Category: . Website: . P No: . P No: . P No: . Location: United States of America , Port-au-Prince , Aeroport View: 4073


Member of the Haiti Response Coalition

Li, Li, Li! Reading Out Loud to Haiti's Displaced Children


About Li, Li, Li! Read

Psychosocial, Promotion of Literacy, Job Creation

Li, Li, Li! 2010 Accomplishments & 2011 Goals

Who: Li, Li, Li! (which means Read, Read, Read! in Haitian Creole) is a storybook reading out loud program in Creole for Haiti's children who became homeless or displaced because of the catastrophic January 12, 2010 earthquake. Founded in February 2010, Li, Li, Li! is based in Haiti and has been reading in the camps since April 2010. Li, Li, Li! Read, Inc. is a not-for-profit program registered in the State of New York.

What: Li, Li, Li! provides an engaging, interactive, and fun hour-long activity for children displaced by the earthquake that addresses the trauma and anxiety children are suffering, encourages literacy, creates a model for parents to read to their children, reinforces Creole, and contributes to job creation.

In addition to reading books written in Creole, Li, Li, Li! translates other language storybooks into Creole and often uses puppets and dolls to animate the stories as well.

Our trained readers are dispatched in teams of two for storytelling hour at various tent/tarp camps and other transitional settings -- both in rural and urban areas.

Li, Li, Li! also trains staff at transitional centers to read out loud. Li, Li, Li! provides the training, supplies appropriate children’s books in Creole, and continues to participate and monitor their reading sessions to insure success and continuity.

Li, Li Li! also works with partner organizations to bring critical services to camps such as tents, medical care, and most recently, vital information geared to children on how to prevent, recognize and seek help for Cholera.

Where: Li, Li, Li! reads in approximately 25 tent settlement camps per week and reaches more than 3,000 children per month throughout Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Carrefour, Tabarre, Cite Soleil, St. Mary mountain in CanapeVert, Delmas, Pernier, Santo, Fontamara, Croix-des-Bouquets, etc.

When: Li, Li, Li! conducts reading sessions Monday through Friday, as well as during the weekends when necessary. At the invitation of the children, and the camp councils, we also participate in special events at the camps and transitional centers.

Our dedicated readers face many challenges in carrying out their work including heavy rains, landslides, earthquake aftershocks, insecurity, forced evictions of camp residents, camp conflict, political demonstrations, general strikes, election-related violence, gang warfare, the proliferation of weapons, and now a Cholera epidemic!

Why: The January 12, 2010 7.0 earthquake in Haiti killed more than 230,000 and injured 300,000 persons. As recently as October 2010, 1.5 million people remain in more than 1,300 spontaneously organized tent and tarp camps in Port-au-Prince and surrounding regions. Only approximately 30 percent of these camps are managed by organizations, receive regular resources, and less than 20 percent provide recreational or educational services for children.

Psychosocial engagement. As a result of the January 12, 2010 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, children experienced tremendous trauma – both physically and emotionally. Their post traumatic stress continues to be compounded by continued aftershocks and fear of another severe earthquake, the continuing death toll amongst those who have survived, the uncertainties of finding loved ones who survived, and most recently the outbreak of Cholera in Haiti. Also, countless children continue to suffer and struggle with the pains of injuries, physical trauma, rehabilitation, and post earthquake illnesses.

Story time hours help children release tension, find some new joy and give them some colorful, engaging images and stories that they can use at night when trying to go to sleep -- despite their difficult sleeping conditions, physical pain, anxieties and sadness.

Literacy promotion. More than half of Haiti’s school-age children have never been to school and now even greater numbers of children are unable to access schooling. 80 percent of the schools were destroyed or damaged. This makes our program even more important to help expose children to books, literacy, and key subjects such as science and nature, the environment, other cultures, history, conflict resolution, sports, health, literature, etc. All of these important subjects are shared through reading out loud.

Job Creation for Haitians. Our trained readers are all Haitian, are victims of the earthquake, live in transitional housing, experienced trauma and losses. Nine months after the earthquake, only a tiny percent of pledged aid has been released for Haiti. Haitians need jobs and training so they can support their families, repair their homes, seek out new housing, pay for their children’s education, and participate in the transformation of their nation. We hope that our reading program can generate interest and jobs in the field of literacy and universal education for children.

Li, Li, Li! 2010 Accomplishments & 2011 Goals

Some of our sustainable activities and accomplishments in 2010 included:

  • Training readers, creating training seminars for staff at transitional centers, and camp council committee members, on how to read out loud to children;
  • Creating questions specific to each book to help children develop listening and analytical skills;
  • Writing a Li, Li, Li! storybook for children in the U.S. and Haiti;
  • Creating a child-directed cholera flyer and briefing sessions;
  • Partnering with grassroots and other organizations to collaborate and share resources;
  • Assisting camp committees in securing necessary resources such as medical care, water, tents, etc.;
  • Educating and sensitizing the public via press releases and media on the plight of children living in the camps;
  • Creating a series of feedback forms and reports used for analysis & evaluation of our program;
  • Partnering with elementary schools throughout the United States where students have donated books, art, and poems;
  • Making presentations to children and schools in the United States about Li, Li, Li! and Haiti.


Goals for 2011 include:

  • Creating a Creole language manual teaching Reading Out Loud to Children skills with a suggested list of appropriate books;
  • Continuing to work on our Li, Li, Li! children’s book and publish it for wide distribution;
  • Greater incorporation of the Creole alphabet in the Li, Li, Li! reading session and the introduction of activity sheets that teach literacy and development of cognitive skills;
  • Employing a part-time health layperson to work on strengthening our cholera education and resource component;
  • Developing better and more efficient access to cholera related resources for camps;
  • Continuing to participate and monitor centers where we have trained their staff to read out loud to monitor and strengthen success and continuity;
  • Expanding our puppet making and creation of art to accompany books;
  • Incorporating more art, writing, and music activities that are literature or literacy centered;
  • Continuing to partner with schools in the United States and bring information about Haiti and Li, Li, Li! to students and their families.

Visit the Li, Li, Li! Read website at often to learn about our ongoing activities or write us at

Learn how you can help support our program and be part of a real transformation of Haiti with literacy for all.


"A wonderful program, Michelle! I'm just heartbroken over the situation. And mad as hell over the fact that so many people have opened their wallets and it's not going to the people. What you are doing is so important. Let me know if i can help." Tony Savino, photographer.

"Love it! Count me in on translation work if need be. Working with children and literacy is so essential to development. I think the way your going in to help is so brilliant - great great great - such a need for that!" Anna Ferdinand, journalist

"In physics, escape velocity is the speed at which an object can break free from the forces of gravity. What kind of momentum is required, then, for a child to journey beyond the sorrow caused by the massive earthquake in Haiti?

"If imagination is the landscape of children, then something as simple as a story may begin to help soothe and seed this precious landscape. In some cultures, stories are literally part of a prescription for healing. An ancient Jewish proverb asks: What is truer than true? The answer: The story.

"By bringing stories to children, Li Li Li offers refuge, provides diversion and fuels a sense of connection to the world beyond the tents and rubble. Studies demonstrate a correlation between storytelling and personal transformation. Li Li Li draws on Haiti's legacy of storytelling to jump start this metamorphosis so that children may slowly begin to reclaim their trust and their childhood.

"Please support Li Li Li. Their work can help heal wounds, fill minds and ignite wonder. Contribute to Li Li Li and help children overcome the influences of suffering and grief. Finally, cheer for the children of Haiti. Watch them as they begin to soar and break free." Chari Rabinowitz Goldberg, producer/writer

"...since the deadly earthquake that changed lives forever in Haiti...Many children lost their homes, members of their family, and their basic security when this incomprehensible tragedy struck. Children are grieving for the loss in their own way, and many are so traumatized that they are unable to sleep at night...When my close friend Michelle Karshan told me about this project, she talked about the importance of engaging children's imaginations, of bringing them into the stories and showing them the way that reading can transport one's mind, spirit and heart, and bring some peace, even in the midst of a tent city in Port-au-Prince." Melinda Miles, Director of Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY

"Most of us recognize the importance of stories - and hope - to children's health, but some wonder whether paying readers is important at a time like this, when children are starving. My answer is that each U.S. dollar that goes into Haiti will buy food and shelter in Haiti, and will promote the development of its infrastructure and its children." Amelia Burgess, M.D., M.P.H. (pediatrician)

"Books, literacy and storytelling are central to my beliefs on how children learn. You and your daughters' vision for Li Li Li! Read is just beautiful…My view of literacy is that it involves reading, writing, speaking and listening. Each skill reinforces the other…

"…Let us say a story is read to the children and they are all excited. Well maybe as a follow up activity, later or the next day, they can re-enact the story, a play. How much fun would that be. It can even be performed before an audience. Children can easily create their own books. They can make a "big" book, or a little book depending on the size of the paper. If we bring in some large paper, some crayons, they can make books, with drawings, in any languages they want, say Creole and French.

"Several children with one of our storytellers can be busy at work helping the children create books to be shared and reread.” Teresa (Terry) Leroy, retired teacher

Visit our Press Coverage page to see what the media is saying about Li, Li, Li!


Address 70A Greenwich Avenue, Suite 373 New York, New York 10011
Phone 509 3871-0400,1 (212) 613-6033,
Fax 1 (212) 202-3992