[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
25065: Wharram - News - In Haiti, Education Key to Better Life and Future (fwd)
>From Bruce Wharram <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In Haiti, Education Key to Better Life and Future
10 May 2005 15:23:00 GMT
Source: NGO latest
After the flood, 20-year-old Pradhally Nicholas had to move to
Port-au-Prince, 90-miles away from home in Gonaives, to resume his college
>From March 29 to April 9, Donald Tatlock and Melina Pavlides, CWS Emergency
Response (ERP) staff, together with Martin Coria, Associate Director of the
CWS Social and Economic Development Program (SED) traversed the Northwest
region of Haiti with CWS partners Service Chretien d'Haiti (SCH) and
Christian Center for Integrated Development (SKDE) visiting local community
groups which CWS supports.
The September flood triggered by Tropical Storm Jeanne that left some 3,000
dead in Gonaives (Haiti's 4th largest city), disrupted lives in countless
and profound ways. But the disaster's effect on schools may have been one of
the most devastating impacts for Haitians who value education of young
people as the way to a better life and future for their country. In
Gonaives, the flood damaged more than 30 secondary schools (high schools)
and several universities. At the same time it added to financial burdens of
families struggling to meet their basic day-to-day needs as well as paying
for the education of their children.
Through its partners SKDE and SCH, CWS has channeled emergency assistance to
some 5,000 flood-affected families living in and around Gonaives. The
assistance included food and non-food items, as well as micro-credit inputs
that help families pay for school for their children and other necessities.
Secondary school in Haiti costs roughly $50 - $70 Haitian ($6.50 - $9.00
U.S.) per month for one child -- a major challenge in a country where 65
percent of the population earns less than $100Haitian ($12 U.S.) per month.
In many cases, several members of a household pool their money to send one
child to school, often having to choose who to send and who will have to
stay at home to help the family in other ways.
After the flood, twenty year-old Pradhally Nicolas, who grew up in Gonaives,
was forced to leave home to finish his studies in the country's capital,
Port-au-Prince, 90-miles away. Although Pradhally misses his family and
friends back home, he also realizes how fortunate he is to be in one of the
best schools in Port-au-Prince. "Many of my friends had to wait several
months to go back to school because of the storm and some had to repeat
their courses," he said. "Some schools in Gonaives are still damaged."
For people in rural communities getting an education is particularly
challenging. Rural Haitian youth often travel many miles by bus or even foot
to get to school everyday.
For many living in the Northwest and Artibonite Departments, the nearest
city is Gonaives. Children going to secondary school or college in Gonaives,
live with relatives, family friends, or in school-run housing. Due to
extensive flood damage and the economic impact of the storm on thousands of
families, many students from rural communities had to return home. "We have
to buy supplies and uniforms, as well as pay the school fees,
transportation, and lodging," said a parent of a student in the Hope for
Bayouhon co-op, which CWS staff visited. "The flood and drought is making it
almost impossible for many families to afford school."
CWS is assisting local communities in building capacity to provide
educational opportunities for children and adults in the Northwest and
Artibonite regions. Persons who receive literacy training from CWS partners,
staff primary schools and teach adults in classes usually held in local
"For schools to thrive in these remote, rural areas there have to be enough
teachers, books, and school supplies to sustain them," said an elder of the
village in Bombardopolis. There also have to be incentives to get people to
stay here and not go to the city. "There is not enough work or opportunity
here, nor do we have modern amenities like electricity, running water, good
roads or transportation. A lot will have to change."
CWS initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands will help
alleviate economic hardships and improve food security for some 5,000
families in Haiti's Northwest and Artibonite Departments through 2008. CWS
receives major support from Foods Resource Bank for this program.
[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of