Thursday, March 27, 2014

Caribbean Idyll

Too often, we image Haiti as a desperately poor place in need of development. It is that, surely, but it is so much more!  Haiti is a country of stunning beauty: Caribbean beaches, palm trees, mangoes in abundance, mountains upon mountains, abundant rains alternating with dazzling sunlight, colors upon sun-dappled colors.... And most of all: warm,welcoming people. 
Next week MBB staff and several board members will be in Haiti to learn from the people how MBB might best expand our investing in the women and girls there.Wishing you could be with us!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pillowcase Beauties

St Bakhita Primary School has seen a surge in enrollments because of families fleeing violence in other parts of South Sudan. Some of the new arrivals are recent orphans from the fighting; all are displaced. MBB provides nearly the entire annual operating budget for the school. In addition, several dozen lucky young girls received these charming pillowcase dresses, lovingly made by seamstresses in the US and carried to the school by Sr Marilyn in 2013. For these girls who've already suffered so many losses, getting a brand new colorful dress is cause for rejoicing! They're ready for a fashion show!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Can You Multiply by 300,000 ?

What would you see if you multiplied this scene by 300,000?  The number of South Sudanese people --nearly a million, most of them women and children-- displaced by the rebel movement that tried to oust the government in December and which continues to ravage villages. That fighting has now devolved into ethnic revenge killings; it shows no signs of abating.
The devastation is too huge for us to grasp. But look at this one young mother with her children: her house burnt; her husband missing; no shelter; little food. Can you multiply by 300,000?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Really Lucky and Really Bright

Rural Haiti looks a lot like this: multi-generational families in simple, often-overcrowded stone houses with thatched roofing. Girls who are lucky attend primary school to 6th grade.  After that, the vast majority have no way to continue with formal education. They become farmers, vendors, or restaveks (children placed in others' homes as domestic servants).
Girls who are really lucky and really bright become MBB Scholars, supported through high school and beyond.  A scholarship is a life-changing development for the whole family, a chance to break the cycle of grinding poverty. $300/year: that's all it takes to give Benase Pascal, the MBB Scholar shown here in the school uniform with her family, a brighter future!