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Learning Through Arts and Friendly Exchange

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The 4th annual Camp d’éte du soleil at Bibliothèque du Soleil was a smashing success. Sandy Antoine, who has led the summer camp program since 2006, was confident of the library’s continued annual success. In fact, along with the help of Linsey Edouard and Elisabeth Etienne, Antoine began leading with songs and poetry readings with a group of about fifteen children at the beginning of the camp, which ended up growing to 59 registered children. As per usual, the summer camp received guest specialists in theater, music, and art. Puppet and mask artists took the opportunity to show the children how to do Papier Maché. The skilled experience of the camp’s leaders allowed everything to flow smoothly throughout the program.

The children of the summer camp were happy to welcome a visit from about fifteen professors and students of the University of California campuses. The engineers of the university group took the opportunity to discuss how to reconstruct the fragile area with a Haitian engineering firm, who has already laid out plans for the construction of a standardized library.

One of the most inspiring outings of Camp d’éte du Soleil was the childrens’ field trip to the Acra grounds on Delmas 32, where more than 26,000 homeless people are living. Facilitated by Dr. Tony Hoffman, an American psychologist and lecturer at UC Santa Cruz who had begun to work with these displaced people immediately after the earthquake, Stephanie and by the American Relief Committee (ARC) international security team at the homeless city, the outing of August 27th 2010 will remain clear in the memories of both the children of Delmas and the community of Carrefour-Feuilles. “This is the first time we’ve had Haitians come visit,” confirmed one coordinator of the tent city who provided a very warm welcome to the children of the summer camp. “Usually there are only representatives from NGOs who come to see us here.” The children from the tent city and the summer camp children did an exchange, and the camp kids got to see the different sections organized throughout the tent city: the medical area, the children’s area, and the security area, for example. After singing and playing together, the children were sad to leave the tent city and took group photos in their yellow and red camp T-shirts at the Champ de Mars in front of the National Pantheon and National Palace.

exchange by skits

The end of camp activities took place on Sunday September 12th. The entire courtyard was filled with parents and children. The space had new life again, dazzling with color and rustling with palpable joy. 250 people! That number even surpassed the number of people that were at Frankétienne’s conference in 2008 at the library. The summer camp children showed their talent on stage through a fashion show, dance, comedy, poetry and song. The children of Bureau de Doléances sociales also participated. Led by the artistic direction of Jean Robert Jean Louis, they performed at the height of their game with songs about Port-au-Prince and the Morne l’Hôpital.

The celebration began at 11:30am and lasted until about 4pm. The joy on the parents’ faces and in the children's eyes as they left with their gifts seemed to say, “Time flies too quickly at Summer Camp.”

Moments of silence were observed in memory of Sherley Yolande Félix, Sénécharles Berline, and Lukvensia Zamor, regulars of the summer camp who died under the rubble of their own homes during the January 12th earthquake. One young camper who responded correctly to the question of when the Bibliothèque du Soleil was inaugurated was also awarded a special prize.

The leaders of the library give thanks to our sponsors: Haiti Soleil, Center for Black Studies Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, FOKAL, Irene S. Scully Family Foundation and Direct Relief International, as well as individual donors like Sherley Turenne and Carine Fabius, director of a Haitian art gallery in California, all of whom gave so much support during this warm August reunion.

To view photos of the 2010 Camp d'ete du soleil activities go to:

Pierre A. Clitandre, Director of Bibliothèque du Soleil


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"There is nothing so pleasing as the sound of children playing, bantering, and singing while learning. This is the powerful noise one hears standing at the gates of Bibliothèque du Soleil. Amidst the rubble in Carrefour-Feuilles, there are the sounds of clapping hands, running, yelling, recitations, glee, the excitement of children solving problems and finding answers. Children are back to their studies, discovering the wonders of literacy, learning about themselves and their world. This is what their parents have prioritized for the children: lives among ruined houses, with little food, water or sanitation, at least the children are going to the Bibliothèque. The parents hold on to their dignity, and a chance to rebuild their lives, because the children are in hot pursuit of knowledge for themselves and their families."


"Even in the Bibliothèque there is devastation and chaos, broken ceilings, hanging wires, collapsed rafters, and leaning walls. Reconstruction of the buildings in Carrefour-Feuilles is going quite slowly; this neighborhood in particular seems forgotten by the aid agencies. For the world’s newspapers, the pictures of the rubble signify that Haiti’s reconstruction efforts are stalled; but reconstruction will neither begin nor end with rubble removal programs and new buildings. For the children who come to the Bibliothèque, reconstruction began when their spirits were lifted in story, art and narrative. Reconstruction began when children returned to play and explore. Reconstruction continued when musicians came to sing about hope, safety, and the new Haiti. Reconstruction continues when the children in the Bibliothèque join hands and support children in other neighborhoods, with children living in displacement camps and in the streets. This is reconstruction of the person, of the spirit, of Haiti’s cultural well-being, and it continues every day in programs like Bibliothèque du soleil."

Dr. Tony Hoffman, University of California, Santa Cruz

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WHY I GIVE: "It was such a pleasure for me to visit some of the activities of Camp d'ete du Soleil program at Bibliothèque du Soleil during my short stay in Haiti. I was really impressed with the fact that the Bibliothèque du Soleil children were taken to a tent city camp to meet with children who live in one of the largest tent zones in Haiti. These children who live in tents in “Camp Accra” got to meet other children who were directly or indirectly affected by the devastating earthquake of January 12th. This meeting allowed both groups to learn about sympathy and to better understand a situation that affected the whole country."

"I choose to support Haiti Soleil for the work that the organization does with the children in the summer camp program, the library and the new psycho-social program at Biwo Doleyans Sosyal. These programs, I feel, will help build a stronger Haiti where children have access to books and information without having to pay for it. This is also great for the community in which the library is placed because the people are now accustomed to a new style of life. Adults and children participate in literacy activities, free readings, workshops, film series, and conferences that are organized, hosted, or sponsored by the library. Haiti Soleil has taught me that there is a chance to build Haiti, one community at a time. Supporting Haiti Soleil is like supporting my dream of a better, literate Haiti where children and adults have access to knowledge. Such an organization allows people to make conscious decisions to improve their communities by using the help provided by friends and other donors." Sherly Turenne, San Francisco, California


Matching Grant Challenge: We are in the home stretch of The Irene S. Scully Family Foundation matching grant challenge offer. If we can raise $25,000 by January 12th, 2011, the foundation will generously match the funds. We're close, but we need your help. Won't you consider hosting a house party or fundraiser to bring us closer to our goal? House parties are great way to both raise money and spread the word about Haiti Soleil. If you'd like tips or ideas for hosting one, contact us and we'll get you started. For instance, why not throw a holiday party where instead of a gift exchange, money is raised for Haiti Soleil? There is a Haitian proverb that goes, "Men anpil chay pa lou" which translates to: Many hands make the load lighter. This year, give a hand to Haiti.

Reconstruction Phase: Can we build it? As Bob the Builder would say, "Yes, we can!" As you can imagine, there are numerous obstacles to getting anything built in Haiti right now. But we know that the will of the people is strong and by working together (with a healthy dose of patience) we will accomplish our goals. We are in the initial phases of constructing the library and we're working with librarians, architects and contractors to build a modern, safe and exciting space. We'll be keeping you informed every step of the way so be sure to check our website for updates and pictures. We will build it- and they will come!

To learn more about Haiti Soleil, please visit our website at
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