Haiti Update - May 2017
by Vernon Giesbrecht
AN EDUCATION CRISIS – The month of June marks the end of the school year. No doubt, you are proud of your children’s/grandchildren’s academic accomplishments. We can and should be grateful for the education opportunities we have in this country! However, 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 earns 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; 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 and related projects in developing countries, we are also committed to meet people’s physical, social and spiritual needs through compassion ministries. In 1996, a School was established on our property in Haiti beginning with two classes of 30 students each. (See April’s Update regarding its founder.) Since then the School has grown to an enrollment of around 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 Education Department’s standards. A Sponsorship Program is in place, giving compassionate individuals and churches the privilege to invest in the lives and futures of our students at $45/month. 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 their 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 seminars for the teachers, and parents on how to support their student. 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.