Mr. Edmond, a teacher in St. Marc, has invested his time and knowledge for the past 12 years educating poor kids in the 6th grade. Regardless of the paycheck and the limited or non-existing didactic material he has consistently worked towards improving his students ability to succeed. The monthly paycheck of $75, when available, is less than half of what a teacher should normally make. His number one objective is to raise the chances for his poor students to enter 7th grade at the Haitian National School, where tuition is not required. The local Haitian public school supplies secondary education to 5% of the demand. The kids unable to pass the admission test to enter the public system or unable to pay tuition at private schools do not continue to 7th grade. Mr. Edmond and all the other teachers committed to providing education to the poorest kids are working in substandard environments without resources.
We have started a Book Bank to provide the kids with textbooks. Some of the recipients we serve went through primary education without books. After an ongoing process to develop an ideal list of school books we distributed more than 780 books in 2011. This year the book bank will distribute almost 3000 books. All the material is approved by the Ministry of Education. The editor and supplier of the books has generously granted discounts to support our book bank initiative. In June we traveled to Haiti to retrieve the books from the kids. Many were doubtful of the ability of the kids to successfully maintain the books. 98% of the books were returned and with the exception of 5% of exercise books. The remaining 93% will be redistributed in September 2012.
The Book Bank needs empowered teachers. We have enrolled two teachers to a 3 year program, 5 hours daily, to become certified teachers. Many teachers need proper training. Without long term solutions the quality of education will always be impaired. The work of a qualified teacher is the determining educational experience that will lead the kids not only to take full advantage of the Book Bank but also to become responsible parties in the fabric of a just society. When I was a child I had admiration for the smartest teachers. I can’t imagine going to 4th grade without school books and sitting in a classroom with a teacher who only has a 9th grade level of education. In Haiti this is often the standard. We can lift this standard. With carefully managed budgets and local resources we can change the destiny of 192 poor kids currently at the school we serve.
All the missions to Haiti have been extremely successful. Our families, friends, and friends of friends have donated to support our initiatives. Last year more than 100 kids were able to have school books, some of them for the first time. Often we recognize incredible human potential in the kids we are able and unable to serve. We continue to promise to them obtainable objectives to maximize their intelligence for a sustainable and just world. To their credit, without incentives, 98% of the books were returned on the sole idea that they would become custodians, able to pass down the same opportunity to other kids. Without you, the kids, the teachers and the Book Bank program will not be a compelling solution against poverty.
For the 2012-13 school year we have promised to fund books for 192 kids, teacher materials, supplementation of teacher salaries, tuition to 3 year programs to achieve teacher certification, and continuing education programs for teachers. Additionally the program will fund and provide basic equipment and supplies, after school tutoring for low-performing students, training to increase teacher proficiency in testing preparation and materials, classroom materials and a school library. The purpose of this program is to improve the systematically low standards of impoverished schools due to lack of textbooks, didactic materials and qualified teachers and facilitate implementation of the curriculum set forth by the Haitian Ministry of Education. Please donate on our website www.https://haiti-now.org
In the near future we would like you to join us in Haiti to distribute or retrieve the school books. It will be a great experience to directly help poor kids by strengthening their access to quality education, to implement your valuable perspective, to better resolve the many challenges and to enjoy the rewards of accomplishing great work. Thank you for taking the time and a special thank you to Katie, Giuliano, Bonnie and Yvonne.