How Can a Generation Be Expected to Save Themselves, if No One Teaches Them How?
You may not know a lot about Haiti, but you see it on the news. We’re all aware of the relentless natural disasters, government instability, disease, and poverty. But what we rarely hear about are the good news stories coming out of Haiti, and that’s the significant improvements we’re seeing in educational opportunities for children who are unlucky enough to be born into the poorest place in the Western Hemisphere.
Haiti has over 15,000 primary schools, but according to the latest statistics, 90% of those schools are privately run. With little-to-no government support, the schools are owned and operated by nonprofit organizations, communities, and religious organizations. With a literacy rate of just 57% for females and 64% for males, it’s clear that many children are growing up without receiving an education.
Why Haitian Kids Can’t Get An Education Without Your Help
In order to get more Haitian children going to school, we need to understand why so few of them are going in the first place. While there isn’t a singular reason why this is the case, it’s fairly obvious that at the root cause, you’ll find money — or, lack thereof.
Because the government doesn’t fund most schools, parents have to pay for their children to attend school. If they can’t pay, their kids can’t go. Additionally, many families rely on their children going to work so they can feed themselves — they are literally working to pay for their own meals, simply to survive. In rural areas like La Plaine, where our school is located, poverty rates are higher and it’s even more unlikely children are able to attend school. Currently, there are over 400,000 Haitian children who manage to survive without parents and 200,000 that are not attending school.
Now, I’d like to get back to that good news story I opened with. Even in difficult circumstances, the thing these kids want most is to attend school. Unlike many children around the world, they would give almost anything for the opportunity to attend class, learn, and have a healthy lunch Monday through Friday. The children who attend L’Ecole Dinaus Mixed genuinely feel like they are the richest, luckiest kids on the planet and wear their school uniforms with pride.
Could you imagine having to spend nearly all of your income to send your children to school? That’s what the majority of Haitians are faced with. For most, it’s not even an option if they want to survive. Or, the children have no parents at all. It’s important that people from around the globe take a step back and realize how lucky most of us are, and how blessed we are to live in a country where our children attend school for free. Sure, we pay taxes, but being low-income doesn’t mean your children don’t get to go to school.
Giving disadvantaged children an education is like shining a light into their lives. Without change, without knowledge, how can these children ever choose a different path? They can’t. And that’s why it’s essential that the rest of us come together to collectively change the entire world.
The other good news here is how easy it is to make a difference. Would you believe that just one American dollar is equivalent to 77 in Haiti? That means our dollar stretches very, very far. A small donation is literally enough to feed 140 children lunch for two weeks so don’t think that because you can’t give a large amount that you can’t help. Every single dollar we raise goes directly toward keeping these children in class and ensuring they’re served a healthy meal every single day — something they would otherwise go without.