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