About Me...  Heidi-Marie
There is something about being in a school and working with children that comes so naturally to me, it makes me feel centered and peaceful. I have always ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​wanted to ‘help’ children in some way but I didn’t know where or how.

I found the first school when I was on an All-Inclusive vacation in Dominican Republic in May of 2015. I had met and started chatting with a local, who was selling jewellery on my resort. While we were talking, he told me about his work building homes and schools with the missionaries that come down from other countries. I expressed such an interest that he offered to take me to see some of these places.
When I visited the school and saw the condition it was in compared to our schools here in Canada, my heart was so overwhelmed with love that I became determined to try and raise money for them. I told the director of that school that I would do whatever I could when I returned to Canada.
When I got home I found it very difficult to raise money.  At the time I was selling my beeswax art at craft shows and festivals, so, at these shows I would raffle off some of my work and other various things, to raise money for the school in Dominican Republic. I started a ​​​​​​​​​​​GoFundMe account and talked to everyone I could. ​​​​​​​As it turns out, everyone wants something for their money, I knew I needed something tangible to sell. 
I thought about this for a couple months, what could I sell that people would want and that would raise enough money to help this school?  The more I thought about it, the more I really wanted it to be something that the children created.  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​I wanted to empower them by feeling a part of raising money for their own education.  

One day, in August 2015, it hit me, a children story book!  

I contacted the director of the school in Dominican Republic and pitched my idea. I suggested I could come into the school to work with the children and have them draw all kinds of pictures, which I would cut and paste together to create the illustrations for a children story book I would writte.
He loved the idea.  In April 2016, I jumped on a plane and headed down south to stay in the home of
the director and his family, for one week, and work in the school.

Watch My Adventures!​

Hiking 2 hours up and 1.5 hours down to get to the school
​(​Philippines).

Cambodian Market Walk

While I was working in this school, the gentleman
I had originally met on the resort offered to take
me to see some other schools. I visited a ​​​​Haitian school that was not far from the school I was working in. I had the children there draw as well and as a result came back to Canada with about 750 drawings! I didn’t want the 2 schools to have
to split the money raised, and the drawings were
so inspiring, that I created a second story and published two books, one for each school. The first was published in July 2017, and the second in December 2017.
I know I have found my path, my purpose in life.  I have never felt so right about something in my life.
My compassion for these schools and these children is beyond words.  I decided I wanted to make this
work my life. 
In February 2017, I backpacked Asia for a month with the intention of finding a poor school that could benefit from a book, I found one in Cambodia.  In the summer I sold everything I owned, saved every penny I made waitressing and left Canada in October of the same year to travel for 5 months and make more connections.
I went to Cambodia in December and created a book with the kids, which will be published in the next 2 weeks, then to Philippines where I created two books in two different schools, which will be published by the end of May.
During these travels this past winter, I made ​​​​​​​​​​​amazing connections. In the fall of this year I will be heading to ​​​​​​​Guatemala for one book, India for two books, Indonesia for one book, and I have three others waiting to be confirmed in Brazil, Peru and an island just outside Turkey.

I travel by myself to these places, it is extremely important that I trust who I am going with and the connections I make. I feel so protected and guided when I am doing this work that I have absolutely
no doubt that I have found my calling. When I am in these schools, I feel more alive than I have ever
felt in my life.  When I hug the children and we play, my heart feels so full, it just might burst. 
This is why I do this work. This is why I sold everything I own, and save all the money I make to travel
and publish these books.

I returned home on February 26th of this year, and now my focus is to get the word out about these books, to get them selling and start raising money for these schools through them. I am working two waitressing jobs to be able to pay for the cost of publishing the books, to pay for craft shows and festivals, and everything else included in starting a new business, as well as save for the fall when I head out to visit the next schools.
I no longer own anything of value that I can sell so I need to work harder this year than last, but this doesn’t worry me. I am so trusting that this is the work that I am meant to do, that I know everything will fall into place just as it is supposed to.

As I mentioned I am alone in this venture. I pay for everything out of my own pocket, and I manage
​all the business end of it as well. I created my own website, do my own social media, all the accounting paperwork, etc. I eventually hope to be able to afford to hire people who know these areas of work and can help me make these books a success.
My dream is to have them selling consistently enough to create a somewhat substantial and dependable income for these schools.

I want to help these children have a good future; for their countries
to be safe
and their homes to be secure. It starts with their education.

Heidi-Marie
xoxo
  

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Check out my
YouTube channel!

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