throughout the community. The number of homeless has dramatically increased now, as has their need for serve them. He is deeply concerned about his excellent and dedicated team of staff, who he needs for this task, but some of whom are now homeless themselves.

Father Simon in Timkatec 1 The children of Timkatec

Please continue your generous donations and monitor this site for timely information about Timkatec. Father also asks that you all remember him and the kids in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you,

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


Initial earthquake report — January 16,2010 — 4 days later

Dear Friends of Timkatec and Haiti:

The earthquake in Haiti is of historic proportions. One third of the 8-9 million people are affected, an estimated 100,000 casualties and many more buried under buildings. There were virtually no First Responder services, trucks, heavy rescue equipment, or even clear roads and bridges to get them, limited medical services and few supplies. The USA, France and Canada and others are pouring aid in with 15,000 international troops, mostly US expected by Monday. It is if the USA had 33% (100 million people) affected with 1% dead (3 Million). A huge medical crisis, limited food supplies, no clean water, no shops, no banks and no money, and little communication.

The USA now operates the airport and stopped commercial flights. Many long haul incoming flights had no fuel to leave. Priority is to clear the airport, then the main streets so that aid can reach the people. The port is destroyed.

Timkatec and Petion-Ville. The city is heavily damaged and has seen few reporters or aid workers. The Salesian Church and School are "seriously damaged" but we have almost no real information, with the road from Port au Prince closed, there is no phone/cell phone service, just a few isolated Sat phone messages. CRS in Petion-Ville sleep in tents and our kids in the street.

Patrick Manigat reported Friday evening that:

  • Timkatec 1 has cracked walls, Timkatec 2 has one wall collapsed but Timkatec 3 appears little damaged
  • The children at Timkatec 1, the boarding school, are all accounted for, sleeping in the street.
  • The Heads of Timkatec 1 and 2 and Father's Assistant escaped but their houses are completely destroyed.
  • We are trying to get information on the 450 or so day students and 30 staff who live outside the schools.
  • Father is unsure what supplies are left. There is generally a good food supply but without leadership it is uncertain what remains.

Let me share some extracts received in a letter from Father Simon last night:

I am feeling very tired after one year and half without taking even one day of rest as the head of the 3 Timkatecs and in the midst of the 435 poverty stricken young people.

One of my friends who could reach me reported to me that a child asked him to tell me "that nothing much can be done. He will now leave Timkatec and go back to the streets, because currently, in fact, the streets do not kill, but the houses do. Vive the streets!" They have humor, these kids.

I should return to Petion-Ville. I know that people will be banging on our doors from 6 AM onwards all day seeking food and help. I escaped hearing those desperate cries as I was here for a report on my eye surgery. But I know there will be worse to come. But what can I do?"

I will try hard to stay in contact with you, but without electricity, telephone, gasoline, fuel for cooking, I do not know how we will stay in close contact. I think so much always of the children, but also I cannot prevent myself from also thinking of my 32 employees. Did they record deaths among their close relations? Can they be as dedicated when they do not know what happens with their families and I am not there to help. Well, we shall see."

He ends in Union of Prayer.

We know that Father Simon and CRS are the best stewards of your support to Haiti. They plan to return as soon as possible.

We thank you for your help,

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


The Friends of Timkatec


Father Simon with a picture of St Jean Bosco in the background. Both men have dedicated their lives to helping poor children.
"It is difficult to refuse a child who comes at night, in the rain, asking for a small place to sleep. In those instances, children sleep on the floor, sometimes with only a blanket, sometimes without even that." Father Joseph Simon of Timkatec

I learned of Timkatec through an Orlando Sentinel article in March 2004 stressing the Haiti problems and chaos following the departure of former President Aristide. The anguished comments made by Father Joseph Simon regarding the problems he was facing, and his unique mission to feed, clothe, house and educate and train the abandoned street children of Haiti, deeply touched me and I had to learn more.

After some difficulties I contacted Father Joseph and shortly afterwards received photographs, blueprints, and other documents describing his charges, his mission at Timkatec 1, plan for the trade training concept for Timkatec 2, his bona fides and, most importantly, his vision for the future for his "children". That vision is to take children (some as young as 7 years old) who have been abandoned to the streets of Port au Prince, and not only to feed and shelter them, but ultimately to educate and train them in a trade so that they can become self-sustaining proud citizens. (See The Mission and History)

Patrick O'Shea at Timkatec 1. The 300 Square foot dormitory is shared by 18—just bunk beds and shelves for clothes. But safe and dry, with food daily, an education and firm direction by Father Simon and the staff.

It was clearly a worthy undertaking. One fraught with seemingly impossible problems... yet one that has been sustained by his faith and drive for over a decade. My daughter, Tara, designed this website which she maintains and we started our efforts which are covered inside in the various News items. In this effort, we have been most blessed with the unstinting support of special Friends Mike Spinelli, Ernie Reyes and Tom Moran and families and many others, CRS-Baltimore and the CRS Haiti staff, and my parish of All Souls, Sanford. That support has to date reached over $150,000, sent to Haiti through CRS with 100% delivered to Timkatec. We have a new 5000 Square foot school, Timkatec 2 with a team of dedicated teachers instruction in 5 trades over 200 students. PLUS, an expansion at Timkatec 1 from 34 dormitory places to almost 50. It is rare to see so much impact on so many lives for such a relatively small investment. And shortly, Timkatec 3 for girls will offer similar facilities.

In the following pages, you will find more information regarding Timkatec 1 2 and 3, and its founder Father Joseph Simon, a dedicated (supposedly retired) Salesian priest. I urge you to read more about him and his mission and I am sure that you, like our families will be as deeply touched by his dedication and faith and impressed by his focus on, and the success of, hisleadership of a dedicated staff. You will find on the donation page how you also can assistthat effort with a tax deductible donation for this worthy cause. 100% of our donations to be forwarded to Father Simon through our partner, Catholic Relief Service, who also cover our Timkatec effort through their website. Please feel free to contact me directly at any time for further information.

Thank you,

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

"It is fundamental to show children that one loves them and really wants to help them. The rest goes automatically. It is also a work of justice towards these children whose physical, intellectual and moral development is jeopardized by a life without affection, without guidance, without constraint, without obligation. The street cannot educate in any way." Father Joseph Simon of Timkatec.

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