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children's literacy

I have a special connection with Haiti, as I’ve written before on Mamiverse. I also have a soft spot for anyone who supports literacy. That´s why when I heard about a new non-profit organization to help children in Haiti read in English or Haitian Creole, I wanted to find out more about it.

Over 50% of school aged children in Haiti, averaging well over 1.3 million, do not have access to an education. Less than half the population of Haiti can read and write, and Haiti has the lowest enrollment rate for primary education in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti needs the support of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Organizations to provide support in mending the Haitian education gap.

The woman behind Mancy’s Haitian Folktale Collection, Inc., a non-profit launched to support literacy in Haiti is Mireille  B. Lauture, PhD. Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Lauture migrated to the United States in 1973 and now lives in South Florida. She holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Doctorate degree in Educational Psychology from Walden University. She recently released a series of bilingual books that are aimed toward children. These books can be read in English or  Haitian Creole and serve as practicing tools for learning either language. Additionally, each story not only entertains, but educates and instills moral values on various life lessons that children can relate to in any culture.

Lauture started her non-profit in order to reach out to even more children than she now does through her books. Her goal is to launch a fundraising event that will create an alliance with benefactors who will support literacy for children from Haiti and elsewhere. Through tax deductible donations of those benefactors, her bilingual books can be distributed to needy children in orphanages in the U.S. and abroad, starting with Haiti.

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Childhood experiences sparked Lauture’s desire to help today’s underprivileged children learn to love reading. During her childhood years in Haiti, folktales were orally passed on from generation to generation. At that time, Haitian Creole was only a spoken language, which means that none of those stories could be documented with their authenticity in literature. When Haitian Creole became a full-fledged language with syntax and grammar, Lauture decided to record some of the stories that her mom used to narrate during her childhood years and pass them on to the next generation. Her goal is to contribute to the language development of children around the world by translating her books into different languages.

Lauture´s bilingual books are written for children aged 4 to 10 years. Her first, Bobo, chen odasye a / Bobo, the sneaky dog speaks of this dog betrayed by a cat. “We all know that dogs and cats do not get along. So this story tells the reader the reason which spoiled the friendship between these two characters,” Lauture says. Her second book, Pè Mizè / Father Misery is an amazing story of Father Misery, a living man since the beginning of time.

“The book goes back to ancient times to explain how Father Misery escaped death still remaining a human and being the oldest living thing on earth. This mystery clings to our Haitian culture and the folklore of our ancestors,” says Lauture.

As for the third, Gade yon kado Remi jwenn / Remi’s magical gift, it is a Haitian cultural myth. A trip in the woods that leads to a surprising outcome for Rémi, yet so different from his friend’s  who wanted to emulate him. The last two, Loulou gason vanyan / Loulou, the brave and Konpè Kochon pran nan mera / The Suspicious Pig are narratives that sail between humor, intelligence and bravery. “All these stories are carriers of messages to children of any culture,” concludes Lauture.

People interested in supporting and donating can do so at Mancy’s Haitian Folktale Collection, Inc. To receive updates, Like their Facebook Page.