Honeoye Falls and Borgne, Haiti launch Sister City connection in 2011 at Honeoye Falls’ Festival on the Green. From left are Dick Haviland, Sarah Brownell, Francius Dauphin Estimable (Johnny), and Honeoye Falls Mayor Rick Milne. Photo by Joan Haviland

In June Honeoye Falls will celebrate 10 years as a Sister City to Borgne, Haiti. Friends of Borgne (https://friendsofborgnehaiti.org/ ), a local non-profit supporting education in Borgne, will host a celebration on August 1, 2021 at Dipper Dan’s from 2 – 6 PM.

To launch the Sister City (https://sistercities.org/) connection ten years ago, Francius Dauphin Estimable (aka Johnny) traveled from Borgne to Honeoye Falls. At the 2011 Festival on the Green, both Rick Milne, Honeoye Falls Mayor, and Estimable, Associate Mayor of Borgne, spoke about their towns and appreciation of the connection. Friends of Borgne had a booth with crafts from Haiti for sale.

Through the years, Friends of Borgne has donated over $250,000 to education projects in our Sister City through the Fondasyon Dauphin children’s foundation. Imagine a mobile library transported by a mule bringing books to children in the many rural areas that surround Borgne. In addition to supporting the library, Friends of Borgne has provided funds to enable many other educational activities.

Over the 10 years, 600 students in Borgne who would not otherwise have attended school received all the materials and tuition to attend and 300 children from surrounding rural areas received partial grants. In addition, the salaries of teachers and administrators at schools in three areas are subsidized by Friends of Borgne so that all local children can attend at reduced fees.

Other projects include a sewing program where trained seamstresses with new skills in hand could make masks for the pandemic. They delivered 1200 masks to the local hospital, Scouts, market vendors, and farmers’ cooperative to reduce the spread of COVID19. Donations of band instruments and funds for 6 months of lessons and uniforms allowed community members to form a band which now plays for local functions. The Foundation employs ten people to keep these projects going.

In addition, Friends of Borgne has helped out in emergencies: providing funds for roofing materials when hurricanes blew the roof off the Fondasyon Dauphin building and several schools, providing funds to schools receiving earthquake survivors, sending money for food during the pandemic, buying handwashing supplies to address the cholera outbreak and supplying megaphones to keep the community informed about the public health measures needed to curb cholera and COVID19.

To celebrate this 10th anniversary of our Sister Cities’ friendship, Friends of Borgne, with the help of local business Dipper Dan’s, will host an Ice Cream Social on August 1, 2021 at Dipper Dan’s location on 136 W. Main St. in Honeoye Falls from 2 PM – 6 PM. The Don Griffin and Friends band (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2cfA7tnr6I) will provide rock and roll music. Mayor Rick Milne will say a few words to mark the anniversary. Since the pandemic makes travel challenging at this time, a member of the Friends of Borgne will speak about Borgne.

Bill Nies, Springwater Sprouts, traveled to Borgne in 2012, met the people, and walked the town. As an acknowledgement of the 10 year anniversary, his business will match whatever donation Dipper Dan’s makes at the event. An anonymous donor has also agreed to mark this celebration with a match. If other businesses or individuals would like to donate, please contact Joan Haviland – 585-261-9458.

©2021 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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