By Cate and Peg
Can you imagine:
…your child can’t go to school because there is no school nearby
…the closest school charges more than you make in a year
…your child can’t go to school because there are no teachers
… your child can’t attend school every day because they have to share a uniform
…sending your 15 or 16-year-old to a large city by themselves to continue their education
…not having basic reading, writing and math skills and still having to support your family
In our sister parish your donations have made education possible for 4500 students in 24 schools with approximately 100 teachers for the past 19 years. We have seen the changes and growth of the educational effort during our visits. In addition to the literacy levels of students, Fr. Eddy has shared that your support of education has impacted the community in the following economic and cultural ways:
- Rural, poor children can attend a school.
Schools within Haiti lack government funding. They are limited or non-existent in rural areas. Catholic schools play a vital role in Haiti’s educational system. They are present through all regions of the country, accounting for 15% of the schools nationally.
- The teachers earn a salary that allows them to take care of their family.
Almost 60% of Haitians live below the national poverty line of $2.41 per day (USD) and more than 24% fall below the national extreme poverty line of $1.23 per day. Your financial support allows those teaching in Notre Dame de Lourdes to support their families and the local economy.
- The students receive a good training.
In Haiti the illiteracy rate is about 39%. The 4500 students spread across our 24 chapel schools are receiving basic elementary education due to your support.
- The parents are very glad for their children to grow and stay in a good school.
Many of the children in school in Notre Dame de Lourdes are receiving a higher level of education than their parents and grandparents. In our most recent trip, the advance travel team met with parents, students and teachers in the chapel of ChaCha. Parents repeatedly expressed their support for building a school in their village citing that it would give young people a reason to remain in the village.
Also, parents without a formal education learn from their students who share what they have learned in school including life impacting information such as preventative health practices.
- The country benefits from good training that we give to students.
(Example Doctors Amilien, Franckel) Haiti benefits from an educated population that provides more skilled and technical resources. We acknowledge that unemployment is still a major factor that needs to be addressed. But a better educated population has the potential to make better decisions that impact employment growth.
- With your donations, we have the young formed (educated) in the parish even if they do not live directly in the parish.
We have heard from previous priests, and through Fr. Eddy and the Archbishop, that without our support the schools (and the parish itself) would not exist. And children from outside the parish take advantage of the education offered in Notre Dame de Lourdes. This offers more tuition income but also builds a broader population to support Notre Dame de Lourdes as an active parish and school system.
- Schools help prevent juvenile crime.
Fr. Eddy has said that juvenile crime issues have been reduced within the parish. Both Father Eddy and parents attribute this to having the children in school and increasing the level of education within the parish youth.
Renmen Bondye, Sèvi Lòt Moun, Fòm Disip
Love God, Serve Others, Form Disciples.