Much of the population of Haiti is illiterate. There are no laws requiring parents to send their children to school. Even if there were, it would be difficult to enforce, since parents have to have the means to pay for school. Today the rate of illiteracy is dropping, because of mission schools, which enable children to go to school for free.
Mission of Hope started our first school in September, 2000, with 365 students in preschool through third grade. Each year we added a class until we encompassed all classes through “Philo,” the final year of high school.
Quality of education is of utmost importance to us. Normally, only the elite in Haiti have access to a top notch education. It is important to us that all children have access to the best education possible, no matter their status in society or financial resources. Each year, Mission of Hope is recognized by the regional school director as “the best” school in his district. Among other things, our students pass national exams year after year at a higher rate than the other schools.
The Mission has a great staff, strong discipline in the school and parents or caretakers are required to participate in their child’s education. Unfortunately, there is still a high rate of dropout in the schools. Parents sometimes do not place the proper importance on their child’s education and will keep a child home from school to fetch water and perform other chores. Educating parents and enforcing attendance rules is critical to the child’s success.
Girls, many times, end up pregnant and drop out. Even in the best circumstances, it is difficult for a pregnant girl to continue going to school. In Haiti, the physical discomforts and physical challenges are intensified by the lack of infrastructure, sanitation, climate control, transportation, social “taboo” and poverty. Again, education is vital for these young women, who often carry the burden alone.
Another factor that often interrupts a child’s education in Haiti is a form of child slavery referred to as “restavek.” Many times impoverished families will send a child to live with a family of greater means. It is promised that the child will be put through school as “payment” for their services. The child then is expected to work in the host home, usually cleaning, washing, carrying water and caring for younger children. Often the child is abused and does not even go to school. The child’s family is often unaware of this or they look the other way, because they simply cannot adequately care for the child themselves. By providing an education to children living at home, Mission of Hope International is helping to reduce the number of incidences of children being sent away to live as restaveks.
You can help to educate the children of Haiti by visiting our donate page to make a donation towards education today.