School in the US is hard. I mean they expect students to come to class EVERYDAY, sit in an air conditioned room with new textbooks or E-books, absorb information provided to them by a highly trained professional and THEN the Department of Education has the audacity to expect students to take tests to prove their learning or to write a research paper using the vast amount information found on our technological superhighway and then synthesize that information down to cohesive thoughts and produce that information in an gradable form like a paper or abstract. Also, they expect the kids to eat that awful free or reduced cost lunchroom food and drink a pint of milk EVERYDAY. Who would do that to a kid?! Oh and did I mention that this is a FREE education that every red-blooded American is entitled to?
…and then there is education in Haiti.
Education is NOT free. If you don’t pay, you don’t learn.
Textbooks are NOT free.
Lunch may or may not be served as part of your tuition rate.
Resources for research are NOT readily available.
Haitian classrooms consist of partitioned areas with a chalkboard and benches, no A/C, electricity only on occasion, usually no Internet connections and often no decorations.
Why in the world would a kid want to go to school in Haiti?
Jared met an AMAZING young man in March named Remy. Remy acted as a translator for their team and I had the chance to spend some time with him when I went in June. When Jared met Remy he had not eaten in 5 days. He had been kicked out of school because he could not pay his tuition. He had snuck BACK INTO SCHOOL because he wanted to learn. He had been kicked out of class again. He had snuck BACK INTO SCHOOL AGAIN because he didn’t want to fall behind… even though he didn’t have the money to attend.
Remy never complains about anything. Unless you ask, you would never know what he is going through. He wears joy like no other person I’ve ever met.
Remy wants to be a doctor. He wants to make a difference in Haiti and is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met.
He has been fortunate enough to have his high school and community college education sponsored thanks to some folks that learned about him after the team returned in March. I asked him in June, what do you want to be when you finish school?
“A doctor,” he replied.
“Well, what are you studying at school in St. Marc?”
“Computer Science,” he replied.
Me: “Ummm…how’s that going to work?”
“I’ll finish, go to work and save to go to med school,” he replied.
Remy is an eternal optimist. He is an example of everything that is good in Haiti. He is passionate about helping others, he tutors, he has an insatiable desire to learn… and he is just an example of what so many kids are hoping to have a chance at in Haiti.
Education is highly valued in Haiti. Haitians understand that to improve their country, to improve their personal situations, they must first be educated. However, this is not an option for many families.
Give Us Hope Mission, like many other international organizations, provides the opportunity for families to sponsor a child’s education for $1 per day. This covers tuition, books, a teacher and lunch; but truthfully it covers so much more. Sponsoring provides that student with hope for the future in a situation that has been hopeless for a long time. Sponsorship provides security for that student and at least one good meal a day. Sponsorship provides a way out of poverty and ignorance and allows Haitians to begin to rebuild their communities and country. Education allows them to take ownership of their world and empowers them to effect positive change that will last a lifetime.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a soda but the next time you buy a Coca-Cola at the gas station, stop and think about how much of a difference that dollar is making. Are you ending hunger? Are you educating a willing learner? Are you providing books for students? Are you providing hope to a kid like Remy?
Or are you merely pouring into a multimillion-dollar drink franchise?
You have the power to make a difference. What are you going to do?