Since 2011, in the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake, Storyteller Laura Simms has supported a group of adolescent girls living in a camp in Port au Prince. They meet for support and safety, to write poetry, and to dance. These determined girls have met twice a week for more than two years. They ward off hopelessness, humiliation and danger daily by mutual support, creative disciplines and sharing their stories with one another.
Living in a camp leaves them vulnerable. Girls are the most at risk for disease and sexual abuse in Haiti. The conditions in which they survive are increasingly unsanitary and insecure. They are asking for help and continued support for programs that bring them joy, dignity and an opportunity to heal.
Girls Write Haiti offers them an opportunity to help themselves and their families. Powerful women's organizations and donors in the US and Canada are committed to offer funds to continue their endeavor, and, most importantly, to train them in leadership, fiscal literacy, health education, and to become a self-sustainable girl's group.
"Do not abandon us," they wrote to Laura recently. Let's not abandon them.
Funding will provide on the ground training, ongoing classes and workshops, notebooks, school clothes and a girls-only safe tent. Additionally, funds will be used to facilitate meetings with other girls groups in the area to create a support system outside the camp.
Our eyes are turning to new disasters all the time. Why fund a small group of girls? This group is on the brink of womanhood. They can become strong voices for intelligent and compassionate change in their fragile community, and in their country. I believe in them. They are already making a difference.”
Our funding is a small step that will have major ramifications for their futures. May the blessings of this season's love and generosity extend throughout the world.
Girls Write Haiti is a program designed and directed by Laura Simms in collaboration with The Bond Street Theatre Coalition, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation. Laura Simms is an internationally acclaimed storyteller, author and humanitarian working worldwide for compassionate action. The Bond Street Theater was founded to create innovative theatre works that are relevant and accessible to diverse audiences by using a physical performance vocabulary that can communicate across lingual and cultural borders. Together: they illuminate social, spiritual, political, and environmental themes with wit and eloquence; further intercultural understanding by participating in and initiating community arts projects in a wide range of communities globally; and insinuate collaborations, exchanges, and creative associations with artists and organizations around the world.
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