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Young Haitians Given a Route into the Hospitality Sector as Recovery Effort Continues
In the wake of the earthquake in January 2010, which killed more than 250,000 people and left one million homeless, a vast international response occurred to deliver aid and relief. However as one of the poorest countries in the world Haiti faces particular challenges for its mid to long term recovery.
As a response to this need The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) has partnered with a network of interested parties and supporters including Hilton in the Community Foundation, Bench Events, Questex and EHL to set up a fund to train and educate young people in Haiti into the hospitality sector.
Louise John, CHTA Education Foundation Haiti Fund Programme Trustee said:
"With tourism accounting for more than 65% of the GDP of most Caribbean countries investment in hospitality and tourism professionals is critical for Haiti's sustainability and the region's economic development. This CHTAEF Haiti Fund will look to target this area of need by initially supporting and training young people into the hospitality sector in Haiti. By working together we believe that we can help to make a sustainable positive difference in this area through a long term investment in these young people's talents."
Following the earthquake the Haiti hotel training school is unusable, while the Quisqeya University Tourism's building collapsed entirely. The CHTAEF Haiti Fund will initially support the surviving 22 students from the course and additionally up to 25 surviving young hotel workers. Efforts will be made to train the young people with free English lessons and certified training qualifications in hotel and hospitality skills and knowledge. The students will also subsequently be able to undertake a supported scholarship including work placement training.
Local hoteliers will be helping with the planning and delivery of the initiative with the Plaza Hotel, the last hotel left standing in Port au Prince, taking a lead role. Four hotels across Haiti including the Plaza have already offered meeting room space for the training to be delivered.
Hilton in the Community Foundation, the charity of the world renowned hospitality company, has agreed to channel donations and co-ordinate the fundraising for the Fund. £33,583 has already been committed to the Fund thanks to donations from HCF, Questex and private donations.
Simon Sheehan, Director of Hilton in the Community Foundation said:
"While we appreciate how much work there is to be done in Haiti we believe that this partnership and fund is a hugely positive step forward and was a great match with both the Foundation's mission to support those most in need and Hilton's commitment to excellence in the sector. By investing in young talent we hope that these students can then in turn use their skills and knowledge to teach others and to give a real boost to tourism in Haiti."
The project is due to start in October 2010 as the initial phase of a five year plan by the CHTAEF. For more information please visit www.caribbeanhotelassociation.com/CHTAEFhaiti.php.
CHTAEF is a Caribbean organization and its primary objective is to seek out educational opportunities within the Tourism and Hospitality sector for Caribbean Nationals. These individuals are supported with their academic or professional development through scholarship awards for tuition and training.
CHTAEF was established in 1987 and has awarded over US$1.15 million in scholarships and special educational assistance to hotel personnel and students pursuing careers in hospitality and tourism. The Foundation has one paid part-time coordinator and a board of 15 volunteer trustees who give their time, expertise and fundraising networks to support the work of the non-profit.
The organisation receives between 80 and 110 applications for help each year and awards 28 and 40 scholarships annually, depending on available funds. Scholarships take the form of disbursement of tuition funds to educational institutions on presentation of a detailed invoice for the named CHTAEF scholar.
CHTAEF has established a separate Haiti Fund which it will caretake and administer. It supports individuals by paying college or tuition fees to the institution or training provider, not the individual.
Hilton in the Community Foundation was founded in 2000 as Hilton Hotels' charity dedicated to supporting young people in need. Focused on disabled children, children in hospitals, hospices and homelessness, grants supporting disadvantaged young people are made in the UK and Ireland, while in the event of international disaster; grants are made to relief organisations at the Trustees' discretion.
In 2009, through the Foundation, team members, guest and suppliers raised over £1,051,264 while the Foundation awarded 324 grants to 251 charities totalling £1,061,556 (the difference is from the Foundation's reserves).
Since its establishment in November 2000 the Foundation has raised £8 million ($12.9 million) for charity. This money has been used to support more than 770 education projects (totalling £3,979,463) and 571 health projects (totalling £2,938,882). An additional £755,000 has been granted to relief projects in the event of natural disasters where the company operates.
The Foundation's core costs are funded by Hilton Hotels, so every net pound or Euro raised goes directly to good causes. Donations are funded almost entirely through the generous efforts and contributions of Hilton team members, family and friends and with the support of Hilton guests and company suppliers.
To find out more please take a look at our website: www.hilton-foundation.org.uk
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