3rd grade student. 

A Young Girl’s Struggles Demonstrate the Importance of Hope for Haiti’s Education Program

Pierre Francois, Education Program Coordinator – October 25, 2013

3rd Grade student.
3rd Grade student.

“Education is the key to success.” For there to be a certain balance in society, people must have access to education. However, in certain countries economic difficulties make the path to education a difficult one.  For example, when you consider the amount of children that regularly attend school and the literacy rate in Haiti, it is clear that, for many in Haiti, education is still a kind of luxury. By providing teacher salary subsidies to 25 schools in Haiti’s South, Hope for Haiti helps to increase access to education.

On a routine site visit to one of Hope for Haiti’s partner schools in Baraderes, I had the chance to interview the school Director, Sr. Affricot Fredony. The sister introduced me to a 1st grade student that wished to share some of her difficulties with me.

Kelita Beauvil is a 1st grade student at a school tucked away in the rural mountains that Hope for Haiti has supported since 2006. Kelita is the youngest child in a family of five people. According to the Kelita, her parents lack the means to take care of her family.  Last year Kelita graduated from the 3rd year of preschool, and moved on to Primary school.  At her school, each student is typically required to pay for his/her own graduation fees. During my visit Sister Affricot explained that, last year, Kelita’s parents didn’t pay her graduation fees and never gave the school an explanation as to why.

3rd Grade students. An Agronomist by training, the Education Program Coordinator, Pierre Francois poses with students at another rural school. Kelita Beauvil with school director Sister Affricot.
3rd Grade students. An Agronomist by training, the Education Program Coordinator, Pierre Francois poses with students at another rural school. Kelita Beauvil with school
director Sister Affricot.

Despite the family’s economic troubles, Sister Affricot explained that the school accepted Kelita into its 1st grade class. She explained that there are two main reasons the school made this decision. The first reason is that the school receives financial support from Hope for Haiti. This relieves the burden on the families in the community who are unable to pay their school fees. The second reason is that Sister Affricot claims that she holds the same values as Hope for Haiti.  Namely, the promotion of widespread access to education, particularly in Haiti’s rural areas, is extremely important to the Sister.

In closing, the example of Kelita Beauvil demonstrates that it isn’t sufficient to simply look at the disease. The most important thing is to find a cure.  Hope for Haiti works hard everyday to find practical cures for some of Haiti’s worst socioeconomic problems, including lack of access to education and healthcare.

 

Marie Francelene Essais

“This is My Haiti” – Marie Francelene Essais

Hope for Haiti’s education program leads to a special nursing scholarship. Marie Francelene Essais is a nursing student at the University of Notre Dame in Les Cayes, Haiti. The 23-year old grew up in Laurent, about 15 minutes away from Hope for Haiti’s headquarters in the Southern Department. In a household with 1 sister and 2 brothers, Marie’s mom works hard as a small-scale cook selling in the markets of Les Cayes and Port au Prince. Despite her efforts, Marie couldn’t afford to pay tuition.

Both Marie’s mother and father inspire her because they always supported her. Despite being unable to attend school themselves and possessing an extremely low literacy level, “my parents always help me because they believe in me.” Through her involvement in her local Church choir, Marie met long-time Hope for Haiti program partner Father Max Mathieu – who helped her continue through secondary school despite financial hurdles.

At the College Saint Laurent, Marie met Hope for Haiti. “Patrick, [Hope for Haiti’s former Program Director], came and visited my eleventh grade classes. I knew Patrick, and then Paula [Program Manager],” because Hope for Haiti supported the school through teacher salary subsidies and support for materials and books. “I finished high school and passed my state exam, allowing me to continue to higher education,” says Marie proudly. Hope for Haiti provided Marie with a scholarship to attend nursing school in Les Cayes.

“I dream of healing accident victims, especially doing their sutures, and I always stop and try to help when there is an accident in my community.” Through nursing, Marie hopes to have a better life for herself by studying and working hard. For the future of her country, Marie hopes that the country changes so there is more opportunity for ambitious young people. “Haiti doesn’t have what it needs for the people living here, but it is very beautiful. Hope for Haiti helps people who don’t have the means to help themselves, especially for children going to school.” Marie has every confidence that she’ll become a great nurse, and we hope to see her at our Infirmary in Les Cayes after graduation!