HAITI — Andrea Schikowsky is shown with some of
the children she helped care for this summer at an orphanage run by
Living in orphanage
a new experience
By Frank Flegel
SHAUNOVAN, Sask. —
Haiti is still recovering from the devastating earthquake that struck
this impoverished country in January 2010. but thanks to the efforts
of 27-year-old Andrea Schikowsky children in at least one orphanage
are a getting a little better care.
“We had an experience
that no one else had yet experienced,” she said.
Schikowsky is from Regina and is starting her teaching career in this
southwest Saskatchewan community with a new education degree obtained
this year from the University of Regina. She and her friend Alexa Gossard
from Cabri, Sask. travelled to Jacmel, Haiti in August and lived and
worked for three weeks in an orphanage.
“Living in the orphanage
was something no one had done,” she said.
The orphanage is part of
Lifeline Haiti, an organization started in June 2007 by Bob Davisson
of Medicine Hat, Alta. Davisson was visiting the Dominican Republic,
which shares the island of Hispanola with Haiti, and decided to visit
Haiti. That was in 2005.
“He had never been
involved in humanitarian work and was appalled at the conditions he
saw,” said Schikowsky, adding that he “founded Lifeline
Haiti to help the children.”
Davisson, who had resigned
from the RCMP after 15 years of service and opened a MacDonald’s
franchise in Swift Current, retired from that business to establish
Lifeline Haiti. The organization built and operates two schools in Haiti
and has several others in development, as well as the Jacmel orphanage.
The orphanage is populated by 30 children ranging in age from six months
to 14 years and cared for by four in-house nannies.
“We expected the children would be cared for by Canadian standards,”
said Schikowsky, “but that wasn’t the case at all. So we
kind of took charge, changed and enforced the rules and took care of
these children properly.”
When they returned to Canada they informed Davisson of what they had
done and were assured that changes would be made.
“The children are now much better off than they were.”
Schikowsky said some of the children had lost their parents through
the earthquake, but others were there because their parents were unable
to care for them prior to the earthquake.
Besides caring for the children, the two women taught English at a nearby
school. “Communication was a little difficult with the children
because they spoke Creole but we began reading to them every night and
did some teaching English for them as well.
Schikowsky and Gossard paid their own way to Haiti as well as paying
for their accommodations in the form of donations to Lifeline Haiti.
This was not her first humanitarian experience. Schikowsky spent part
of last summer in Ghana working in a school there.
“The trip was really a positive experience and I believe God sent
me to a place that needed me.”She said she expects to return to
Jacmel in the summer of 2011.