To provide accessible education to children worldwide, to inspire big dreams, and to provide the resources to make those dreams come true.
We believe that we can and will overcome poverty and social injustices through global access to high-quality education.
We have completed the construction of a new school in Haiti. Now, through dynamic programming, Help heal humanity facilities confidence building, skill-development and personal growth. Our partnership with Haiti provides at-risk Haitian youth with the opportunity to attend a safe school building and receive an adequate education regardless of their life circumstances. Help Heal Humanity is dedicated to providing an education for at-risk children in Haiti regardless of religious belief, political affiliation, or financial ability. In addition to serving as a school, the surrounding community will also use the site as an adult learning centre in the evenings. In this way, the entire community of Canaan in Haiti will be serviced.
For the past ten years, Founder Serena Bufalino has been privileged to work with Toronto’s most “at risk” youth. The circumstances surrounding their lives is so severe that they cannot function in a regular school setting nor can they thrive in a Special Education classroom. Instead, these youth are in treatment centres battling everything from learning disabilities, to mental health issues, severe trauma, abuse and neglect, family crises and addition problems.
In an attempt to build their self-esteem and self-worth, Serena guides her youth groups into the community where they volunteer at local shelters, soup kitchens and beyond. Through this alternative approach to education, these youth powerfully learn life skills, social skills and can develop an impressionable resume. Social activism and participation in the local community motivated these youth and energized them to give even more. They craved something bigger, something global. One day, while learning about global poverty and access to education, it was these kids – Toronto’s most at-risk and vulnerable youth- who imagined the unthinkable – that they could build a school in Haiti. The primary goal of help heal humanity is to empower youth both locally and globally by showing them they have the potential to bring about great change in their lives and the world around them.
With the help and expertise of Third World Awareness (an independent, not-for-profit organization that builds school in developing countries) Serena and her group of youth have translated these dreams into a reality. Through ongoing fundraising campaigns, yoga retreats for the charity and incredible donor support, the school construction site has already started on the grounds in Haiti.
Over 50% percent of Haiti’s population is of school age yet over half the population is illiterate (Francis 2002). As of 1992, more than 65% of the population over the age of ten had received no formal education at all, and only 8% of the population had received more than a primary education (Francis 2002). The government does not provide adequate funding for public schools and most families cannot afford the costs of private education, which can be as little as $20 a year (Francis 2002).
The efforts of Haitian governments to educate their people have not yielded remarkable results nor does education appear to be focused on the specific needs of the country. For example, there has been a tendency to focus exclusively on the formal system of education designed for the urban elites, while ignoring the fate of more than 80 percent of the population is in the countryside (Francis 2002). It is imperative to redefine the scope of Haitian education to rectify this error. Serious reform is needed in order that education becomes a true instrument of progress and development. For these reasons, Help heal humanity is setting up its grounds in the remote countryside of Haiti in an area known as Canaan.
Canaan is a small city in Haiti, located 12 kilometres north of the capital city of Port-au-Prince. This city like many others in Haiti was devastated as a result of the 2010 earthquake. In Canaan there are currently thousands of displaced Haitians living in tent structures, struggling to survive without consistent access to water, food and electricity. Because of the earthquake, the local schools were reduced to rubble.
Section 23 Student Population: The students in Toronto District Elementary – Secondary Schools (Section 23 Programs) are students who, due to the circumstances surrounding their lives are unable to be in a regular or special education class. Section 23 programs are a partnership between and amongst the Ministry of Education, the TDSB and The Ministry of Child and Youth Services.
Each program has a TDSB Special Education Teacher and an agency partner. All the students within these programs have an Individual Education Plan plus a Transition Plan to facilitate the student’s transition to a regular or special education class in a community school upon demission from the program.