April 2009 Friends of Timkatec News


Patrick, Father Simon, Spinells, and Dula James (CRS)-May 2005

March 2009 is a special event for Timkatec, our Haitian mission to educate and train «enfants de rues» the homeless children of Haiti. We learned of the work of Father Simon 5 years ago and my family and I founded the Friends of Timkatec in America.in March 2004. Shortly after that, Florida and Haiti were devastated by the worst hurricanes in decades. Ironically, that sealed our concept and we received great support following the devastating loss of life in Haiti. Father Simon had long planned to try to build a Training School so the kids at Timkatec could learn a trade after they finished Primary education, when they usually left Timkatec. This was the worst of all worlds in some ways, as they now had some education but not enough to be able to work for a living at 12-15 years old. Father had the architectural plans but no funds to build his school (see the Mission page). Our initial plan was just to build the school. With the Friends and CRS matching contributions and with support from All Souls, we reached that goal in December 2004.

Patrick, Mike and Timkatec 1 kids-May 2005

I think it is worthwhile to look back at this time, since the idea of The Friends of Timkatec in America was conceived and founded with the intent of financially aiding Father Simon and his Timkatec team assisting the younger, rescued street children of Timkatec 1, as it is now known. These are the children who live at the Timkatec house on Rue Deronencourt in Petion-Ville, and those that attend Primary School under Father' supervision. In 2004 here were 34 children in residence and 40 day children attending but not residing there. Today Timkatec has 45 in residence, "squeezed" in, as you will see in the photo. and 59 day children.

Patrick and Sheyla(CRS) during construction of Timkatec 2-May 2005

Construction was started in early 2005 against a backdrop of fierce civil strife. Nonetheless, although the schedule slowed, progress continued. Mike and I went down that May to see the early stages of building a and to better understand what we had taken on. We were feted like heroes, a very humbling experience. We also got to meet the CRS staff under Dula James and Sheyla Biambey. We got to know more about the Timkatec team, saw how a little money could achieve so much, and understood the great need. With our family and strong supporters, Mike Spinelli, Tom Moran, All Souls Sanford, Memphis Girl Scout Troop 3 and others,we decided that to fund the total operation of the school including teachers, midday meal, machinery, equipment and supplies.

Father Simon and Sheyla-Timklatec 2 complete-June 2006

When it opened, it was literally just cast concrete, floors, ceiling and walls. The building is about 5000 sq. feet, has 2 stories and an additional outbuilding with washrooms and showers. The courtyard was broken rocky ground with a plan to lay bricks for a safe area for students to relax, play ball and use for evening entertainment. Construction was completed in early 2006, and the Grand Opening was September 2006 with one set of morning classes, 60 students enrolled and three trades being taught. That Summer the courtyard was completed and a basketball court installed. On September 2007 the school was added 3 more trades with an afternoon set and 140 total students. The first group of students were awarded their nationally Certified Apprenticeship Certificates in Plumbing and Electrical in June 2008, as 15 graduated.

As the photos show the stages of construction you see the building rising, bare but completed, fully operational and then the courtyard and basketball court were added. Throughout we have worked closely with CRS in Haiti and HQ USA ensuring that our funds arrived safely and assisting us when we visited the school. The staff is magnificent and dedicated. Other friends such as Laidlaw have assisted with a refurbished School bus, and Royal Caribbean Cruises shipped it to Haiti. Others have assisted with shipping needed supplies. Shoes and clothing, machinery equipment and tools, many items difficult and expensive in Haiti.

Patrick and Marie Manigat with first graduates of Timkatec -June 2008

Today we have a beautiful fully equipped facility, with a wonderful dedicated Founder/Director, and full staff who change the lives of over 300 kids who once felt that their family and the world had abandoned them to the cruel streets of Port au Prince, a situation that we in the USA cannot even imagine.

The photos tell much of the story, but I also want to share some statistics about Haiti and the USA with you.

  • In the USA, we spend 5.3% of our national budget on education-in Haiti just 1%. But, USA per capita income is $48,000, in Haiti a meager $775
  • Annual US Education spending per child is $10,000 -in Haiti just $29 PER YEAR. Most Americans have 12 grades of education-in Haiti only 15% finish 6th grade
  • The literacy rate in the USA is 99%, in Haiti less than 50%
  • US junior colleges, on average, spend about $20,000 to offer 2 years of training-in Haiti the cost for 2 years at Timkatec 2 is just $550-about $60,000 annually for over 200 students
  • In the USA 15% live below the poverty line, in Haiti 85%. Haiti’s infant mortality is ten times the USA

No one asks to be born in poor countries. By comparison even in difficult times, our help has an extraordinarily positive impact on our these kids. The education we offer the homeless changes their lives forever, and eventually of their children too. In 2004, Timkatec had one facility with 40 residents and 50 day students; soon 3 Timkatec schools will educate 450 kids whose lives will change forever.

The Laidlaw bus delivery by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line-June 2006

Since 2004, the Friends have raised over $200,000, shipped a renovated school bus and another $10,000 of materials, built a Trade Training School that now has 224 students, staffed it with teachers for 7 different trades, and helped to bring a lifesaving opportunity to hundreds of young people who thought that the world and their families had forsaken them. For them, this is a living miracle. In June 2009, 40 will graduate as skilled tradespeople, versus 15 in 2008 and 60 in 2010. The Friends have funded Timkatec 2, similar groups in Europe fund Timkatec 1 and following our example, a Canadian Group, The Jasmine Foundation, is funding a similar facility, Timkatec 3, for homeless girls, opening shortly. Each mission is to educate kids to support themselves and ultimately a family.

Please be generous and donate now to continue this wonderful work. And, if you need further information, have friends who wish to join us, or visit Timkatec, feel free to call me any time.

My very best regards

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

"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.

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