We are thrilled to announce that The Joseph School will be providing Solo Bags to our students and staff! The Solo Bag is an innovative backpack designed for students without reliable access to electricity. The bag charges a reading light using solar power, so students can safely and easily study at night.
The Solo Bag was created by Haitian Entrepreneurs Mike Bellot and Torcel (Wendy) Wendianne. Bellot became determined to address Haiti’s energy crisis after the loss of his cousin in a tragic accident. Bellott’s cousin had been studying late at night when the candle he was using to study caught his house on fire, and he could not make it out in time. After this loss, Bellot became determined to make safe energy more accessible to Haitians.
In Haiti, only about 37% of the country has access to regular electricity. Electricity, when available, also represents a huge costs to families. Our student’s families, many of which live on less than two dollars per day, would have to spend 30% of their income just to charge their cell phone. Buying kerosene for lightning at night is also costly and comes with negative health affects, and using candle light can quickly become dangerous. To solve this problem and to make safe, clean energy accessible to low income Haitians, Bellot and Wendianne created the Solo Bag.
The Solo Bag is a school bag embedded with a solar panel which absorbs sunlight during daytime, The energy is stored in a battery bank that emits eco-friendly and sustainable light at night. A student could then use the light to study or do their homework at night. Solo Bags can safely illuminate a room for up to six hours. There are USB ports in the battery, which allow the user to charge their cell phone. The bags are also equipped with a GPS tracker in case they are lost. Bellot hopes that his invention will not only benefit the 63% of Haitians without electricity, but also the 1.2 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to electric power.
The Jospeh School is investing in the Solo Bag for all our students and staff starting this fall. Since we know most of our students do not have access to regular electricity, we truly believe this will help our students be safer and more successful. We are also proud to be supporting Haitian entrepreneurs as they build a better future for their country! Stay tuned to see our students receiving their very own Solo Bag this fall!
During the summer, we start to prepare for the next school year, and that includes making more uniforms! Our uniforms have changed a lot since The Joseph School started. We went from a simple white polo and khakis to a more functional, full khaki uniform for all our students. We provide shirts, skirts, shorts, and new shoes and socks to all of our students.
As some of you may know, we transitioned last year to having our uniforms entirely made in Haiti! Not only does that reduce costs of overseas shipping, but it also creates well-paying jobs in our community for Haitians. Most Haitians live on less than two dollars a day, so providing uniforms not only makes education much more accessible for families, but hiring Haitians to make uniforms is an opportunity to give back to the community.
We want to thank our generous sponsors who have quite literally put the clothes on our students’s backs, and who have made it possible for us to provide uniforms! However, we are approaching the end of the school year, and are preparing to welcome a new class of 33 students (who do not have sponsors). Having new students and students who are growing means we are in need of more uniforms!
If you would like to support our uniform campaign, click here.Any gift helps!
The school year is ending, and we at TJS would like to take a minute to reflect on all we have accomplished.
This year, we have had many struggles and difficulties relating to the political unrest in Haiti. Despite the challenges we face, we know that conditions like these are the reason The Jospeh School exists. We truly believe that leadership changes everything, and that by teaching these children today, we can change a country tomorrow. Here, we are building leaders who love without discrimination, who know the importance of fraternity and justice, and who are reflections of Jesus’s love wherever they go. We are here to help build the future, and the events of the year have only proved the need for programs like The Jospeh School.
Regardless of the circumstances, we are so proud of our students as they finish out the school year. We have had the privilege to watch as they have grown in mind, body, and spirit. Our students have worked incredibly hard to learn more about the world around them, and as they learn and grow, they get ready to enter the world and inspire change. We do not prepare students just for exams, but for the life they are called to lead as Christians and as Haitian citizens.
Although it is difficult to see today, there is a bright future waiting in Haiti. Our job is to support students while they create the future waiting for them. As our students succeed more and more, we are so excited to see the world they are going to build.
Check out their end of the year class photos below —