Who We Are

Educating children, empowering a whole community.

PHILOSOPHY

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

— Gen. George Patton

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GSI Haiti

Established in 1988 by Haitian national, Mr. Abner Noza, GSI Haiti is a 501c(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide basic education and community development support to the people of Fond des Blancs, Haiti. GSI’s primary focus is operating Gethsemane School, an academic center for children in grades pre K-6.


Fond des Blancs, Haiti

The rural town of Fond des Blancs is located about 120 kilometers southwest of Port-au-Prince. Although the majority of its 50,000 residents are agricultural farmers, many of the children are malnourished due to a lack of diverse nutrient sources and proper healthcare. As a result of this chronic health issue and an often inability to pay, the nearest medical facility 40 minutes away provides little relief to those living there. With the only two public schools in the region ten kilometers away from Gethsemane School and limited in their enrollment capacity, obtaining a proper primary education is just as elusive as healthcare.THE 3 WAYS TO


STRENGTHEN HOPE IN HAITI

The three ways to strengthen hope are to be intentional, practical, and exponential in the direction of your passion.


OUR PASSION

GSI Haiti has been brining a hope to Haiti for over 25 years. If you could spend a day with the teachers, the volunteers, and of course the children… if we could spend a day together walking the grounds of GSI’s primary school, you would see a beautiful picture of hope that would change the way you think about hope.

Through passionate teachers and dedicated volunteers, GSI has built sustainable momentum toward developing and educating the community Fond des Blancs, Haiti.


THE FOCUS

Children First Approach

GSI’s focus has always been developing the community of Fond des Blancs by prioritizing the education, health, and well-being of its children. Low-cost, high-impact programs have made it possible for many children living in poverty to have opportunities, holistic care, education, food, clothing, and mentors that they would not have otherwise.




Children’s Education

Gethsemane School

“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

— Martin Luther King Jr


In 1977, GSI’s founder, Abner Noza, had a dream to give back to the small village area where he grew up, particularly to feed & educate the children. Reflecting on the opportunity & blessing he had experienced since moving to more developed countries, he felt compelled to be a blessing to others. He envisioned a place where kids would have a fighting chance to climb out of their humble circumstances and into a place of real opportunity. Shortly after, he opened up Gethsemane Primary School in the mountainous village area in Fond des Blancs not too far from the house he grew up in as a child.


Since its opening in 1988, Gethsemane School has educated well over 2,000 students averaging 200 a year. From kindergarten through 6th grade, students experience a warm, safe environment that has also continually grown in academic excellence each year. See below for some comparative highlights when measured against the rest of Haiti’s education system …

Our student to teacher classroom ratio of 25:1 is around half the national average (at 46:1)

· Almost 9 out of 10 students finish our primary school, whereas at most only 2/3 of other Haitian students make it through this level In 2012, 93% of our children — a steady improvement over the years – passed the national exam that allows them to enter high school, compared to just 66% nationally, Of those who continue in high school half of Gethsemane School students will graduate, which is double the average Haitian high school rate of only 25%


With a yearly enrollment average of over 200 students, Gethsemane School has served an impressive 2,000 children since its doors first opened nearly 25 years ago. The school has proudly committed to educating children regardless of their age, religion, or family’s ability to pay. In addition to providing its students with a nationally recognized education, Gethsemane School distributes clothing and school supplies, funds all qualifying and interested students to attend high school, and has a free school lunch program which developed through a partnership with Catholic Relief Services. The lunches provided through this program represent the largest meal of the day for most students, as well as job creation for women in the community who prepare the food.




















Our Challenges

Though we strive to (and succeed at!) providing our kids with a great education, the situation is not entirely ideal. Imagine attending a school where there is no library, no extracurricular activities, and no access to any computers for the sake of learning. Try then to also picture that same school with no electricity, a single outhouse for over 250 students and staff, half the classes learning in makeshift, tent-like structures, and the other half meeting in a single large classroom with only a sheet to divide them. This is where we’re at for the moment!

“Behind the mountain, there are mountains.”

— Haitian Proverb


Since the earthquake of 2010 and through subsequent tropical storms we’ve been in the repair & meeting basic needs stage of development, as our structures have been damaged a few times over and funding priorities have had to shift. We are now stabilized, though, and in an exciting new expansion phase that we want you to be a part of! Please browse our “join us” pages to get an idea of the types of activities to which we’d like to introduce our students, and how you can help!


Student Scholarships

Because our school only educates up to the 6th grade, we made a commitment years ago to sponsor about 30 of our kids who go on to high school in the form of scholarships. Though it’s not been an easy promise to keep financially, it is an investment we’ve found to be well worth it! It has reaped dividends in the form of children who’ve gone on to greater all-around success in life and especially for those who’ve returned to Fond des Blancs to make a difference.


Our Philosophies

A Vision for the Future

While GSI programs are currently operational, additional funding is needed to help build a new facility that would improve the overall academic environment and increase enrollment capacity. The current facility is composed of several reinforced cinderblock structures and unstable, temporary roofs. The foundation for a new two-story, 19-classroom building has been laid, but funding is needed to complete it. There are plans to operate a low-cost community clinic out of the new structure as well. With hundreds of families in the area who could directly benefit from such a facility, the project is of extreme importance to the community

.

In addition to providing educational services to children, GSI is committed to promoting sustainable community development in Fond des Blancs. In this vein, GSI is currently exploring partnership opportunities with both local and international organizations to introduce such highly-valued community services as agricultural development support and improved access to clean water. If you are interested in partnering with GSI to realize its vision of sustainable community development in Fond des Blancs, please contact us and/or donate today


Contact Us Concept

Adult Program

Guided Group Play

Electrician

Program

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Talk to us

301-933-6194 - OFFICE

240-898-6253 - MOBILE



ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAM

Within the past 5 years, GSI has recently initiated a few new adult vocational programs in the Fond des Blancs community. The idea is to help them gain economic independence and to strengthen community & family life through the skills and principles learned in our classes. Adult Education Program. We believe it’s never too late to obtain a basic education. Whether it’s to broaden one’s job prospects or for basic self-improvement, we see communities strengthened when all its members have a shared sense of the value & practicality of formal education. Our class offers the following to all enrolled:


· Reading & Writing

· Math

· Business Skills

· Individual Learning & Group Activities


Picture the pride of fathers who are now able to help their kids with homework, working mothers who won’t have trouble carrying out basic transactions and keeping records for their small business, and the elderly who will now be able to read stories to children in the village or feel more empowered to use their vast life experience to take a more active role in community development.

These are fantastic opportunities to potentially discover new leaders who previously had no real forum to demonstrate their capabilities or voice their ideas on the future direction the community should take … but now they do.If you are thankful for the simple gift of being able to read to your child, donate today to help enable another parent to do the same.


“If I know something and my classmate doesn’t, then I show them how. If I don’t know something and he does, he shows me how.”

— Adult Education Student


Electrician Program

Within the past 5 years, GSI has recently initiated a few new adult vocational programs in the Fond des Blancs community. The idea is to help them gain economic independence and to strengthen community & family life through the skills and principles learned in our classes.

Electrician Program

“There’s no craft that will not feed the craftsman.”

— Haitian Proverb


We also recently started an electrician’s course (which will also teach principles of construction in the coming year) for many in the community who are interested in pursuing this trade of the future. As Haiti continues to develop its infrastructure, it will need more skilled workers for construction and maintenance. Because of great demand, this course has also branched into two classes.

Each student begins as a novice and is trained toward achieving certification. In the interim as they gain more skills, students may have the opportunity to work on GSI-sponsored community development projects for which they’ll also be compensated. Along the way, we’ll also be working with them to develop business skills to complement their technical training for seeking out & building on other opportunities they find for themselves when they’re on their own. At the end of the course, we hope to be able to link our skilled graduates with employment opportunities.

For the ones taking this course, this is truly a life-changing opportunity GSI is offering them. If hearing about this inspires you, consider getting involved financially or professionally.


THE FOCUS

Children First Approach


GSI’s focus has always been developing the community of Fond des Blancs by prioritizing the education, health, and well-being of its children. Low-cost, high-impact programs have made it possible for many children living in poverty to have opportunities, holistic care, education, food, clothing, and mentors that they would not have otherwise.

Our “children first” approach to development emphasizes long-term sustainability on the individual and community-wide levels.

MEASURING HOPE

Since its opening in 1988, Gethsemane School has:

· Educated well over 2,000 students

· Average 200 students a year

· Kindergarten through 6th grade students experience a warm, safe environment growing in academic excellence each year

· Our student to teacher classroom ratio of 25:1; almost half the national average at 46:1

· Nearly 9 of 10 students finish primary school supplanting the national average of only 2/3 of other Haitian students achieving the same level

· In 2012, 93% of our children passed the national exam that allows them to enter high school compared to just 66% nationally

· Of those who continue in high school half of Gethsemane School students will graduate;

which is double the average Haitian high school rate of only 25%


THE CHALLENGE

Though we strive (and succeed) to provide our kids with a great education, the situation is not entirely ideal.

Imagine…

· no library

· no extracurricular activities

· and no access to any computers for the sake of learning

Picture…

· no electricity

· a single outhouse for over 250 students and staff

· half the classes learning in makeshift, tent-like structures

· and the other half meeting in a single large classroom with only a sheet to divide them

This is where we’re at for the moment!


“You will be my witnesses to the end of the earth”Acts 1:8


In the main classroom of the school meets Gethsemane Church, a gathering of believers worshiping together now for as long as GSI has had roots in the community. We’ve grown over the years in both faith and number, and have big plans to do so much more for the Kingdom! For more on our beliefs, CLICK HERE.


When our new school building goes up, we’ll also be raising money for a church building right next to it that will accommodate hundreds. It will additionally function as a senior community center and conference space for events like ministry leadership seminars and public meetings – truly a sanctuary in many ways.


Our Ministry Vision:

Grow the Church by building disciples

You can’t get more Biblical than that! Before Christ departed, he had this very command for His people (Mt. 28:18-20). Well, He called and we’re joyfully obeying. By His strength, here’s how GSI has been carrying out this vision in FDB:

Faithfully fellowshipping and growing as a body through the years, despite not having a modern or even comfortable facility to meet in

Integrating gospel opportunities into the activities of our school children and their families

Developing new, young ministry leaders from within the congregation

Supporting other smaller, rural churches with physical resources, financial support, and encouragement

How You Can Contribute


Though they always make do with what little resources they have in the most impressive ways, the church made these requests while our US team was recently visiting:


Music instruments for the service & community events (currently borrowing)

A louder voice to draw those from the mountain to join them in worship (Mt. 5:14-16) – via a new speaker system that’ll carry sounds of praise deep into the community

Bibles in the people’s language so they can learn more about and draw closer to God

Sending interested members to Bible College with the goal of starting churches locally


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The Great Smiles Vision

We see our students as lifelong learners who seek knowledge at whatever stage of life they're in. And as a nonprofit, we support students from all walks of life.


Clinic

“And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”

— Erica Jong

A need that’s been on our heart for years has been having our own local center for basic health care. Our goal is to open one when our school building is finished. There is a fantastic regional hospital that we partner with in a number of areas (donating medical supplies to them and having them assist us in teacher training and coordination of future visiting medical teams), but often barriers of affordability, distance, transport logistics, timely care, etc., for many of our people make it impractical for all but the more essential medical situations. So, often the community will just ignore their symptoms or illness until their condition is chronic or critical.

As a general advocate for the community, we believe that early detection and preventative care all throughout are just as important as having available those extensive resources and life-saving procedures at crucial stages that bigger facilities are known for. As such, our goal is to lower the barrier and afford the same kinds of basic care opportunities one would expect in more developed countries.

· annual medical checkups

· prenatal care for expecting mothers

· access to medication & supplies if required

· community health seminars

Our primary focus: First and foremost will be our school kids and their immediate families, as these are the ones we’ve all along felt called to invest in. The children are at the heart of what GSI does, and they will always be the center of our attention. Almost as much, though, we envision this by and large to be a community clinic, where our neighbors can come for prevention education and medical relief.

Lend your medical expertise!

If you have medical experience and want to advise our team here or come to Haiti with us as part of a team next year to explore the possibilities, contact us.

Green Initiatives


In an area where there is little infrastructure, GSI has had to seek out alternative solutions that help overcome the resulting deficiencies. They also happen to be ones that work with the environment instead of against it. We do this more out of necessity, but are very happy to be able to introduce clean technology solutions to those modernity challenges that face this community we’re working with. We want our kids to learn that keeping Haiti clean via these development methods is not only an effective answer to what ails them, but also has the added benefits of maintaining fresh air & water and will go a long way towards building on their country’s tourism foundation. The following are both current and future projects:

· Solar panels, strips, street lamps, and even filtering systems for clean water and electricity

· Composting project for our student garden

· Rain catchment & filtering system to cut down on plastic bottles so prolific throughout Haiti

· Tree planting project which our students will help drive forward

· Farming best practices that will stave off topsoil erosion and produce more & better crops

· Redemption Glassworks project that transforms old wine bottles into practical drinking glasses and sold to support our other programs. See our Facebook page for more on this Washington, DC-based project.

… and many others in the development stage. Stay tuned!


OUR ASK

Since the earthquake of 2010 and through subsequent tropical storms we’ve been in the ���repair & meeting basic needs” stage of development as our structures have been damaged a few times over and funding priorities have had to shift.

We are now stabilized, though, and in an exciting new expansion phase that we want you to be a part of!

Join us in being intentional, practical, and exponential. Most people may not be able to do all three – that’s ok. If you can join us in one area we can build hope together.

Will you be 1 of 1000 for Haiti?


PRACTICAL

We ask that if possible and practical you consider a donation. Our goal is to reach $10,000 by the end of July.

Math is practical -right? A donation of $10 from 1,000 individuals will allow us to:

1. Finish construction of two greatly needed indoor classrooms

2. Cover teachers salaries

3. Repair damaged desks

4. Aquire school supplies

Will you be 1 of 1000 for Haiti?

EXPONENTIAL

We ask that you consider sharing this article in your social media circles. We cannot reach everyone, but with your help, our combined reach is enough.

Share this article with the line: I AM #1of1000forHaiti

Will you be 1 of 1000 for Haiti?

INTENTIONAL


We have asked a lot – being practical and exponential will be a tremendous help.

Not everyone can do al three. Again, your help in just one area will make an impact.

But… if you can. If you want to try… join us in being intentional in prayer each day throughout the month of July.

Pray for this message to reach the hearts of those who have the means to help out financially. Pray for our teachers, students, and volunteers. And, pray that others around the world would join us in passionate prayerful, sustainable support as we move forward together bringing strengthened hope to Fond des Blancs, Haiti. If prayer is not your thing, please offer your thoughts, ideas, and well-wishes on this ambitious campaign in the comments below.

Will you be 1 of 1000 for Haiti?

Thank you for your consideration.

Pastor Noza, Josh, Krista, and the rest of the GSI Haiti volunteers








Meet the Team

Rev. Abner Noza

founder & President

THE PROJECT HAS BECOME REALITY


"Righteousness exalts a nation." (Pr.14: 34).


It is with a joyful heart that I have the pleasure of summarizing for you the realization of my childhood

dream. I was driven to create a program to educate disadvantaged children in Haiti. This program is called

Gethsemane Scholarship Institution of Fond des Blancs Haiti (GSIFDBH).

Is there a simpler, smaller, more insignificant or dependent being than a new born? The kingdom of God

says, it may seem insignificant, but it carries with it an infinite potential.

"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government will be upon his shoulder, he shall be

called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace." (Es.9: 5) This Bible

passage explains how some things, that initially seem insignificant, can become profoundly important to

us.


Several passages in the Bible shows us that the man who worries less about what would become of him,

but instead put his life in the hands of Jesus is blessed beyond measure. Many do not realize that God can

make miracles out of the small things.

• A simple stick held by Moses parted the Red Sea.

• A simple mustard seed could deflect a tree where birds nest.

• A grain of salt could transform the taste of a dish.

• A small amount of yeast can rise a whole loaf of bread.

• Five loaves and two fish were enough to feed a hungry crowd.


Gethsemane Scholarship Institution of Fond des Blancs Haiti has seen 36 years of existence and was

founded August 23, 1988, by committee of seven (7) members including myself. During these 36 years,

we had in Haiti the difficult responsibility to implement an education program for disadvantaged children.

We spent a lot of energy of this Project, we also spent an equal amount of money that was never enough

to accomplish our goals.

Since the start of the program; 36 years has passed. However, the branches of this small tree have grown

and spread over the area of Fond des Blancs and began providing more resources to the inhabitants of the

community.


EDUCATION


Education is the bread that provide instruction for the physical and spiritual growth formation and

development of a human being.


CIVIC


Civic duty is the art of education that prompts the development and faculty prerogative of civil, political,

social and religious citizens in society.


During the end of the earthly ministry of Jesus. He gave the great commission to His disciples. He

commanded them with the following:

"All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name

of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely

I am with you always until the end of the world. "(Mat.28:18-b-20). Today, Jesus can still transform the

lives of men. Let us act quickly to advance education in our country.

U.S.-Based Consulting


On this page, you’ll find a LOT of ways in which you can lend your experience to benefit the people of Fond des Blancs during one or more of our two team trips each year. If you are interested in any of these opportunities, or have an area of expertise that you think could help but is not listed here, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you!

Short-Term Opportunities

We are looking to undertake a number of new projects and roll out our programs in a bigger way this coming year, so we need plenty of volunteers to support these shorter assignments both here & in Haiti. Might you be one of them?

Our short-term US-based opportunities are largely centered on research and/or fundraising activities. Please contact us if you are interested in providing research or fundraising in the following program areas:

· education in Haiti

· Haiti agriculture

· small and medium enterprise development

· program monitoring and evaluation

· international donors to Haiti

· organizational development

Long-Term Opportunities

We have some roles that are ongoing and will always require filling. Plugging in with us doesn’t lock you in for the long haul and there’s no expectation that you’d serve alongside us for any longer than you’re willing or able.

“Service…is not something to do in your spare time, it is the very purpose of life.”

— Marian Wright Edelman

Do you have an interest in making an international impact, but simply aren’t available to travel? We have a number of volunteer positions available here in the States and many that can even be filled right in the comfort of your own home. We’d love to hear from you if any of the below descriptions pique your interest. If you have relevant skills that don’t quite fit any of these positions, please reach out! All opportunities require at least a high school degree, though we may be able to arrange work for students in need of service hours.

Any of these positions may be formalized as internships, which will provide you the opportunity to represent GSI at networking and/or fundraising events, set mutally agreed-upon hours, and work on your own schedule.

+ONLINE MEDIA COORDINATOR

+GRANTS COORDINATOR

+CHURCH OUTREACH COORDINATOR

+TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

+CORPORATE RELATIONS COORDINATOR

+DIASPORA OUTREACH COORDINATOR

+FUNDRAISING EVENTS COORDINATOR

Haiti-Based Consulting


On this page, you’ll find many different ways in which you can lend your experience to benefit the people of Fond des Blancs during one or more of our two team trips each year. If you are interested in any of these opportunities, or have an area of expertise that you think could help but is not listed here, please let us know.

Is your student group interested in planning a trip to Haiti? Visit this page to learn more about how our student group trip options add valuable leadership development, language & cultural awareness and service to any high school or university program.

Long-Term Opportunities


We have no long-term opportunities in Haiti at this time.

Short-Term Opportunities


Ever thought of making an impact in the lives of people from a different country not as fortunate as you, but maybe don’t have months or years of your own life to give to that effort? Do you have both the desire and background experience to lead a project or team in a third world setting (and don’t mind using part or all of your vacation time to do so)? Have the patience, sense of humor, adaptability, and communication skills often needed to thrive in a different culture than your own? If this sounds like you, then read on!

“You can impress people from a distance. You can impact people only from up close.”

— Will Richert

We schedule our biggest trips in the month of August, but will also put some together at other times of the year depending upon the projects we’re working on and the teams we’re able to assemble. We’re even open


Get in touch with us.

Mailing Address

2708 HARDY AVENUE, SILVERSPRING, MD - 20904

OFFICE

301-933-6194

Donate Button Icon

Phone Number

240-898-6253

Hello Friends of GSIHaiti!


Greetings, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ! I hope this letter finds you and your family well. We, on behalf of GSIHaiti, would like to extend a message of gratitude for your generosity. Because of your help, the GSI school continues to make an impact in our community in Fond des Blanc, Haiti.

In a measure of gratitude, we would like to extend an invitation for you to join us for a banquet on Saturday, April 27th at 5:30pm at Northwest Community Church 4100 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20011.

This gathering will be an opportunity for you, a friend and supporter of GSIHaiti, to enjoy catered Haitian cuisine, view Haitian art, and hear a brief lecture about Haitian culture. We will also be sharing some exciting updates about GSIHaiti.


Thank you again for partnering with us in this effort. You are welcome to view our website at gsihaiti.org. You may RSVP by replying to this message before Monday April 1st or you may call Abner Noza at (240)898-6253. For any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.


In Christ,

~Abner Noza


Values Statement


GSI will operate only in a way that is in alignment with our faith beliefs and is culturally, environmentally, communally, and ethically responsible. Our enduring aim is to equip and empower those we work alongside so as not to create dependency for we recognize the innate capacity of any hardworking community that has resolved to lift itself out of its inadequate living conditions with our assistance. We will support and work with the local people regardless of their age, religion, mental capacity, or social status.


We are pleased to partner with these organizations in Haiti and in the United States:


The St. Boniface Haiti Foundation strives to improve life for the poor of Haiti by facilitating access to quality, affordable health care, educational opportunities and community development programs. GSI has donated life-saving medical supplies to St. Boniface Hospital and Gethsemane Elementary School’s Vice Principal serves as St. Boniface’s community liaison.


The mission of Haiti Projects is to empower women in rural Haiti to lift themselves out of poverty, become self-sufficient and build community. GSI’s partnership with Haiti Projects heavily consists of knowledge- and resource-sharing. Contribute to GSI’s uniform fund, and we will purchase school uniforms from the talented Haiti Projects Artisanat.


You will find GSI Haiti represented at the Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring, MD once a month selling paintings, hats, necklaces, serving trays and more…all handmade by Haitian artists. Check out our “photos” page to see these talented artists at work. You can also purchase drinking glasses and candleholders made from old wine bottles through our DC-based social enterprise venture, Redemption Glassworks.


GSI Haiti has partnered with Red Relief Fund based in Lawrenceville, NJ to raise funds for Gethsemane School’s urgently needed building. Red Relief Fund’s relationship-oriented approach to service is reflected in the penpal program between Gethsemane Elementary School and Lawrenceville School’s advanced French class.



The mission of the ABPsi DC Metro Area Student Circle is to unite and empower black psychology students in the DC metropolitan area under the fundamental principles ABPsi, and the African spirit. As part of its mission, ABPsi DC has committed to empowering the community of Fond des Blancs by raising funds and awareness.