Canada's Champions of Change

OUR 2010 WINNERS: BOB AND BOBBY

You voted and here are your 2010 Champions! Meet Bob Davisson and Bobby Hayes and see their stories!

RELIVE THE STORIES ON DEMAND

Watch the Champions of Change Finale and all our Champions stories here.

2010 Winner Bob Davisson

Age: 63
Volunteers in: Haiti
Category:
International - Education, Community and Culture
Organization:
Lifeline Haiti

ABOUT THE CANDIDATE:
Building Schools and Hope in Haiti
It's impossible not to marvel at the optimism in Bob Davisson's voice when he speaks about Haiti, whose capital, Port-au-Prince, was left in ruins after last January's earthquake. "People ask me, 'How are things in Haiti?' And I say, 'I see progress!'" Hard not to marvel because where others see setback, Davisson, who's been opening schools in Haiti since early 2006, sees hope and possibility.


Watch a profile of Bob Davisson
aired on Connect, CBC News Network
December 13, 2010


Download Flash Player to view this content.



The retired businessman and former RCMP officer is a full-time volunteer with Lifeline Haiti, an organization he founded with his wife in 2007. With 56 schools in 51 locations, Lifeline is increasing access to education in a country where only 50 percent of children go to primary school, and less than two percent graduate high school. More than 13,000 are enrolled in schools either built by Lifeline or opened in an existing facility. Only one, says Davisson, sustained damage during the earthquake.



Listen to a profile of Bob Davisson
by CBC Radio reporter Jennifer Keene:


Download Flash Player to view this content.



Yet Lifeline isn't just opening schools-- it's working to fund their operation. When Davisson isn't in Haiti, where he spends four to six months a year, he's home in Medicine Hat, Alta., raising capital. The goal is to have enough money to pay every teacher, he says, and to ensure every child gets one hot meal a day--something Lifeline isn't yet able to do. "We'd be providing four million meals this year if we could. For many, when they go home on Friday, it's their last hot meal until Monday." 

If a generation of children is educated, Davisson believes Haiti can break the cycle of poverty that has plagued it for decades. "To change the country we have to change the children growing up now--this generation who'll be the next leaders. If we teach them leadership and entrepreneurship, it gives them a chance to get out of that $1-a-day job most people have here." In that spirit, Lifeline also provides microloans for businesses (71 so far), and is opening a cinder block factory to generate both jobs and revenue.

Poverty is not foreign to Davisson. Raised by a single mother in Saskatchewan, in a house without water or electricity, and besieged by lung disease that almost cost him his life, he sees himself in the children of Haiti. Though his mother eventually married, he never forgot what struggle can claim of childhood. "I understand what these children feel, and believe what I went through was to prepare me for this." Yet, despite all this, Davisson says luck has been a friend. When his lung disease unexplainably disappeared, he saw it as a sign. "Suddenly the blinders came off, and I could see that even if I saved one child-- well, what's the value of one child's life?" -- Deborah Sanborn


HOW YOU CAN HELP:
FURTHER INFORMATION AND LINKS


To learn more about Lifeline Haiti, visit their website at
http://www.lifelinehaiti.blogspot.com




Français

NOM : Bob Davisson

ÂGE : 65 ans

LIEU DE BÉNÉVOLAT : Haïti

CATÉGORIE : International - Éducation, action communautaire et culture

ORGANISATION(S) : Lifeline Haiti

À PROPOS DU CANDIDAT :

Ancien agent de la GRC et propriétaire de franchises McDonald à la retraite, Bob Davisson a passé son enfance dans une maison sans eau courante ni électricité sur une ferme de la Saskatchewan. Né d'une mère célibataire extrêmement jeune qui s'est mariée lorsqu'il a eu sept ans, il sait ce que c'est que de vivre sans père et dans la pauvreté. Au cours d'une visite missionnaire en Haïti en 2005, il a été dévasté par la pauvreté des enfants haïtiens, mais il s'est encore plus identifié aux enfants non désirés et pauvres qu'il a vu grandir dans ce milieu.

« Comme moi, ils vivaient dans une extrême pauvreté, mais sans le savoir. Je me suis alors demandé comment ils pouvaient être si heureux alors qu'ils n'avaient strictement rien. » Bob a ressenti un profond besoin de rester en Haïti et de travailler afin d'offrir une éducation à ces enfants. En 2007, il a fondé l'organisation Lifeline Haiti qui construit des écoles et offre des repas chauds et des soins médicaux aux enfants de ce pays défavorisé.

Bob Davisson récolte de l'argent toute l'année auprès de donateurs canadiens et internationaux et passe de quatre à six mois par année en Haïti à réaliser ses projets. Il participe étroitement aux activités quotidiennes, travaille à s'assurer que les produits et les matériaux récoltés entrent dans le pays, exerce des pressions sur les autorités afin d'obtenir les approbations et les permissions requises, supervise les progrès des travaux de construction d'écoles et parcourt le pays afin de répondre aux besoins des enfants dans les écoles prises en charge par l'organisme Lifeline.
Ami de longue date de Bob Davisson, Gail Jansen a proposé sa candidature ainsi que celle de trois autres bénévoles, soulignant que Bob a payé de sa poche la mise en chantier des premières écoles, renonçant à une retraite confortable après sa carrière de policier et d'homme d'affaires.

COMMENT AIDER : RENSEIGNEMENTS ET LIENS

Pour en apprendre davantage sur Lifeline Haiti, nous vous invitons à visiter le site Web de l'organisation à l'adresse suivante :
http://www.lifelinehaiti.blogspot.com