Greater Good Haiti (GGH), called Pi Gwo Byen in Creole, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to remedial education for illiterate children on the island of La Gonave, Haiti.
The organization was launched by Kelly Kobza, a schoolteacher who traveled to Haiti in the winter of 2010 to assist with the post-earthquake relief efforts. While in Haiti, she saw first-hand the crushing poverty and the high illiteracy rate, and founded Greater Good Haiti (GGH) to bring a much-needed resource to the people of Haiti.
Greater Good Haiti’s main goal is to provide remedial education for children who have otherwise no means of attending school, enabling them to better their lives and the lives of their families. GGH reinforces these efforts with a feeding program and health, wellness and environmental education to the students and surrounding community. Since the establishment of the organization, GGH’s pilot program on the island of Anse A Galets has launched a literacy school, a reforestation project, a community center, and a feeding program for the students. The school has achieved great success, with a pass-rate significantly higher than surrounding public schools, and GGH accomplishes this in half the time. GGH school curriculum aligns with the Haitian National school standards, so children may then continue to higher levels of literacy and education.
Kelly Kobza is the Founding Director of Greater Good Haiti and lives in Anse A Galets on the island of La Gonave in Haiti. She has sixteen years experience teaching at both elementary and middle school in her hometown, Palo Alto, California. In addition, she has five years of experience teaching English as a Second Language in Spain. Kelly is an environmental and social justice activist who has worked with organizations such as Bay Area Action (now Acterra), Beyond War, and Amnesty International. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from California Institute of Integral Studies and completed credential course work in education at Notre Dame de Namur University.
Board of Advisors
Friederike Buelow was born and raised in Germany and moved to the Bay Area with her family in 1987. A former language major (University of Tuebingen, Germany), she received her BS in Human Services from Notre Dame De Namur University. For six years she worked as a weekly volunteer at the San Mateo Crisis and Suicide Prevention Hotline, and for eight years with the Ecumenical Hunger Program of East Palo Alto, where she was also a board member. Currently, she is a board member at GGH, as well as at GLGBS (German Ladies’General Benevolent Society), a nearly 150-year-old SF nonprofit supporting women and children of German descent in need. Over the last year she has become increasingly involved in refugee rescue and resettlement efforts. She has been a Palo Alto resident for 27 Years.
Peter Drekmeier is a former Mayor of Palo Alto, CA and has been working as an environmental advocate for the past 25 years. He helped lead two international Earth Day campaigns, and loves traveling in developing countries. Peter co-founded several organizations, including Environmentalists Against War, Bay Area Action (now Acterra), and the Stanford Open Space Alliance. He currently serves as the Bay Area Program Director for the Tuolumne River Trust in San Francisco. Peter has a political science degree from U.C. Berkeley.
Peter Goggin has been a leader in online health since 1995. As vice-president and co-founder of NetHealth, Peter led the development of some of the first vertical health communities online. He has worked as a consultant specializing in the development of online publications and open-source web applications. Peter is currently Vice-President of book publisher, Epicenter Communications, a Partner at Argonaut Ventures, and co-founder of Malaria.com.
Vandana Hariharan is a finance professional with 20 years of global finance experience. She started her career in the Financial Management Training (FMP) program at GE and held various managerial and leadership positions at GE Capital, eBay and Facebook. Vandana holds a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business (Northwestern University), a Masters in Accounting Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and a Bachelor of Commerce & Economics from the University of Mumbai. She lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two kids.
Andrew Salop works at the intersection of technology, media, and commerce. He specializes in defining and bringing new-concept products to market that empower creative, mobile and collaborative workflow. Over the course of his career, Andrew has worked with a variety of media technology brands and startups across the Americas, Asia and Europe including Apple, Adobe, Skype and GLOBALedit. Based in his hometown of Palo Alto, he travels widely for business and pleasure with extended stays in Amsterdam (NL), Washington DC, New York City, Tokyo, Los Angeles and most recently, Haiti. Andrew holds an MBA from Santa Clara University and BA degrees in International Relations and Economics from the University of California, Davis. His initial collaboration with Greater Good Haiti introduced interactive media as an enabling tool for Haitian students in the remote village of Anse-à-Galets to learn and explore new concepts.
Alice Smith is a retired lawyer who worked for 36 years in the IT industry, starting as an IBM Systems Engineer and after a brief hiatus at home raising her 2 daughters and attending law school, becoming in-house legal counsel for major UK and US computer companies. Currently, she volunteers for the California North Committee of Human Rights Watch and is chair of the Mid-Peninsula Chapter of the ACLU/Northern California. Alice is the Founder of National Voter Corps and involved with PeoplePower to protect the rights of Americans to vote. She has a BA from Smith College and a JD from Golden Gate University Law School.
Haiti Staff & Volunteers
Michel-Ange Desir has been Haitian Advisor and Staff Manager with Pi Gwo Byen Ayiti (Greater Good Haiti) since December 2010. He holds a bachelors degree in law and has studied administration. Desir is a dedicated environmentalist who teaches at the middle school level in Anse A Galets, on the island of La Gonave in Haiti. He is the coordinator of a civic organization called M.O.C.I.R.V.E.R.G (Mouvement civic et Revolution verte pour La Gonave). Desir is married and the father of three children.
Jean Wisly Edouard is a native of La Gonave, Haiti. Jean is responsible for facilities and operations at Pi Gwo Byen aka Greater Good Haiti. He has worked with other NGO’s on the island such as World Vision, Compassion, Haiti Outreach. He has been working with Greater Good Haiti since January 2011. Jean believes that the greatest good for Haiti would be for all children to learn to read. He is thankful to Pi Gwo Byen for the daily feeding program which is a great gift to all the children in the school. He is grateful to be a member of the Pi Gwo Byen community and staff.
Rosemanie Estama is a teacher at Pi Gwo Byen, she has been working in the program since September 2011. Rosemanie graduated from High School in 2005 and then studied at the American College of Modern Science Haiti, in Port Au Prince. Her previous work experience was at the Carolina School in Port-au-Prince during the 2009-2010 school term. Rosemanie is proud of her time with Greater Good Haiti as she feels that together with those who support the program, she is educating children who would not otherwise attend school. She believes there is a great dream and we are fulfilling that dream.
Carol Felix is one of the original employees of Greater Good Haiti aka Pi Gwo Byen, she believes in the work and is committed to the vision of the program. She has been the head cook and prepares daily meals for the children, teachers and volunteers in the Pi Gwo Byen program. Carol hopes that the future of Greater Good is strong because she believes that more children could benefit from education so that they can emerge as citizens who are employable and will find work. Carol was raised in Anse A Galet on La Gonave, Haiti. Carol has worked with Greater Good Haiti since January 2011. Prior to that she worked with the Wesleyan Mission in Anse-à-Galets from 1997 -2002. Carol is a graduate of the Wesleyan School of anse A Galets, where she attended from 1984 until 2003.
Pierre Fritz provides maintenance, security and property management services at Pi Gwo Byen School. He was raised on the Island of La Gonave, Haiti. Pierre Fritz is dedicated to the vision and work of Pi Gwo Byen (Greater Good).
Benira Paul is a teacher in the Pi Gwo Byen program. After graduating from high school in Anse-à-Galets Benira studied education in Port-au-Prince for one year in 2006-2007. He has worked with NGOs such as World Vision, Compassion International, and now Greater Good Haiti. Benira is a passionate member of the Pi Gwo Byen staff as he believes in the fundamental need for literacy in Haiti. He has been working with Greater Good Haiti since January 2012. Benira is grateful for all the people who support the work and have helped to successfully imlement the program. He is committed to continuing to improve and grow the program.