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25905: EchodHaiti.com: (announce) "Back to School" Retail Education Program (fwd)
"Back to School"
Retail Education Program
by Ginau Mathurin
Around this time of year, my thoughts turn to my childhood in Haiti, when one of my favorite times of year was right before school reopened. I looked forward all Summer every year to September when my father would begin what would become a ritual. Today in America, that feeling comes back with some sadness every year when I open my Sunday newspaper and read the "back to school" ads.
The ritual would begin with my father picking me up for a trip to the barbershop,where, with manual hair clippers, the barber would render my young head bald, "pou retire chale," to take off the heat. Then, my father and I would head downtown to buy school books and school supplies, new shoes and khaki socks, and, what I would look forward to the most, sheets of brown paper and glue to make book covers.
The afternoon was spent with my mother taking inventory of what was still needed, which usually was the new khaki uniforms, short sleeve shirt and shorts, that were required by my school, Ecole Jean XXIII, elementary school. I would spend the rest of the afternoon with my father carefully making book covers. The books were neatly piled up as they were completed. leaving the last task of writing my name on the cover, inside the book, and on the front of the book opposite, the book's spine.
Today, those memories come with some sadness as I think of the state of Haiti's education system. In the past twenty years, a whole generation has grown up with little or no education, and that generation prepares to raise a new generation without schools, or the bare minimums for a basic education. The feeling of glee is being replaced by despair, or worst, indifference.
The American commercials show the joy of parents getting their kids ready for school. Everything from designer clothing to laptops to iPods are being sold as back to school necessaries. Sales are everywhere; ruled paper, boxes of crayons, pens and pencils, notebooks and folders, glues and rulers, for less than a dollar.
EchodHaiti.com, in collaboration with HaitianDiaspora.com, encourages everyone to think of the education of the children of Haiti, and to send them some educational supplies. We are not asking to receive supplies, nor are we advocating any charity, NGO, or government agency. We are asking that you send to a family member, a former neighbor, a niece, a cousin, an acquaintance, or any organization, school, or person that you trust. Some pens and paper sent to an alma mater could benefit a whole neighborhood of children. Some students use their one pen until the last possible drop of ink. Five dollars spent at Target could send pens, rulers and notebooks to a child ready and willing to learn. As parents purchase ten notebooks for $1 for their children, at the "back to school" sales, perhaps one could be put aside for a child in Haiti. One dollar a week spent on school supplies for the next ten weeks could be a great help.
EchodHaiti.com and HaitianDiaspora.com will post weekly "back to school" sale specials from retail stores, such as Target, CVS, Rite Aid, Best Buy, Staples, K-Mart, and others.
© EchodHaiti.com, August 2005
"Kote tout Ayisyen se star"