December 2008 Friends of Timkatec News


When I contacted you last Christmas, economic conditions were fairly stable in Haiti. As the poorest country in this hemisphere, Haiti always suffers the most in economic downturns. However, in 2008 four catastrophic hurricanes hit Haiti causing 500 deaths, making tens of thousands of homeless and ruining 70% of rice the harvest, their basic food. And now costs for food and fuel are the highest in decades.

They are really suffering. Haitians always live day to day, but now it is much harder. Father Simon has advised that the Timkatec food costs are now 33% more than planned, way over our original budget. Certainly everyone here is feeling the current recession, but our Haitian friends are fighting for their survival. Florida was hit by one of the storms and it was hard-Haiti by all four. The Haitian terrain with mountains and valleys means that these inundations cause huge floods, which the deforested lands are unable to contain. The result is shown below

Streets are impassible for vehicles so people wade or swim searching for food and drinking water

But there is positive news. I attended the first graduation at Timkatec 2, the school that the Friends built in Haiti. Through a most difficult period 15 kids managed to complete 2 years training to get State diplomas as Plumbers and Electricians. It was an emotional and fulfilling moment with 400 guests attending. With only 15% of Haitians finishing 6 grades of Primary education, their success was a major cause for celebration. Please help us to continue this vital work

The first Graduates of Timkatec 2, June 25, 2008

Your past sacrifice and donations helped change lives for the future. As Good Samaritans, you “crossed the road” to help former street kids, the ” homeless and hopeless”. You will probably never meet them, but they will never forget their Friends in America. We now have 225 enrolled, up from 60 in September 2006 and 163 September this year. Father Simon tells me that many more have enrolled because Timkatec provides a midday meal. So now we have more students and higher per capita costs. The Friends have committed to raising the increased $64,000 budget needed to operate this school year. About $285 per student annually changes their lives forever. We are truly making a difference.

Timkatec also had 40 resident and 52 day students at Timkatec 1, the first place they go from the streets. And, in Haiti, the “streets” mean, no shelter, imminent, great danger and no worldly goods of any kind. That is hard for us to imagine-yet some of these kids are 6 years old when first rescued. The lucky ones will then go from Timkatec 1 to Timkatec 2 our project, if they qualify.

The Friends of Timkatec are my friends and family, and many others with their networks, schools Scout troops and places of worship. Particular thanks go to Father Richard Trout, Mike Spinelli, Tom Moran, Ernie Reyes and others too numerous to mention whose donations and constant involvement have made this dream come true for Father Simon.

100% of all tax-deductible donations go to Father, working through Catholic Relief Services in Haiti on distribution and support. I am asking you to help us by making a donation this Christmas. Please tell your friends as well so that we can increase our number of supporters. For those outside the USA, please send me your checks made out to Catholic Relief Services-Timkatec.

Your support is the essential Christmas message of goodwill to all. Please help Timkatec.

Thank you and Merry Christmas

Patrick J. O'Shea
Friends of Timkatec in America

Previous Newsletters are on archived on the Newsletter page.

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 first became aware of Timkatec through an Orlando Sentinal article in March 2004 stressing the Haiti problems and chaos following the departure from Haiti 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 the abandoned street children of Haiti, deeply touched me and I decided to learn more.

After some difficulties I was able to contact Father Joseph and shortly afterwards received photographs, blueprints, and other documents describing his charges, his mission at Timkatec, 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 5 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 –bunk beds and shelves for clothes. But, safe and dry, with food daily, an education and firm direction by Father Simon and 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, we have been most blessed with the unstinting support of our friends Mike Spinelli and Tom Moran and families, CRS-Baltimore and the CRS Haiti staff, and my parish of All Souls, Sanford. That support has to date reached over $130,000, sent to Haiti through CRS with 100% delivered to Timkatec. We now have a new 5000 Square foot school, Timkatec 2 with a team of dedicated teachers and facilities for 200 students. PLUS, an expansion at Timkatec 1 from 34 dormitory places to 50. It is rare to see so much impact on so many lives for such a relatively small investment.

In the following pages, you will find more information regarding Timkatec 1and 2,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, his mission. You will find on the donation page how you also can assist with a tax deductible donation for this worthy cause. We have arranged for 100% of our donations to be forwarded to Father Simon through our partner, Catholic Relief Services. Please feel free to contact me directly for further information.

Thank you,

Patrick O'Shea

"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