'I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I should do and, with the help of God, I will do.' ~ Edward Everett Hale

2018 Friends of Borgne Update!

Posted: April 24th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Newsletter | Tags: | No Comments »

Friends of Borgne


The work of Friends of Borgne, Inc. consists of supporting education in Borgne, Haiti. It is a worthy endeavor because about 50% of primary school age children in Haiti aren’t enrolled in school. One-third of Haitian girls over the age of six never attend school. Many families in Haiti earn less in one year than the cost of school tuition. We share the goals of peace, justice, and mercy. It is our greatest hope that these students will help their country have the kind of government and services that these beautiful people so richly deserve.

This year Friends of Borgne (FOB) is sponsoring over 40 primary and secondary children from the town of Borgne, selected by their neighbors because of their families‘ need. Our sponsorship consists of tuition, books, uniforms, shoes, and backpacks. Each student is also provided with a nourishing meal each day. Friends of Borgne also gives tuition scholarships to 25 children who live in rural areas outside of Borgne. In the past, help has been given in the form of partial tuition, uniforms, books, and shoes for other members of the community experiencing urgent school needs.


Friends of Borgne


In addition to the scholarships, FOB was instrumental in reopening the Wesleyan School in Borgne that had been closed for three years by paying the salaries of 6 teachers and a director. This made it possible for the school to reopen and also for students to pay reduced tuition ($6 per year instead of $40.)This enables over 100 more students to go to school.

FOB send funds for the construction of Petite Riviere School in 2012 at the request of the community and teachers (who agreed to work without salary if we could help them to build the school). The students used to have to walk more than two hours to school and make dangerous river crossings. One student drowned. Once the school was built (the teachers worked for no money during that time), we began to pay for 7 teachers and a director for that school as well, thus enabling another 100 +/- children to get an education at a much reduced cost.

In 2016, the best middle school in Borgne was going to close because of lack of funds – Frere Andre Catholic Middle School. Thanks to three very generous people from Spiritus providing $8000 to bridge the budget gap, that school is still open and flourishing.


Friends of Borgne


The Band Program is a joy to Borgne. FOB gathered musical instruments from the Honeoye Falls and Rochester area and got them into excellent condition. They were hand-carried to Borgne by FOB member Sarah Brownell and her students from RIT. The Scouts in Borgne were the ones who advocated for this program. When the instruments arrived, the entire town gathered in front of the church where the instruments were displayed. The priest blessed the instruments , speeches were given and everyone was so happy that Borgne would finally have a band. FOB paid for music teachers to come from Cap Haitian. Within less than 5 months, the students could play their instruments and play together! This program is now in the third generation using the “each one, teach one” model. The group plays for all celebrations, weddings, funerals and they even earn money some of the time. They just celebrated an anniversary of the band. It is still an ongoing treasure!

The Sewing Center was established to provide vocational education. In 2016 it trained its third class of students. A grant from The Naples Council on World Affairs of $5000 in 2011 enabled the purchase of 10 treadle sewing machines which are still in excellent condition, covered with tarps when the roof has blown off a couple of times. FOB pays for sewing teacher salaries and supplies. The “graduates” will be helping to make the uniforms for the students when they return to school in September,.. They also made the awesome uniforms for the band! This past year, the sewing program was discontinued because our program director was in prison. He was found completely innocent after a year. It was tough to keep things going without him, but he helped his grown son take care of many things. The sewing machines are in need of repair and we are hoping to get that program up and running again very soon.


Friends of Borgne


Another wonderful initiative is the Traveling Librarian. He rides a donkey from school to school bringing beautifully illustrated books in Kreyol. He stays overnight so the children can take the books home. They have taken excellent care of the books. FOB was able to add to the library in 2016 thanks to a grant from the Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation. He first started using a horse. The horse died. Then a donor provided funds and he got a donkey which was great because the donkey enabled him to get to even more remote areas with his beautiful books. Sadly, we got word recently that the donkey fell and died. We will get another so this program can continue! “Behind the mountains, there are more mountains!”

In addition to the books from the Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, FOB was able to purchase 10 laptop computers which were loaded with software in French thanks to Joel Lissade and other board members, and delivered by RIT students to Borgne. FOB has paid for computer instruction. There is a high demand for computer skills and internet access (which they don’t have yet). FOB would like to get satellite internet, but it is costly — a goal. It will open up the world and also provide information for teachers.

The newest program, the Pig Husbandry Program, is off to a start thanks to a tithe specifically for this from St. John of Rochester. The money will provide the purchase of piglets and training for the students who will be raising them. The agreement is that when a student’s pig has a litter, (s)he will give one piglet to another student thus keeping the program going. We have had to put this program on hold for this year, but we are trying to get it up and running as soon as possible.

FOB rents a Foundation Building which is the hub of the activities. The sewing machines, the computers, the music lessons, a television set, and a generator are all there. It is also where the children on scholarship have their meal each day and return after school for tutoring and visiting. It is a gathering place for meetings as well. We had to send money for repairs. Hurricanes and flooding take their toll in Borgne. Unexpected expenses arise from time to time.

Looking back over the years, FOB has also helped with other short term projects.

  • After the earthquake, FOB helped 600 children to finish their school year.
  • When cholera became a problem, FOB paid for megaphones and people to drive around warning people to boil their water.
  • Scholarship students took a field trip to the Dominican Republic which was very exciting. Most had never been on a bus before and none had been to another country.
  • It seems as if there are always weather related repairs needed. FOB has paid for many roof repairs needed after hurricanes.

The people in Borgne who make this all happen are truly heroic. They keep going in spite of continuous problems. “We pray for them. They pray for us. We love each other. We are so privileged to have this opportunity to make a difference.”


Friends of Borgne’s sources of funding are grassroots! Judy Conley, Sue Whalen and Joan Haviland send letters each August to everyone in their address books telling them about this opportunity to help the poorest of the poor. Our board members are most generous as are their friends and families. In the past, we have received small grants from The Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation ($3095) and also from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation ($3000 – thanks to Spiritus parishioner Roger Gardner who as past director can give a grant to a nonprofit of his choice).

We have received tithes from St. John of Rochester and Spiritus Christi. FOB members working in conjunction with Honeoye Falls/Borgne Sister Cities which they helped to establish have had three fundraising events — an ornament sale, a Pasta Buffet, a Mardi Gras carnival and a “Beyond Brunch for Borgne”. Each of these events has raised some funds, but they also raised the consciousness of so many about Borgne.


FOB doesn’t have an annual budget as such because we never know how much will be donated. Rather, we have priorities.

  • Scholarships for the poorest of the poor
  • Food for the scholarship students
  • School teacher/director salaries
  • Librarian
  • Band/Computer/Sewing/ and Animal Husbandry program

Fall 2011

Posted: September 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Newsletter | Tags: , | Comments Off on Fall 2011

Fall 2011

We like the quote from Edward Everett Hale, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Fall 2011

Dear Friends of the Children in Borgne,

Hasn’t it been a glorious summer? Where we live near Rochester, NY, the sun has been shining on us almost every day! Borgne, Haiti, is a very sunny place, too, thanks to all of you. This is the time of year when we think of the children who will be going back to school both here and there. I can still remember as a child feeling sad about summer ending, but I was also very excited about a new year. For us now, it is an opportunity to give from our bounty to help those who have so little. We who have had the opportunity to get an education know what a blessing it is and welcome a chance to pay it forward to help children who would never be able to go to school without our help. We don’t get into fundraising and grant writing (usually). We simply ask the people we know to help and you have — so generously. On behalf of the children in Borgne, we thank you with all our hearts.

Here’s what’s going on, thanks to your donations to Friends of Borgne, Inc.

Scholarship students – 56 of them – are beginning their 4th year of school. We have a deep commitment to these children to see them through until they finish. The children in the village need $125 per year because they books, shoes, uniforms, and backpacks. The children in the rural area need only $25 per year because they don’t wear uniforms. All 50 children were selected by their neighborhoods – children whose families receive no outside money from relatives living elsewhere.

The Food Program – Each day the children on scholarship in the village get a meal.  Rice and beans are the staples.  Hungry children have a hard time learning. This program costs $800 per month. We buy all the food locally which helps the vendors and we pay a small salary to the dedicated cooks who are up before first light to make the fire and start the water boiling.

The Wesleyan School – This school closed because there was no money to pay the teachers. There is no public education in Haiti. So, we were able to reopen the school by hiring three teachers @ $500 per year. We add a grade a year. This year it’s 5th grade.  The families of the children who attend this school only have to pay $6 per year for their children to attend.

The Traveling Library – We have a horse, a guide, a librarian and beautiful books written in Kreyol. The librarian goes from school to school, neighborhood to neighborhood, sharing literacy with children and adults.  This costs $100 per month.

The Sewing Center – Thanks to a grant from the Naples Council on World Affairs we will be opening a Sewing Center this fall in a room at the top of the Foundation Building which we rent. It is equipped with 10 treadle sewing machines (no electricity) and two teachers. Young adults who want to learn a marketable skill will get training here. We learned about this from Debbie Doyle who helped us every step of the way.

Cholera Education Program – We were able to buy megaphones and send teachers into the countryside to warn the people about the danger of contracting  cholera, how to prevent it, and what to do if they got it. We were able to act quickly and effectively.

Here are some of the other things that people have done this past year.

  • Two churches in the Rochester area selected us to be part of  their tithing programs and made very generous donations.
  • At the Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Bryn Mawr, PA, each grade is adopting a child to send to school.  They are in it for the long haul, too.  When the senior class graduates, the incoming freshmen will take over.  Because of them we were able to add 4 more children to the scholarship program.
  • Emily, a college student in Rochester, went to Haiti and met a child that she felt called to sponsor.  She finds a way to come up not only with his tuition of $125 for the year, but also for his food which is almost $300 per year.
  • When our teacher friend Ann turned 70 years old, her friends had a luncheon and donated to Friends of Borgne in her honor.
  • When Marie turned 100 years old, her daughters asked family members and friends to donate to Friends of Borgne to celebrate this occasion.
  • Several friends of Judy, a member of our board, donate money when they pray to St. Anthony for help finding something.  When they find whatever they have lost — which they always do — a donation is made to Friends of Borgne…I love that one!
  • Sarah and Kevin held a chicken dinner and raised over $2000 for us.
  • Diana and her friends raised over $1000 for a special donation for a soccer program in Borgne.
  • We have a couple of families who decided to forego Christmas gifts since everyone had everything they need, and instead they donated what they would have spent to the children who have literally no things.
  • Our school children sold bracelets and donated the proceeds to the children in Haiti.
  • A lady who works at the Village Hall in Honeoye Falls made beautiful dresses for the  little girls and women in Borgne.
  • Our local soccer association sent lots of shirts and cleats.  A local church donated beautiful religious goods which they weren’t using any more.
  • Two people do an automatic bill pay online and give the same amount each month.

All of you  donated to Friends of Borgne to make it happen.  It’s difficult to get things to Borgne.  We can’t send them because of the decimated infrastructure. The Assistant Mayor who visited us this summer was able to take these things back, but the best way for us to help is to wire funds which they use there to get the programs up and running.

A very exciting event occurred this summer!  Honeoye Falls and Borgne became Sister Cities.  The Assistant Mayor of Borgne was here for the formal ceremony which took place in Harry Allen Park during the intermission of the Village Days band concert.  The national anthems of both countries were sung and both mayors spoke.  Ben, a video expert high school student, recorded the event.  Check it out at http://vimeo.com/27391507. We have a wonderful committee which is helping with this connection.

You can also check our website at www.friendsofborgne.org which is there because of another volunteer! Good things are happening! So, if we get discouraged from time to time with things going on in our country and the world, we can remember that there are ways to make it better!

So we are asking that you be one who continues do something to help with this effort. A recent study showed what we intuitively know — that consuming material things doesn’t lead to long term happiness, giving to others does!  The Assistant Mayor and his Foundation in Borgne get no salaries nor does anyone here.  We are all volunteers and guarantee that every cent donated goes to the programs.  We pay for postage, brochures, and our own travel. Speaking of travel, I am planning to visit Borgne in November. I’ll give you an update after that.

Our niece Amy has this quote on Facebook….

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Ghandi

There are many ways to serve.  This is one!  Check out the photos of the “library” and children!

School starts soon!  Please help!  What a great gift an education is!   Tax deductible donations can be sent to

Friends of Borgne, Inc.
PO Box 486
Honeoye Falls, NY 14472

Holiday Newsletter

Posted: January 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Newsletter | Tags: | No Comments »

Friends of Borgne Holiday Newsletter

Friends of Borgne Holiday Newsletter

Friends of Borgne Holiday Newsletter

Friends of Borgne Holiday Newsletter