ABOUT HAITI FORWARD.
Vikki is a teacher in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board and Gino, an executive in the Healthcare industry with Boston Scientific. As a young couple, Vikki and Gino have always felt strongly, the call to service and they have fully committed to answering this call throughout their lives. It is for this reason that years ago, Vikki, Gino and their daughters, Ariana and Mikahla, along with many other teachers from the Dufferin and Peel areas, responded to a call to help the many Haitians affected by the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. Deeply touched by the need of the Haitian people, Vikki and Gino have returned every year to continue to build enduring relationships. It was during one of these missions that they recognized they were planting seeds of empathy and compassion in their daughters and decided to help other youth to have similar experiences. Together they have worked with D.P. administrators and Dr. Nina Nejmeh to coordinate and implement three highly successful student trips where these youth participated in mobile health clinics, food distribution programs and multiple other projects within the community of Jacmel, Haiti. They have also hosted dinner dances resulting in raising just under $40,000 to support food and medical programs. Over the past several years, the couple’s families have generously donated $1,200-$2,000 USD annually to fund a Christmas feast each year for 200-250 of the poorest members of the Jacmel community. Most recently, the couple raised, with the help of friends and family, $9,500 for the installation of a stain glass window at St Michael Catholic Church, in memory of Vikki’s deceased father, Michael Borg. The inauguration of the newly constructed St. Michael’s Parish in Jacmel, Haiti included the installation of this new window. Last year, at the behest of the Monsignor S. Content and Bishop M. Toussaint, Vikki and Gino committed to rebuild a new school within the enclosure of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Anse-à-Pitres. It was during their first visit to Anse-à-Pitres that Pere Gaston drove them to a remote refugee village. Here they spoke with camp leaders and discussed possible solutions to help this displaced group of Haitians find a means of self-sufficiency. The couple further committed to help provide a goat for each of the families as a means for sustenance and wage earning.
Building a school and helping this refugee community are the largest scope projects Vikki and Gino have undertaken to date and quickly realized the need to establish a charitable foundation in order to widen their reach. GVAMS Foundation Inc. became an entity and has an impressive Board of Directors who are equally committed and empathetic to the needs of our Haitian brothers and sisters. It is due to the sponsorship of GVAMS Foundation Inc. that Haiti Forward was founded.
Haiti Forward is a program of the GVAMS Foundation charitable organization, which is dedicated to the relieving poverty in the impoverished community of Anse-a-Pitres. This once industrial town met its demise with the invention of plastic rope. Anse-a-Pitres loosely translates into rope handle. Anse is a fibrous plant that Haitians would beat and then braid to make rope. After this town’s economy failed many Haitians crossed the border into the Dominican. Over the past few years they have been persecuted, murdered and forced back into Haiti. Anse-a-Pitres is now the site for two large refugee camps. Haiti Forward is currently raising funds to support programs run by Canadian registered charities that directly support Haiti.
GVAMS Foundation is a Canadian registered charity organization dedicated to improving the lives of the less fortunate living in rural areas in Haiti through access to education and support, thereby creating strong, dignified and self-sustaining communities. We believe that this can be achieved with honesty, perseverance, and integrity.