OJFA in Rainbows

The Rainbow Brigade || Lakansyel Squad … One of Project HOPE Art’s happiest afternoons in a long time. With just $20 worth of scrap fabric, 2 pairs of scissors, a flair for playing dress up, elaborate and inventive braiding skills, some portable lights – we wrapped the orphanage in rainbow braids.
Love Wins!

Our Art Director, Rachel Znerold started the Rainbow Braid idea in the States with various Musical Performers. We brought the idea to Haiti, on a small scale, in homage to the deep cultural history of African Braiding. Braiding hair was one of the few practices that slaves could hold onto and continue to openly practice in the New World.

We wanted to create a project that the girls at the orphanage could participate in with almost zero instruction and put their own flair and ideas into it. We wanted a whimsical, happy project. And we wanted to infuse solar lights into the project outcome as this orphanage does not have electricity and it gets dark at 5pm.

So here it is, the The Rainbow Brigade || Lakansyel Squad:

Braids are regarded as a cultural trait of the African people, and they can also be a fashion statement. The history of African tribes and the cultural significance of braiding is deep and long.

Africa is a large continent, which consists of innumerable tribes. The Massai and Zulu are among the primary tribes. Others include:


Tribal girls have varied cultures, and the hairstyles are unique and used to identify each tribe. Braid patterns or hairstyles indicate a person’s community, age, marital status, wealth, power, social position, and religion.

Elaborate patterns are done for special occasions like weddings, social ceremonies or war preparations. People belonging to a tribe can easily be identified by another tribe member with the help of a braid pattern or style.

Immense importance is given to the custom of braiding. The person who braids hair performs it as both a ritual and a social service. It is an art form taught by the senior female member of the family to her daughters and close friends. The person who braids well is considered an expert. The man or woman who braids does it as a social duty. No rewards are expected.


Mesì Gueldy René et Deesse Aishar Delismond for helping ??

-The Rainbow Brigade || Lakansyel Squad

Photo Philanthropy Essay | Wings for Tacloban

Each year, PhotoPhilanthropy puts out a call for visually expressive photographic essays that tell the story of non-profits the world over. This year, Jamie Lloyd and I put together a joint essay about our time in Tacloban, Philippines.

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Soaring above your everyday struggles, free like a bird. It’s an idea we’ve all wished could come true in times of difficulty and stress. Fueled by generous donations, Artists Jamie Lloyd & Melissa Schilling (along with community organizer, Justin Victoria) were able to gift children (and their families) living in the tent cities and bunkhouses of the Tacloban disaster zone the ability to fly above their problems. Wings for Tacloban are imaginary art wings created for children.




It has been one year since Typhoon Haiyan, the world’s biggest-ever storm to make landfall, struck the central Philippines – killing more than 5,200 people, displacing 4.4 million and destroying $547m in crops and infrastructure.
In Leyte Province, 70 to 80 percent of the area was destroyed. Tacloban, the capital of Leyte, where five-metre waves flattened nearly everything in their path, suffered more loss of life than any other Philippine city. Outside the town centre, in a hillside cemetery, city workers have dug a mass gravesite which stretches along 100 metres.
Much of Tacloban has been turned to rubble, leaving many survivors homeless and dependent on aid.
Visiting the city, it is clear that – despite the help of the international community – it will take a very long time for the town to recover.





About the Bunkhouses of Tacloban
The bunkhouses are made of corrugated sheets, plywood and coco lumber and measure
8.64 square meters. 27 Bunkhouses in the San Jose District of Tacloban with water and electricity have been completed as of April 1, 2014. Another 66 remain to be built and equipped with basic necessities. Each bunkhouse has 24 units, although big families are given two units. The partition per unit was collapsed to accommodate bigger families.
We be painted broken down concrete walls, plywood, an old kitchen wall — with chalkboard paint in a variety of colors. Once dry, we cured the walls and armed the occupants of the bunkhouses with chalk. We hope to encourage creative thinking and hope.
Close to 2 million families were affected by the weather disturbance, considered to be the strongest typhoon on record to make landfall. 30 countries have already pledged financial and humanitarian aid amounting to 2.366 billion to victims of super typhoon Yolanda.





Artist Statement
The Wings: Project HOPE Art is an art collective that responds to disaster with pencils, paints, music and imagination. We want to remind the children of Tacloban that they can overcome obstacles by gifting them the power to fly with wings. These wings do not just live on the chalkboard or wall. These wings belong to them and will allow them to fly and rise up above their problems, environment and situations. They should use their wings not just to solve their own problems but those issues facing their communities at large.
Nothing can stop a large group of living angels.
The project outcomes are multi-leveled.

In the simplest terms children are encouraged to have a fun portrait snapped, printed and handed over. A memory to serve as a reminder to overcome obstacles and head towards dreams and goals. Our mobile printing studio was set-up onsite inside the tent cities and bunk houses. Children watched as each digital image was edited on smart phones and ipads and then sent to the mini-printer. A 4X6 image was spit out seconds later.

In addition to print portrait images, community message boards were created and left behind in every area. A frank discussion was started amongst parents, teachers, community organizers and children regarding their personal paths since Hurricane Yolanda. Lessons were taught about transforming simple, everyday ingredients into action-based toolkits.
We painted everything from a de-constructed kitchen wall in the No-Build Zone to the shell of a school classroom in Palo. We created double sided chalkboards with plywood. We painted over graffiti with bright primary colors and created sleek, glossy spaces to draw, write and dream.



See our Wings Art Project in Haiti, featured in School Arts Magazine: http://www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/141579/54

gardening program and the art + botany lab


The 2014 Project HOPE Art Gardening Class will take place each Saturday at the Project HOPE Art Center at Haiti Communitere from 8am-11am.
The goal of the class is to teach fundamentals of gardening to 12 students and one class Supervisor so they may return to their neighborhoods and spread knowledge about urban agronomy. We want to prepare each student to grow their own food at home.

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For our first foray, we’ve rounded up 12 students from a variety of neighborhoods, backgrounds, education levels and ages to come together and learn a skill that will help them feed their families and communities.

Class Instructor: TBD/Daniel Tillias
Class Supervisor: Luc Winter


Week 1-4: Basics of Gardening and Mapping Out Your Garden; Basic Husbandry (Rabbit Keeping)
Week 5-9: Soil Health: Composting and Vermicomposting; Moringa Trees and Soil Erosion
Week 10-14: Urban Gardening: Growing Vegetables in Containers
Week 15-19: Harvesting and Seed Saving
Week 20-24: Cooking with Moringa, Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs
Week 25-29: Aquaponics: Using Tilapia Fish
Week 30-32: MultiCropping and MonoCropping


Measuring Success: Each student in the class will keep a journal. In it they will be asked to write down notes, ideas, recipes and activities. We will invite local artists to attend the class and help the students learn botanical drawing. The students will take a field trip to the the Jaden Tap Tap Garden in Cite Soleil to see a working garden. At the end of the class, each student will be given seeds and asked to start their own mini-garden at home.


Student journal entries will be combined to create a gardening handbook.

Download our 2012 Gardening HandBook, There Grows The Neighborhood here.


Class Supervisor Luc Winter will use his knowledge from the class to start his own community garden at his school in Bwa Nef in Cite Soleil.

Our gardening class will run from March, 2014 – November 2014 on Saturdays at the Project HOPE Art Center. For the finale of the class, each student will be given seeds and a class generated gardening handbook to create their own mini container garden at home.

The young students in the class range across five neighborhoods and span educational, income and resource levels. They are 12 to 16 years old. All incredibly motivated to learn Urban Agronomy.

Meet our Students (coming soon!)