By G. Michael Dobbs
ELLINGTON, Conn. – A purchase of fine handcrafted items could be more than just a holiday gift – it will also be a way to support a school in Haiti.
Kloter Farms, 216 West Road, will be the location for a special two-day sale that will benefit the Centre Lumière – “Center of Light” – a school in Haiti for women.
According to the school’s website, it was founded in 1977 by German missionary Luise Schurer and has more than 120 students at one time.
Jason Kloter, a partner in the business, said the Christian school trains women in sewing, cooking, health care, embroidery and Bible. The vocational skills give each student the skills to make a living.
Kloter said he has been to the school in Haiti and was familiar with the work the staff does before he was asked to host the sale.
He said that walking into the school is “like walking into a different planet” compared to the city it is in, which still suffers from damage caused by the 2010 earthquake. The school is an all-volunteer effort, he added.
“The skills serve them for a significant time to support their families,” Kloter explained.
He added, “All of the work is incredible … it is very high quality at very fair prices with no middle man.”
The sale will be Nov. 22 from noon to 8 p.m. and Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The items include 18” doll clothing, accessory cases, tote bags, clothing, linens, purses and aprons.
The type of impact the school has on its students is illustrated in a testimonial from one of the students: “My home place is Boujoile, a small village near Centre Lumière. As is true for many Haitian families, my parents could not afford to pay for my education. At age 23, I married Elysee, who is a carpenter and farmer. Soon we had two children and though he tried, Elysee could not make enough money to support our family.
“In 1981, I heard about the self-help project of Centre Lumière that provides work for women. I talked with Madame Schurer and was accepted into the program.
“What a blessing Centre Lumière has been for us. Through the work provided by the Centre, I am able to be the main provider for my family. I am now 49 and my husband is now 55. We have six children: Claudin, age 26; Mari Lucie, age 24, is married, has one child and is pregnant; Bob Lucson, age 22; Roseluse, age 20; Joam, age 18; Wilkeneson, age 16.
“Although Elysee and I did not have the opportunity to finish school, we have high hopes for our children that their dreams can be realized. It’s a miracle to see how successful my children have been, not because we have a lot of money, but because God has provided. Haiti is such a challenging country and many parents cannot help their children at all, creating an endless cycle of poverty. The ministry of Centre Lumière is creating a generational change for our family. Our family has been blessed not only from an economic perspective, but spiritually as well. All of our children claim faith in God and trust in him for the daily challenges of life. For example, in 2003, our son attending school in Port-au-Prince became very sick and could not continue. He visited many doctors and hospitals, but they could not find a solution for him. We prayed continually for him. Though others around us encouraged us to see a witch doctor for a ‘magical’ treatment, our trust was in God that help could be found. Finally, the right medication was found and our son is now healed and back in school completing his studies. We thank God for how He has provided in so many ways for our family.
“I wish that I could personally thank everyone who has made possible the operation of Centre Lumière. The self-help project provides hope and a future for so many women and girls. We learn how to work with our hands so we can help our families financially, and also learn of the love and grace of God and how He is the great provider. Through this mission, my whole family has been blessed financially and spiritually. I appreciate the work, and thank God for his patience and love He gives to us. May God bless all of you who have contributed to this ministry.”
For more information on the school, go to www.centrelumiere.org