By Aiden Rodriguez ’16
As many kids are going to hit the beaches and get summer jobs, Hornet Thalilaa Charles ’17 chose to spend her summer spreading her personal values of helping out by giving back to those less fortunate. She is going to her home country to help her people get some necessary care.
Thalilaa is a first generation American whose parents are still close to Haiti.
“My parents are always mentioning Haiti so I felt compelled to go and help,” said Charles. “The purpose of the trip is to provide healthcare and education to a Haitian population that desperately needs it. Kids who have never gone to a doctor and women who have never received female medical care. I’m doing this because I want to give back to my country. I grew up learning to always give back and I’ve always helped to send care packages to Haiti when my grandfather went to visit, but I have never been able to help in person. This is my opportunity to be a part of this program and provide hands-on assistance. I hope to assist those in the women’s clinic and learn more about the struggles of my country.”
She won’t just be a random person helping either; she will be one of the most important ones going on the trip.
As one of the two fluent Creole speakers attending the trip Talilaa will be in high demand. “One of my roles will be to act as a bridge between the culture and language barriers brought upon by the different backgrounds of the Haitian population and the American volunteers,” said Charles. “As a non-medical volunteer for Blessback Worldwide, my primary job will include re-roofing buildings, teaching personal hygiene and English classes to people, building a library in an orphanage, making improvements to local school facilities,” said Charles.
According to Thalilaa, every year an organization called Blessback Worldwide in a ministry partnership with Mission of Hope International to set up trips into developing or damaged countries. This specific trip will include her and 22 other medical and non-medical professionals will help run a day camp for the children in Haitian neighborhoods allowing the mothers to attend beauty workshops. Within these workshops women are able to have a day in which they are the focus.
This isn’t a cheap trip either. Thalilaa has chosen to ask for donations to lessen the impact of her humanitarian journey on her parents.
“The cost of the trip is $2,000 and so far I have received $400 in donations from numerous teachers and family members,” said Charles. “My goal is to raise as much money as possible so my parents won’t have to pay for me to go.”
If you would like to donate to help with the cost, you may donate online at http://blessbackworldwide.org/sponsor-a-blessback-trip/. Click on donate and after entering all the required information click on coments under “purpose/bless back worldwide and enter “Thaliaa Charles – July 2015 Trip to Haiti.” Check and cash donations can also be given to Thalilaa personally.
The trip is planned for the week of July 18 to July 25. She will be staying in the southern region of Grand Goave on a camp for missionary workers.