Playing for Change: One Seed at a Time
Last week marked a very meaningful occasion for Zynga – and we are not talking about Alec Baldwin being invited to leave an American Airlines flight with a potential triple-word score in Words With Friends. On December 4, nearly two years of plowing, planting and building – both virtual and real – came to fruition with the dedication of L’Ecole de Choix, bringing quality education to children living in the most extreme conditions of poverty. The new school, named “The School of Choice” in English, was established in Mirebalais, Haiti, thanks in part to the collective imagination and generosity of Zynga players and a wonderful and long-term partnership with FATEM, a Haiti and Boston-based non-profit organization.
Bright school buildings at L’Ecole de Choix
Through Zynga.org, players of Zynga games are given a chance to contribute to charitable causes by purchasing exclusive virtual goods within Zynga games, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting non-profit organizations working to address development and education needs globally. Through FarmVille’s Sweet Seeds for Haiti campaign, players purchased a variety of specially made seeds that could be planted and harvested, including beets, potatoes, corn and yams – with more than 309,000 players contributing since Zynga.org kicked off in October 2009. In addition, players of Mafia Wars came together to support the school through their own in-game campaign, which included purchasing a Sky High or Sugar Glider. As a result, Zynga players helped build an actual school for the children of Haiti, L’Ecole de Choix.
A few members of the Zynga team took a break from dreaming up the next Zynga.org campaign to volunteer at the dedication festival of the school for the students and their families on December 4, 2011. For many of the children, the carnival – like the school – was a brand new opportunity to have fun and to play with clowns, snow cones, cotton candy, musical chairs, face painting and more. The ceremony featured Haitian dignitaries, including the Mayors of Mirebalais and Port au Prince, and recognized the contributions of the implementation partners, including DePaul University, FATEM, and Zynga. But, of course, the best parts of the show were the children performing their local dances. All the kids who participated went home with more than just a prize. They went home with a smile, knowing they are learning at a school that is very likely to dramatically change their lives.
Students at the school range from ages 4 to 9 (grades pre-k to 4th)
Thank you, Zynga players, for generating real-world resources for positive change the lives of children and families in Haiti and in other parts of the world through your generous donations. While the Sweet Seeds may have been harvested by now, we are inspired and humbled by the seeds of hope you have planted in Haiti for future roots.
For those who have already helped or others who have not yet had the chance to be a part of this exciting partnership, Mafia Wars is thrilled to announce that it will be launching its final L’Ecole de Choix campaign of the year shortly. Stay tuned for more information and let’s play!