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Niagara donates $50,000 to Pazapa centre Haiti

plan Canada(November 8, 2010)

Niagara Region has donated $50,000 to the Pazapa Centre for children with disabilities in Haiti. Nine days after the earthquake of January 2010 that devastated parts of Haiti, the regional council decided to dedicate the amount of $50,000.

Rather than donate to any relief organization and immediately forget about the gesture, the council wanted to be part of a larger gesture to assist the people of Haiti. A staff-working group explored a number of partnership opportunities and ultimately narrowed its discussion to an initiative already established and supported by Niagara volunteers.

The decision was made to support the Pazapa Center for kids with disabilities in Jacmel-Haiti. Peter Partington, regional chair said “the initiative is to use the initial support as a catalyst to a greater community involvement."

“We are inviting others in the community, school boards other area municipalities, community agencies and local businesses step up and see how they can participate in the project.”

Since established in 1987 Pazapa has helped more than 1800 children. Pazapa means “step by step” in Haitian Creole. The region is in partnership with Plan Canada International Incs and the Canadian Association Step by Step.

Two additional donations were received for the Pazapa center. The Haitians of Niagara Region donated $1073.00 and the Canadian Step by Step donated $5000. Canada Association Step by Step was formed about 4 years ago to help children with disabilities in Haiti. Dr David Julley of Canada Step by Step presented the check on behalf of his agency.

Maxene Prohete of Haitians of Niagara Region said the donation was part of the proceeds of a benefit concert staged by music talents in the community.

The Mayor of the Town of Fort Erie, Doug Martin noted that the gateway town is home to many new arrivals in Canada including the Haitians. He expressed thanks to all the stakeholders, the multicultural center of Fort Erie and organizations that have made it easier to settle newcomers in the area.

Leanne Nicolle, Director Corporate Development Plan International Canada Inc said there was an urgent need to assist the most vulnerable of the population following the earthquake that devastated the area.

The Pazapa project will provide a permanent structure that will include 4 classes that will each host 35 students, a computer room a canteen and kitchen, two blocks of sanitation facilities and an administrative block.

Candianstepbystep

Donation pazapa

(Story and photo by Edward Akinwunmi)

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