Is Vocational Education Possible in Haiti?

I became an agriculture teacher after finishing college, getting married and moving back to the region that I grew up in. Becoming an ag teacher had never been on my radar throughout college but seemed to be the best way to use my skill set once I moved back to our rural corner of the world. I am and have always been PASSIONATE about vocational education. We need a world that works. I see kids everyday that could benefit from developing a skill in school that can provide them with income after graduation. I see kids willing to work and learn that are waiting anxiously for someone to teach them.

…and I saw the very same thing in Haiti and it

broke.

my.

heart.

 

The Haitian people are the most hardworking and loving people I have ever met. They are also some of the poorest people I have ever met. Eighty percent of the population lives in poverty and more than 40% are unemployed.

Let me stress this point, the people of Haiti desperately WANT TO WORK however without a viable skill set there is not much opportunity in this underdeveloped nation.

So the ag teacher in me wants to know—how can we fix this?

We have willing students and they have opportunities to use their potential skills to make their lives better but they have no teacher. How are we going to fix this?

We need people like you and me that are willing to share our knowledge of mechanics, welding, carpentry, agriculture, EVEN JEWELRY MAKING with the people of Haiti. We need people willing to give of their time to develop a skill set in those that are DESPERATELY HUNGRY not only for food but for knowledge.

I am a firm believer that education is the answer to poverty. We have willing students. Who will be the willing teachers?

I am asking for guidance–I know I have movers and shakers that read this blog and I know I have people who are just as passionate about vocational education as I am out there reading along. How can we get vocational leaders, colleges and workers involved in the development of skill sets for the Haitian people? Some of these skills, like stick welding, can be taught in a few short months. How can we get organizations involved in “teaching these people to fish” rather than doing the “American thing” and giving them a handout. How can we motivate others to give them a “hand-up” instead?

Now it’s your turn, I want to hear from you in the comment section! 🙂 If you are willing to help or if you know of an organization, school or company that may be willing to help train Haitians in vocational skills please let me know! I would love to see mechanic, agriculture or welding students doing a semester of teaching in Haiti just like other majors do overseas.

Stepping off the soap box and putting on my work gloves,

Jillian

Welders at work in Montrouis, Haiti

Welders at work in Montrouis, Haiti

A carpenter's shop in Montrouis. Everything is made by hand--no power tools!

A carpenter’s shop in Montrouis. Everything is made by hand–no power tools!

Workers preparing the ground for a western style plumbing system at Life Connection School.

Workers preparing the ground for a western style plumbing system at Life Connection School.

Men turning land by hand in  preparation to double crop a plantain orchard.

Men turning land by hand in preparation to double crop a plantain orchard.

Builders constructing a church in L'Artibonite, Haiti.

Builders constructing a church in L’Artibonite, Haiti.

 

The mortar mixer's feet. How many of us would be willing to work barefoot?

The mortar mixer’s feet. How many of us would be willing to work barefoot?

Girls in the mountain village above Arcahaie, Haiti that came in from the bean field to see what was happening at the church.

Girls in the mountain village above Arcahaie, Haiti that came in from the bean field to see what was happening at the church.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Is Vocational Education Possible in Haiti?

  1. This really is sad. I agree with you that there should be vocational training in our schools. As for Haiti, it might be easier to introduce vocational training there than it is here simply because our school system is to focused on everyone getting an equal education (even though they tell us that we’re all unique… figure that out).

    • I agree Ashley on both parts. I see kids here in the US that fall through the cracks everyday because of a lack of vocational training.

      I am hoping that there will be people willing to help with the Haiti plan. Jared and I are working with Give Us Hope Mission to develop a sustainable farm in the Haitian community. However the need is SO GREAT for people with vocational skills to come in an help that it is overwhelming. I am hoping and praying that people will be willing to serve–either from home or actually in country.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. A substantial number of Haitians think that vocational education and manual labors are for those who have learning disability aka cretin; thus, any form of manual labors is beneath their dignity and the reputation of their family that expect their offspring to be bureaucrat, Engineer, Lawyer, medical Doctor, Doctor in Philosophy, Politician, Officer in the military, Diplomat, Clergy, Technocrat, Physicist, Chemist, Pharmacist, Scientist, Writer etc..even-though few of those professions are available in Haiti without a good connection. This mentality lead to massive Haitian brain drain primarily to Canada and Europe and few went to the US, Latin America etc… Ironically it is not uncommon to meet some of them in those foreign countries driving taxi, working in factory while trying to meet the requirements for their profession in those countries.

    • Thanks for your comment. I am not as familiar with the Haitian culture as some of the others in my group so I fielded your comment to them. Here was the response:

      “That is definitely true. But, the people we are providing vocational education to are the “least of these”. For example, we hope to employ a farmer whose home is a cave on the side of a mountain. His family has been brought down to live near the farmland he will work on. We are providing an opportunity for him to earn an income to pay for his two boys’ education. His two sons want to be teachers, so him having the opportunity to work, provides an education for his children is cherished. Also, the purpose of the farm is to provide livestock and crops for the community he lives in at no cost. So, even though he may in some people’s eyes work a job beneath them, he will be providing food to support an entire community. Even though he may be looked down on by people in the community. What’s important is how God sees him. If vocational education opens the door to just one person being able to take care of their family, then that’s enough to make a positive change towards Haiti’s future.

      What I’m basically trying to say is: 1. We are just doing what God is telling us to do. We are not rationalizing anything. If God says do it we are doing it. 2. We can’t think of what everyone else thinks only God, because we will never measure up. 3. We are not trying to fix Haiti. We are elated to help 1 farmer, and if his two sons become teachers it is a blessing. My favorite quote to sum this up is by Mother Teresa: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

      Vocational training is just casting a stone into the waters. Even just one person’s life improving and getting saved is a celebration for Heaven.”

  3. Exacly,Myself can’t change the world. Therefore, after reading and pondering on different ideas,it’ll be blessings upon me if I help someone in Haiti getting a vocational skill to make his living. I’m going to work on it now from the grace of Jesus. Brother

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