Chicago-Based Charity Benefits Street Children in Haiti

CHICAGO, IL- With more than 100 million homeless children worldwide and approximately 40 million of which live in Latin America and the Caribbean, Chicago-based charity, Avanse (fka Charity4LIFE), has formally agreed to partner with The Sanneh Foundation in support of the Haitian Initiative (HI). The Haitian Initiative is a youth development program based in Haiti’s Cite Soleil, a Port-au-Prince neighborhood commonly considered to be the poorest and most dangerous place to live in the entire western hemisphere. 

“Avanse is thrilled to formally announce our partnership with the Sanneh Foundation. We look forward to working together in a collaborative effort to help advance the lives of street kids living in Cite Soleil,” said Jeannette Pawula, Founder of Avanse. “Both Avanse and The Sanneh Foundation have a shared vision to empower and improve the lives of children and together we can make a greater difference.”

The Haitian Initiative was founded by two-time MLS champion and 2002 FIFA World Cup veteran Tony Sanneh after he undertook a humanitarian mission to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated that nation in 2010.  Starting as a one team summer exchange program, the Haitian Initiative now operates year-round to offer 240 boys and girls in Cite Soleil the chance to play organized soccer and receive a free and nutritious meal six days-a-week, provided they meet school attendance requirements. Coaches work on the fundamental skills the game of soccer requires, but also concentrate on developing the leadership and social skills necessary for teamwork on the field and within community engagement beyond the field.The program continues to include a selection-based annual summer youth exchange component, and now regularly partners with the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince to run soccer for social impact youth clinics that train Haitian National Police units in authentic youth engagement.


  • Provide Education and Soccer Camp Sponsorships
  • Sponsor 11 children from Cite Soleil to attend full-time school and participate in the Haitian Initiative Soccer Camp as a newly formed team
  • Provide education and recreational opportunities for 11 girls from Cite Soleil to attend full-time school and participate in the Haitian Initiative soccer camp
  • Avanse has scheduled an impact trip in October from the 13th-18th to spend 6 days at the HI soccer field and Feeding Center to select candidates for sponsorship 


The neighborhood in Cite Soleil, where the Haitian Initiative draws its participants from, has an estimated 200,000 people. Most of the residents of Cite Soleil are unemployed. Some people are able to sell small amounts of produce and other products at street markets. A majority of Cite Soleil residents are children.  In Haiti 65% of the population is under the age of 25. Haiti is one of the poorest nations on earth, and this program takes place in Cite Soleil, which is the poorest neighborhood in Port au Prince, Haiti. The children we work with are sometimes homeless and parentless. They face extreme hunger, gang violence, and high risk of AIDS/HIV. Some children lack access to school, education, and safe places to play sports.  Youth in Cite Soleil rarely have the opportunity to just be children.


Avanse is a Chicago based nonprofit working to advance the lives of street kids in Latin America and the Caribbean. The term “Street Kid” is used to refer to a vulnerable group of children whose lives are spent either living or working on the streets. These youth become dependent on life on the street through a complex set of factors, which include war, conflict, abuse, poverty, family breakdown, rebellion, and other emergencies. These children on the street are often subject to abuse, neglect and sexual exploitations and lack access to education and other resources.

Avanse practices a progressive model for nonprofits with a focus on improving the capacity, delivery and availability of education and life skills programs for street kids. They believe the best method for innovation and change is to customize solutions for outreach by addressing the needs of street kids specific to their location. The charity works directly with reputable boots on the ground nonprofits to make a true impact on the lives of street kids. Avanse has evolved over the last five years and now offers a comprehensive range of services to their partners including: Program Development and funding, strategic management, capital planning and investment and sustainability models for their partners.