Students are far more likely to succeed academically when they have stability in their home lives.
According to a study at California State University, students who reported food insecurity, the fear of homelessness, or both, often experienced physical and mental challenges that resulted lower academic achievement.
This is why we place as equal an importance on our students lives outside the classroom walls as what's happening within them. Our Community Center is at the heart of those services, giving our students a place to study and relax.
Wadeloveson Smith is one of our sponsored students. He joined our program after his father passed away and his family could no longer afford his tuition. Wadeloveson is currently in the 5th grade and and has a GPA of 8.5, which is the equivalent of a B+ on the Haitian grade scale.
Last week, Wadeloveson was sent home from school because his uniform was stained and he didn't have a clean one. Given that children play and the dusty climate of many of our student's homes and commutes, uniforms often get dirty.
We didn't want Wadeloveson's education to be constantly interrupted because of this. Our program manager, Joissaint, purchased new school uniforms (along with other household items that Wadeloveson needed) and had them tailored.
We want to ensure that no child's education suffers because of something so minor as a dirty uniform. Which is why we constantly check in with our students and are committed to providing them with the resources they need so they can focus on their studies.
At Clean Hands for Haiti, we like to think of ourselves as a family. We look out for each other and most importantly, for our students, on a day to day basis. Founder Ray Abellard's mother still lives in Port au Prince and has taken an active role with our students. She has Wadeloveson over to her house every day to ensure that he has at least one hearty meal before bed.
Augustin “Sama” Youdianie has been a sponsored student of Clean Hands for Haiti since 2014 and one was of our first students.
She has been one of our brightest students from day one, studying very hard to achieve good grades and helping tutor and support her younger brother who is also a student in our program. In 2018, Sama became one of our first graduating students, receiving her high school diploma.
CLH did a lot for me. If it was not for CLH, I would not be where I am today. My parents do not have the means nor funds to pay for my school. CLH has totally changed my life, hence I am working so hard so I can be a model student for CLH. CLH is in my heart and I am very grateful.
She had plans to go to university when she discovered two large masses in her right breast. On August 3, 2018, after many tests and doctors visits, Sama underwent surgery to have the masses removed.
Thankfully, the surgery was successful and the specimen was later taken to a laboratory and came back negative for cancer. Many children in Haiti are unable to afford proper screening, which is why we place such an important emphasis on regular checkups having access to healthcare.
In the fall of 2018, Sama enrolled in one of the most prestigious English institutes in Haiti, Institut Haïtiano-Americain, to learn English, and starts university in 2019. We are so proud of her and look forward to watching her bright future!
Samuel Cene is our first sponsored student to graduate college, receiving his engineering degree in December 2018.
Samuel is a leader is his community and is passionate about using his education and skills to serve his country and help everyone around him.
He is part of several social endeavors that are helping to develop his local community, including leading a local community based organization for three years that he helped create.
Samuel is the ideal student, dedicated to his studies, willing to persevere through hardship and difficulties, and is dedicated to supporting those around him.
At the 2018 Formal Dinner to honor our students, Samuel read a moving speech about what being a part of Clean Hands for Haiti has meant to him. At the time, he was still a student, working hard with two semesters left until reaching his engineering degree.
Clean Hands for Haiti helped me build my life, provided me with the possibility to complete my studies, when I was stuck and was on the verge of dropping out of school due to lack of funds. Today, because of the program, I am almost done with my engineering degree. Therefore, CLH is my life. I will always be grateful to CLH.
Hello there, and welcome! I'm Lexi Namer, photographer & communications manager, and wanted to kick things off by telling my story of getting involved with Clean Hands for Haiti.
In 2013, I met founders Ray Abellard and Andre Murray in a small coffeeshop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I was a freelance photographer and web designer and had been doing some work for them on their youth sports organization, A&M Sports Academy.
We started talking about this new project they had started in Haiti. After the 2010 earthquake, they started donating barrels of supplies to help support the local community in Ray's hometown of Port au Prince.
It had only been three years, but the project had taken off and they were now providing educational scholarships and building the program which would become Clean Hands for Haiti. Although Ray grew up in Haiti and had been back many times, Dre had never been, and they were planning a trip to Port au Prince for the following spring.
Now at this point, I had only met Ray and Dre a couple of times, but I remember being so engrossed by their passion for this project and their commitment to these students that I immediately asked if they had any need for a photographer?
Just a few months later, in May 2014, after sorting out all the logistics, the three of us flew from JFK to Port au Prince. It was a whirlwind trip, filled with 18 hour days and tons of learning about where to take the organization next.
Ray and Dre spent the entire trip listening to and learning from everyone they encountered. We met some of our crew in Haiti who would wind up being longterm staff members, vital to the organization's success and operation. And I spent the week documenting, humbled that these students and their families would open their homes to me and my camera.
At the time, nearly 6 years ago, I had no idea how important of a role these kids and this organization would play in my life.
Working with Clean Hands for Haiti and getting to spend time with our students year after year is one of the greatest privileges of my life. When I first met many of them, they were 12 years old, and I have watched them grow up to be incredible young adults, succeeding in the face of great hardships.
I have seen Clean Hands for Haiti grow from the mere dreams of Ray and Dre on that first trip to a continually growing organization filled with unbelievably awesome people.
While creating this website, I was reminded of all that this organization has accomplished in less than a decade, from building a community center to starting multiple social services initiatives.
I am so beyond proud of everything this team has achieved, and it would be impossible without people like you. So thank you, thank you, thank you. For visiting this site, for learning about our mission and students, and for considering joining us.