Chicago Reps Visit JDC/Federation Schools in Haiti

Haitian children are grateful for the opportunity to study at one of 10 JDC-supported schools serving 2,000 in spontaneous settlements in Port-au-Prince. Photo courtesy of Lee Celano/Getty Images for JDC.
Haitian children are grateful for the opportunity to study at one of 10 JDC-supported schools serving 2,000 in spontaneous settlements in Port-au-Prince. Photo courtesy of Lee Celano/Getty Images for JDC.

David Sherman, Chairman, and Steven B. Nasatir, President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago are fresh off the plane from a 36-hour fact-finding mission in Haiti, where they saw first-hand the impact of the assistance provided by the North American Jewish community to date and explored areas for continued support to this island nation.

Sherman and Nasatir met with Haiti’s President Rene Preval and first lady Elisabeth Preval and toured Haitian relief work with Israeli officials. Two JDC-supported schools, operated by our local Haitian partner the Prodev Foundation, were a highlight of the visit.

“Just to see these smiling faces of young children back in school, in a setting with Jewish signs on the wall, makes me feel so proud to be part of our community,” Sherman said. “Prior to the earthquake many kids were not in school to begin with, so some of these children now have the opportunity to attend school for the first time in their lives. I can’t help but notice how much can be done with so little resources.”

Nasatir’s sentiments articulately echoes what JDC can’t help but feel—that our work in Haiti, supported through outstanding Federation partners like the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, is tikkun olam at its best. “I feel proud and privileged saying that we represent Jews of America,” Nasatir said. “People here understand the involvement and contribution and the energy that we and our partner organizations have brought to the rebuilding of Haiti. Whether it’s standing in front of a second-grade classroom or speaking directly with president or the prime minister, that’s a theme that’s very strong and important.”

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