August 2012 Newsletter
by Rev. Vernon Giesbrecht
Dear Friend of Double Harvest,
AN EDUCATION CRISIS – As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti also stands alone in the Caribbean with the highest rates of illiteracy and abject poverty. These two statistics are closely linked. Over 50% of the population lives with under $1.25/day and cannot read or write. The key to reversing this downward spiral is quality education. However, Haiti’s public education is in disarray. Costs remain high for poor families (50% of the population); access is difficult in rural areas; public schools cover only 20% of the demand; the quality of education is often poor due to untrained teachers and deficient curriculum; basic services are lacking in the majority of the schools – sanitation, equipment, supplies. For many observers, it is the top-priority issue for the future of the country!
MEETING THE NEED – While Double Harvest’s central mission is to develop agricultural projects in third world countries, we also desire to meet people’s physical, social and spiritual needs through compassion ministries. In 1996, the Aart Van Wingerden School (named after its founder) was established on our property in Haiti beginning with two classes of 30 students each. Since then the school has grown to an enrollment of over 500 students, offering Pre-School – Grade 13. The goal remains to provide a quality education, trained Haitian teachers, a Bible curriculum, decent facilities, a nutritious noon meal, and medical care by our on-site clinic. The school has been rated in the 95th percentile of the standards the Haiti government has established. A Sponsorship Program is in place, giving compassionate individuals and churches the privilege to invest in the lives and futures of these students. Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to our Sponsors for their faithful support!! To give value to their education, student’s families pay a reasonable tuition and provide uniforms which are required in all schools. Check out our website for more information on the school.
GOING BEYOND EDUCATION – Leadership is important in any organization or institution and we are blessed to have a talented, compassionate, and spiritually committed principal directing our school. He leads by example. Yes, he desires that the students receive the best education possible in a country such as Haiti. But he also challenges them to develop integrity, honor and respect for the teachers and each other. These values fly in the face of what is often practiced in the culture. Above all, he desires that each student come into a relationship with God through Christ, for this is the key to moral, ethical and spiritual transformation. The Bible classes that are taught support this, as well as periodic seminars for the teachers on infusing a Christian worldview into their classes. We pray that the years spent at our school will shape both the knowledge and character of our students, as they will affect the future of their country.