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The Power of Education
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Its no myth that the most powerful tool an individual can possess is their education. Education has the ability to empower a person to analyze their surroundings, to open the eyes of children to possibilities they never dreamed they would have, to take communities out of poverty and to develop leaders. For something so powerful and essential to creating a better world, it’s something easily taken for granted.
At HAC-Haiti we live in a world where education is the most valuable item a person can possess, where parents line up outside our gate egger and anxious to sign their children up for classes, where students walk miles across dusty roads, cross rivers clutching their new school supplies, and leave their family responsibilities at home on the farm and in the marketplace just for a chance to attend primary school.
We live in this world because in Haiti over 50% of primary school age children are not enrolled in school. Because, at the primary level, less than 10% of schools are public. Because 30% of children able to attend primary school will not make it to third grade; and because 60% will abandon school before sixth grade. We live in a world were the population’s illiteracy rate is almost 60%. And where one-third of girls over six will never go to school. We live in this world because in Haiti education is not guaranteed; its privatized and too expensive for a population where 78% live on less than $2USD a day.
We have seen the value education has to a family. We have seen the dedication and devotion parents, many of whom have never learned to read and write, have taken to ensure their children receive an education. We have seen a country make the collective decision that through education, their circumstances will change. When we decided to offer tuition free education to our community this year we saw the overwhelming response from students and parents, and we are happy to announce that we have enrolled over 250 students aged 2 to 17 in primary school. For many of our students, for the first time in their lives, they will have the opportunity to receive an education.
In a post earthquake world, where so much has already been taken from the Haitian youth, the one thing that can’t be taken away is their education. It’s our responsibility to ensure our students receive the best education we can provide. Its our responsibility to ensure we don’t repeat the statistics, that girls feel comfortable coming to school, and that more than 40% graduate from the 6th grade.
To fulfill that responsibility we need a place for our students to sit in the classroom.
We need chalkboards so teachers can have the tools needed to engage their students.
And we need bathrooms so that we can protect the health of our students and grow as an institution.
But to meet those needs. We need you.
While you might not be able to be here physically you can help us change the lives of our students. You can help us build a place for our students to sit, and you can help us empower our teachers to show our students they don’t have to start working at 7 and through education they can change their world.
While our needs are great, your simple contribution can bring us one step closer to closing the gap, and can show our students that they are not alone in their struggle for knowledge. Nelson Mandela once said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” And we are asking you to help us change their world.