Dispatches from the Haiti Innovation Hub: Day 2

Our second day in Haiti has just come to a close, and it was wonderful. We spent the full day at the Hub with the Young Women Leaders doing LitClub and LitCamp training.

This was my second time doing trainings for the Young Women Leaders, but my first time visiting the Innovation Hub. It was wonderful to see how at home everyone feels in the space. Nadine and Pascale greeted us along with 20 young women leaders. All the young women were so relaxed, having fun and laughing and all of them greeted us with hugs and "bonjour!" There were many familiar faces, but many new ones as well.

It's wonderful to see just how much the LitWorld culture has passed on to these women as they have spent more and more time together. As we gathered for our community building portion of the day, the women led us in song, singing "Hey There Ladies" and the "Hello Song" with beautiful harmonies and energy. We taught them Read Along in Creole and they loved it.

The LitClub training was a great success. We did a whole LitClub session with them, and afterwards they asked the most insightful questions, from working with kids with low literacy to classroom management skills. We are so grateful to have our board member, Nicole Nakashian, with us again (her second visit to the Haiti Hub). Nicole led a one hour leadership presentation about how you need Community, Clarity of Purpose, Courage and Confidence to be truly successful.

The young women were rapt as they listened to Nicole's advice and afterwards asked many questions about how to achieve their dreams of becoming a chemist, a teacher, a minister, while being surrounded by naysayers, oftentimes from their own families. Nicole reminded them that these people are often discouraging because of love for you, but also fear that you will fail, and even though they are in your community, they do not have to be in your head. You will fail, she said, most people do, but keep trying. Surround yourself with people who you now have your best interests in mind, and remember that tearing down is so much easier than building up, so keep building.

After a delicious lunch by Maria, the woman who runs vocational skills workshops for HIV positive women, we gathered with the 6 women who will be our LitCamp co-counselors tomorrow. We taught them about the importance of camp and then went through the activities we'll be running. Many of them volunteered to lead the activities themselves tomorrow! They are a wonderful group, some LitClub leaders, some not, but all enthusiastic, warm and willing to learn and teach.

We can't wait for tomorrow. 30 kids ranging from ages 8-20 will arrive at the Hub at 8:30, and with that the first Haiti LitCamp will begin!

--Yaya Yuan, LitWorld's Innovation Developer