Access to Safe Education in Haiti
In the severely impoverished community of Cite Soleil, Haiti where violence reigns as part of daily living, World Hope International (WHI) continues to serve children by providing access to safe, quality education. Despite barriers to accessing the community due to gang violence, WHI staff has persevered to improve school facilities, provide access to technology, implement vocational training, and lead protection programming.
Of primary concern in this slum community is the safety of the children, who are often pressured to join the gangs that govern the area. WHI implemented protection programming to offer an outlet for children, and some of their parents as well, to spend time off the streets in a setting where they could be introduced to a vocational trade.
Through the generosity of donors, funds were given to support this protection programming and to provide computers and a computer lab for the school. Despite delays in launching the building due to the ongoing violence, WHI staff persisted in implementing both the building projects as well as the after-school programming.
While the construction of the computer lab ensued, children, and some of their parents, began a floor tiling course as part of the protection programming WHI offered. The tiling course not only provided a safe environment for extracurricular activities in the community, but it also provided participants with a skill that they could use for economic advancement.
The computer lab progressed according to plan and when it came time for the floor to be completed the participants of the tiling course were ready to offer their services. What a joy it was to see them giving back to their community with the skills they had learned through WHI programming. A beautiful floor demonstrating their hard work and commitment to their community is now proudly displayed in the new computer lab of the Cite Soleil school in Haiti. Those who completed the floor tiling course were so enthusiastic about their achievement that they planned a graduation ceremony to celebrate the well-deserved accomplishment.
In addition to the training program and building of the computer lab, 25 computers given to the school are now safely secured in the computer lab for educational use at the school. The school coordinator said, “I want to thank you for investing in the community. The school could have been closed already if it weren’t for your partnership. But because of WHI, we truly have hope for Cite Soleil.”
Bullet holes in the wall of the compound of the school make it hard to forget the dangerous context in which the school resides, but through generous donors and partners of WHI, there is now an oasis in Cite Soleil providing hope and opportunity.
In order to maximize the impact of the sponsorship program, WHI focuses on partner schools and specific villages, varying the program slightly to adjust to cultural specifics and community needs. This lets us attend to children’s holistic needs, including building wells in schools or villages, providing training for parents and community leaders, and more.