There is no public education in Haiti. Wikipedia reports that international private schools (run by Canada, France, or the United States) and church-run schools educate 90% of students. Haiti has 15,200 primary schools, of which 90% are non-public and managed by communities, religious organizations or NGOs. The enrollment rate for primary school is 88%. Secondary schools only enroll 20% of eligible-age children. We were told if you have a 6th grade education there, it's like the equivalent of a doctor in the United States. These 6th grade students read and sign all pertinent paperwork in the household concerning all matters. We spent lots of time in the primary school but we were also fortunate enough to visit the newly built high school. They were only able to accommodate 7th grade, but planned to have 7th and 8th grade next year and continue adding a grade each year. The students were so respectful and thankful to be in school. It was amazing.
Being privately owned, these schools usually require tuition fees. Along with the cost of transport, books, and the mandatory uniform, it is very hard for Haitians to send their children to school. Here's where sponsorship comes in. The following comes directly from the Haiti Outreach Ministry website.
The HOM/MICECC schools give students an opportunity to succeed that they may not otherwise have in Haiti. We currently have over 1,200 students enrolled in the primary schools in three locations; Cité Soleil, Terre Noire, (Blanchard) and Menelas (Repatriote). Our students enroll in pre-school classes at age three and continue until grade six. Because of the quality education available at each of the schools, parents are eager to have their children attend. Each school is able to enroll 60 children per registration period, but they receive many more applications. The education the students receive gives them the opportunity to develop and enhance the talents the Lord has given them. Not only are the children learning educational subjects such as math and history, but they also receive Biblical lessons. We are primarily a Christian ministry; the educational programs are extensions of that. The children are taught Bible stories and verses, as well as lessons important to leading a Christian life. The students are able to spread the Gospel to their families and be a light for Christ to those around them.
The sponsorship program makes the educational goals of HOM possible. Through their sponsorship donations, all students receive academic instruction in a Christian environment, a hot lunch, vitamins, books, classroom materials, health care exams, and Christmas and birthday celebrations. After leaving primary schools, students may continue their studies through secondary school, college and trade or vocational schools.
The cost for sponsoring a primary school student is $30/month.
All of us who spent time in Haiti have sponsored children. I hope my own sponsorship of Lory and Obed (currently in Preschool) can continue through high school! Here are some pictures of us with our sponsored children.
Up Next: Haiti...Political Unrest
My final installment of seeing Haiti through my eyes!