[Soud, the |ou| pronounced like in sous or food, means 'deaf' in Haitian Creole]
Heavily influenced by Canadian rock band, Arcade Fire, and the opportunity to take a summer off of school, I came across the Haiti Deaf Academy after a nearly never-ending search for volunteer programs. I am hard of hearing myself, so the word 'deaf' immediately caught my attention. In June 2016, I arrived at the Academy's home without knowing that my experience there would change my life forever.
After the 2010 Earthquake, 600+ modest three-room tin-roof houses were built in a rural area outside of Port-au-Prince for displaced Haitians. Over 160 deaf families moved in, and within a short period, Leveque became a rich and supportive community. Kathryn Montoya and Margaret Spratlin were two dedicated volunteers who arrived in Haiti shortly after the construction of the housing complex. Their main focus was to help the deaf in Haiti settle down in their new communities. Over time, the deaf adults in the Haitian communities asked Montoya and Spratlin for help in creating education opportunities for the deaf children in their community. After a lot of collaboration and enthusiasm, the Haiti Deaf Academy was born.
The Academy's home where the children live, is in Cabaret, and the school is in Leveque, nearly seven miles away. To get to school ever day, the children must ride a tap-tap (taxi) up-hill on an unpaved and very bumpy road -- think Disneyland's Indiana Jones attraction -- to attend school daily. While there are dorms on site, they are overcrowded, with nearly 54 children living in two moderate sized houses. Limited resources has made it impossible for the Haiti Deaf Academy to offer education beyond the 5th grade. To address the increasing needs of the children, Haiti Deaf Academy has made plans to expand on Leveque grounds (more info here & here). This expansion will create larger dorms, a hearing and health clinic, a community center and eventually the first sign language based secondary school in Haiti. The new facilities will also allow for the expansion of vocational training opportunities, which will drastically increase employment potential and in turn, guarantee independence -what should be everyone's right.
The five course dinner for 24 guests, will take place at the community cooking school, 18 Reasons, in San Francisco, California.
The gluten-free menu will consist of Haitian components with a focus on quality ingredients coming from local businesses within the Bay Area.
For tickets, please visit the store or click below.
All proceeds from this event will go towards the Haiti Deaf Academy's mission to grow.
For inquires or donations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
all the guests participating in the dinner
Sarah Nelson - Executive Director | 18 Reasons
Jesus Mendoza - CEO | Best Express Foods
Lorena C. - Founder + Floral Designer | Home Sweet Flowers
Dani Phoenix - ASL Interpreter Volunteer | Ohlone College
Vero Kherian - Food Blogger + Photographer | Miss Cheesemonger
Professor Maura Nolan | UC Berkeley
Daniel Mendoza - Creative Director | Best Express Foods
Shokoofeh Rajabzadeh - PhD Candidate | UC Berkeley
Evelyn Mendoza - Freelance Videographer + Editor
Chef Sanaz Ebriani
Carlos Garcia - La Bamba
Betty Atanasu - Disabled Student's Program | UC Berkeley
don't know who I am? click here to visit my about page