Written by Silentor Esthil-Henderson, In-Country Leader in Gonavies

Greetings From Haiti:

It is with great joy that I write this evening.  I hope and pray that you find the joys in your life.

The Ileen Etoile’s Sewing Program had to take their exams today. I have been waiting for this day all week because the women in the program were presenting their hard work in the sewing/cooking class. We will do this 3 times out of the year.  They were being tested on theory as well as the actual practice. Each had to sew an outfit and had to cook a special meal. It was the talk of the week. Everyone was anxious to figure out what dish their teacher was going to give them, like it or not you, had to do it. Everyone was content and have been preparing since. Today was the big day.

They all came to the Etoile School  at 7 in the morning and they just left around 7pm. A very long day for all of them but a very successful one indeed. The Head-Teacher, Pastor and myself were to invite guest judges to give points for the clothing they sewed, as well as the meal they made. I selected parents and leaders in the community who had some knowledge about sewing and that had a  good taste-bud.

The women in their hand sewed outfits.

The women in their hand sewed outfits.


It was a great turn-out. Each one of them did a wonderful job making their outfits but the judges tried to encourage those who had minor mistake. To continue to encourage them none of the judges give them perfect scores.

Since it was an activity that everyone new about, our school yard was filled with people and kids who were interested to join, especially during the presentation of the food they cooked:).

As I watched them work hard to prepare their meals during the day, I notice a lot of obstacle they had to over come. Since we have 15 women in the program, we do not have the kitchen space for all of them to use. We currently rent our space. We are truly in need of  large kitchen space here in Haiti, especially to cook meals for our school children. Encouraged to do well, they spread on our Etoile School campus where they could find some shade and started lighting their fires to start cooking (with charcoal ). As the day went on, you could tell the sun was bothering a lot of them yet none of them was discouraged. They were all determine to show what they have learned for the last 3 months.

The meals prepared, with judges and all. Just like Top-Chef!

One of the things that these women was in need of was a stove-oven. They had to bake over fire in a pan. The teacher approached me today to share that it would be a huge blessing to the women if I could provide an stoven-oven for future projects. I pray that God will make the provisions for us to purchase a stove-oven for the women in Ileen Etoile Sewing program.

It was a blessing to have our guest judges their with us. They were very respectful and were fair on points.  After the presentation of the clothing and meal all the judges had something motivating to say. I also shared my thoughts on their hard work.

I shared to them that it is not me that made this program possible; it is our friend Ileen Zegers  who is the difference-maker in this. I told them that Ileen might not be able to come to Haiti but they truly have one of God’s Angels looking out for them. I told them that Ileen cares for the least of them and wants to see that they are empowered to be sustainable with the knowledge of sewing and cooking. This training should allow them to start their own little businesses one day. If anything, this will allow them to sew their kids clothing and cook a nice meals during special events.

I was so joyful and excited for all of them. I hope and pray for the continue success of Ileen’s Etoile Sewing program. I ask that you continue to pray for the empowerment of women here in Haiti. I also challenge you to consider supporting them financially.

Ways to help this sewing program to empower women of Haiti:

  • Visiting Haiti to teach them new sewing patterns and American meals.
  • Purchase of a stove-oven $400
  • Purchase of sewing machines: $237
  • Supporting a possible kitchen
  • Purchasing of fabrics
Click here to download a brochure and learn more about Ileen’s Etoile Sewing Program.


Do you see why I had a joyful day? We are making a difference for the women of Haiti because of your prayers and financial support.


Until next time,