The Education Mission of Friends
By Committee Member, Lee
Did you ever have some school kids [or maybe your own] rap on
your door and ask for a donation to help send the high school band
to the Rose Bowl, or help put in $1,000,000 field turf on the
football field? Children in Haiti would have a difficult time even
imagining such things. Many, especially in rural areas, have no
chance to attend school, and those who do often complete their
formal education at the end of Grade 6. The schools usually have no
or limited electricity, and few textbooks. And yet the children who
are able to attend are the lucky ones.
Friends of Haiti (FoH) Green Bay began sending volunteers to
Haiti in 2001, primarily medical personnel. Early on, FoH expanded
into support for environmental improvement, and education.
All our work is done in Thomazeau, a village, as well as the
name of an area in east-central Haiti.
The village of Thomazeau has about 5000 residents, and the
surrounding area may contain another 50,000. The village is on the
plains east of Port au Prince; most of the rest of the area is
mountainous. The village is more easily accessible and prosperous,
and its parents and children have more educational choices than
those in the mountains.
The FoH educational goals are modest, when looking at the big
picture. We do not have the kind of money to build and maintain
schools, or pay for teacher salaries. We are able to support
existing schools, and in some cases, subsidize individual
students. As in any thoughtful organization, we wish to make
the best use of our limited resources.
FoH is involved in support of an elementary and secondary school
in the village, and three additional schools in the mountains.
Members of the education committee typically visit some or all of
the schools each spring and fall. We require and analyze
information from the schools, on attendance, teacher
qualifications, meal programs, amount of tuition paid, other
sources of income for the schools, and number and per-cent of
children who pass the national exams.
The number of government [public] schools is growing in Haiti,
and perhaps some day all children there will receive formal
schooling. Cell phone towers have gone up, and maybe some day
children in Haiti will commonly have internet access, and all the
information which comes with it. We are a long way from that day,
however, and in the mean time the Friends of Haiti intends to do
what we can to further quality education in Thomazeau.
Friends of Haiti is a
501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PO Box 1174 | Green Bay, WI 54305 |