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Education Program

History: In 1990, JoAnne Kuehner, Founder and President of Hope for Haiti, first visited Haiti while volunteering on an emergency airlift mission organized by AmeriCares. The poverty of the country and her people had an immediate and lifetime impact on her. JoAnne was determined to do what she could to help the Haitian people move out of destitute poverty and she deeply believed that the only way was through education.  Hope for Haiti was thus founded with education being the foundation for all programs and initiatives, with a focus on the Haitian children.  Hope for Haiti started by sponsoring a handful of children to attend school each year but has since grown to support 40 schools and 400 teachers, thereby helping to provide an education to over 10,000 girls and boys each year.

Objective: To provide the children of Haiti with access to a quality education.



Why invest in educating the children of Haiti?

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has one of the worst education systems in the world. The current education system functioning in Haiti is doing so with virtually no Government involvement. Over 50% of school aged children, averaging well over 1.3 million, do not have access to an education. Less than half the population of Haiti can read and write, and Haiti has the lowest enrollment rate for primary education in the Western Hemisphere. How can a country be expected to get out of poverty and develop as a nation, if the majority of their population does not have access to even a basic education? The country needs the support of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Organizations to provide support in mending the Haitian education gap.




Why does Hope for Haiti focus on supporting private schools in particular?

Although the Haitian Constitution explicitly states... education shall be free. Primary education shall be compulsory. State education shall be free at every level, the reality of the Haitian education system is far from what the founders of the 1805 constitution had intended. According to the most recent World Bank Haitian Education Report, public schools can accommodate less than 10 percent of the school age population. Unfortunately, the Haitian Government lacks the necessary funds to provide a free public education to the Haitian children. Therefore, the children whose parents are financially capable are enrolled in private schools (parochial, and for-profit). Today, private education represents over 75 percent of primary school enrollment and 82 percent at the secondary level (World Bank, 1998).  Hope for Haiti made the decision to partner with community and religious private schools in order to increase access for poor children to receive an education. By providing necessary assistance to private schools,  Hope for Haiti can help to increase student enrollment as well as the overall quality of education.





Why does Hope for Haiti support subsidizing teacher salaries for private schools?

Early on, the Founder of Hope for Haiti, JoAnne Kuehner, discovered that investing money in teacher salaries was ultimately the best way to ensure that enrolled children would receive a quality education. Private schools continue to suffer with lack of funds to sustain their operations. With no government aid, private schools solely depend on the parents of students to come up with a yearly tuition to help pay the teachers' salaries and fees for school supplies. Far too often the parents have no financial means to pay the school, leaving the teachers with no salary and with little incentive to continue teaching. By financially subsidizing teacher salaries and working in partnership with each school community, Hope for Haiti strives to support the following:
  • Job security for teachers;
  • Reduction in teacher turn over rate;
  • Qualified and properly trained teachers;
  • Educational access for children, regardless of family's ability to pay tuition;
  • Consistency and dependability for parents, teachers, and students to know that the school will continue to function throughout the entire year.


What are some of the challenges within the education system that Hope for Haiti is working to address?
  • Teachers: The overwhelming majority of Haitian primary and secondary teachers are poorly qualified in both private and public schools. Often the teachers are not only unqualified but also face extremely difficult work environments, with little to no access to school materials and very inadequate salaries.
  • Facilities: It is well acknowledged that the Haitian education system is far below International standards and that the majority of school "facilities" are beyond inadequate to provide a suitable learning environment. School structures range from being made out of coconut and banana leaves to corrugated metal roofs and concrete blocks. Many lack electricity, bathrooms, clean water, food, first aid, benches, chalkboards, and daily classroom necessities.
  • Overage Students: With little to no oversight in education on a government level mixed with abject poverty, schools face a problem with overage students in classes. In Haiti it is not unlikely to graduate High School in your early to mid 20s. This is a testament to both the poor quality and lack of access to education that families and schools must face.
  • No Standards: The Ministry of Education unfortunately operates with a bare minimum requirement for quality standards. There is little to no school monitoring or evaluation from outside parties to offer assistance or guidelines for improvement.
  • Access: Haiti is still incapable of educating over 50% of her school aged children - an enormous number of boys and girls with no hopes of receiving even the most basic of education.


How is Hope for Haiti overcoming the challenges of the Haitian education system and is real progress being made?

Hope for Haiti partner schools receive financial funding for teacher salaries and often support for specific community or classroom needs (i.e. construction, school materials, benches/blackboards, children's shoes/clothing, first aid supplies, clean water, etc.). The Haitian education system is a continual challenge, but Hope for Haiti is dedicated to working to improve the quality and access for the Haitian children. Hope for Haiti believes in partnerships and collaboration, most importantly in the area of education. We work to bring other organizations together who are in the education field to avoid overlap and wasted resources and to encourage non-profit organizations, community leaders, and government representatives to work together.


It is through partnerships that Hope for Haiti can receive the most return from our donors' investments by challenging organizations working within the Haitian education system at all levels to join forces towards a common goal of improvement and success. This challenge is where Hope for Haiti has seen the most progress made in providing the environment for non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and the community to solve the problems together.



Is there a solution to the failed-education system in Haiti?

Hope for Haiti believes there is a solution to the failed education system and continues to do its part with the loyalty of our donors, as we strive for increased access and quality within the Haitian education system. We see successes every year with over 10,000 boys and girls receiving an education and over 400 dedicated teachers and directors who believe that education paves the country's road to development. Although Hope for Haiti works towards the ultimate goal of providing all Haitian children with the opportunity to receive a quality education, Hope for Haiti takes pride in each additional child's enrollment and success.



How can you continue to help?

  • Monetary Donations: All donations made for education go directly to providing greater access and increasing the quality of learning to Haitian girls and boys through the support of their dedicated Haitian teachers.
  • Make A Community Commitment: Each of Hope for Haiti's community partners have specific development needs in education, healthcare, clean water, etc. Please contact the Hope for Haiti office if you would like to become a special partner to one of our school communities.
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