Upper Iowa University students Gina Hoffman and Britney Quaale
holding Venia, the Haitian child the Collegian sponsors through the
Partners in Development (PID) program. Both women write for
the UIU newspaper, The Collegian. At right is the cover of the book.
FAYETTE, Iowa (October 12, 2011)—Two Upper Iowa University professors recently accompanied nine UIU students on a second service-learning trip to Haiti in as many years. Upon their return, Dr. Eric Eller, associate professor of international business, and Dr. Katrina McNeely Farren-Eller, assistant professor of English, compiled photos and essays written by the UIU students about their experiences in Haiti. All proceeds from sales of the self-published book, "To Haiti with Love," will go to support children in the Partners in Development (PID) Child Sponsorship program.
The Haitian government now says more than 316,000 people died when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck on January 12, 2010. Additionally, over 1.5 million people were left homeless in a country with a population of less than 10 million.
On this year's trip, the Upper Iowa group did the usual manual labor—hauling cement, making bricks, and digging a foundation—but this year a total of five Haitian children in need were also sponsored by some of the participants. For $25 a month, the PID program provides nutritional supplements to malnourished children not yet in school; pays for school tuition for those ready for school, which includes food, shoes, and school supplies; and provides tuition to send a high school graduate to college or a vocational school.
"Although $25 a month might seem meager to some, the commitment to sponsor a child through PID is no small thing," said Eller. "We hope that those who purchase the book are encouraged to do their own bit of work, no matter what that might be, to make a difference in the world."
The University's student newspaper, The Collegian sponsors Venia, a Haitian child who was only 18 months old when the earthquake struck. Venia was buried under the rubble for three days but managed to survive.
The Ellers are also sponsoring a young girl, Ania, who still lives in a tent city since her family lost their home in the earthquake. "The $25 a month doesn't stop when one's experience of Haiti has faded into memory, or when life brings a series of unexpected expenses," added Farren-Eller. "Those sponsoring a child commit to supporting that child all the way to adulthood, and that child depends on the sponsorship for survival. No small matter, indeed."
To purchase a copy of the Eller's book, go to www.blurb.com/books/2459177.
The other UIU students who also went to Haiti are Kristen Day, Chicago, Ill.; Kevin Firth, Glendale, Wis.; Daniel Beasley, Glendale, Wis.; Summer Zwanziger Elsinger, Strawberry Point, Iowa; Amanda Everhart, Milton, Wis.; Danielle Ann Oldenburg, Beloit, Wis.; and Valerie Vaage, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
PID is a non-profit organization that has had a presence in Haiti for over 20 years and follows a four-pronged strategy to improve the life of ordinary Haitians: via child sponsorships, small business loans, a medical clinic, and housing construction. For more information about PID, go to www.pidonline.org.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to more than 6,800 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.