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Voices / Letters from readers

Compassion for a sister community’s family in need

Brattleboro can now take pride in having seven sister communities (well beyond that of any comparable town in New England). These include two Native American communities plus towns in El Salvador, Haiti, Kenya, and India — and a town with similar compassionate interests in New York state.

Read on to see how we, together as a community, can do something remarkable.

There will soon be a signboard in downtown Brattleboro pointing to these sister communities, plus classroom interactions across these communities.

Since Brattleboro voted overwhelmingly to become part of the Charter of Compassion in 2017, numerous activities have been undertaken relating to the needs of our citizens, particularly in the areas of education and health. But there also has been an expressed need to work with and assist communities and families outside of the Brattleboro area facing particular hardship.

Once Covid is behind us, the Brattleboro area will be developing a series of creative projects with our sister communities. (Imagine, for example, groups of our teens joining teenagers in the hometown of Kenya’s Nobel Prize–winning environmentalist Wangari Maathai for “green safaris” — planting trees together while watching wild animals!)

We now are initiating a series of fundraising undertakings — one each spring, to support a particularly important project in a sister community.

The first of these — this spring’s project — involves going to the aid of a desperately needy family in our sister community of Meyer, Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, the very poorest in that community. We hope that with modest contributions from a large number of our citizens, we will be able to accomplish something extraordinary: an appropriate beginning to our sister community adventure.

Here’s the story of this family we want to help:

The mother of the Lamour family, suffering from pre-eclampsia, recently gave birth to twin girls by emergency cesarean. The family has three older children, ages 13, 8, and 7. They are living in a temporary shelter made of cardboard and miscellaneous materials. The family is unable to pay even the modest fees for schooling the older children. The father, also ill, was recently robbed of his earnings.

We’ve set a goal of $10,000, enough to purchase land and building supplies to permit the building of a small house for this family, the payment of school fees, and the health care necessary to get the parents back on their feet.

Compassionate Brattleboro has set up a GoFundMe at

This fundraiser channels contributions through Compassionate Brattleboro’s non-profit, making them tax-deductible. Funds will go immediately and directly to this family with assistance from the Haiti Orphanage Sponsorship Trust.

Compassionate Brattleboro will keep the public appraised of progress.

Jim Levinson

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Originally published in The Commons issue #607 (Wednesday, April 7, 2021). This story appeared on page C3.

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