The stay-at-home request came to an end in Haiti earlier this month when the schools opened up again. Our young adults in university headed back to the cities around Haiti where they are studying. And our other students gathered up their school gear plus masks and headed back to school.
Admittedly, we were all happy, but a little apprehensive about sending everyone back out into our towns and into school again. Due to the crowded streets and crowded schools, there is absolutely no possibility of social distancing. So, we spent time going over the principles of hygiene with the kids, send them off each day and pray for God's protection and for them to use wise judgement!
At first we were told all the kids grade 3 and lower would automatically be passed on to the next grade in the new school year. That was a relief for us to not have to send out our little ones. Then the schools realized if they did that, they wouldn't get paid for those students for the rest of the school year. So they called them all back to school to finish out last school year. It has not gone over real well in the schools where we have little ones but we are doing our best to comply.
School in Haiti is very different from a lot of other countries. It is not a right for all children, it is very much a privilege. In our area of Haiti, there is no free education. We must pay a tuition for each one of our students from Kindergarten to University, plus buy uniforms, books and school supplies. And the costs seem to rise as the cost of living rises around us. It costs us an average of $300 US per child per year to send our 57 students to school.
One good thing in Haiti is that the upper levels of education, for instance our university kids, only cost a bit more per year than the high school kids. This is what makes it possible for us to allow them to get some higher training so they can have a profession when the leave the HOH. But for many families in Haiti, the fact that education is not free and costs even a small amount of tuition means they cannot send their children to school.
Another hindering factor for many kids is the distance they need to go to school. We are blessed to live in a small village that has many schools to choose from. Most of our kids can walk to school and back each day. Some walk a couple of blocks, others a couple of miles, depending on their ages and levels of schooling. The kids who attend in the towns and cities must take motor taxis there and back each day. That added cost is not something all parents are able to deal with.
The only reason we can do this for the kids who stay with us long-term is because you, our partners, give financially to make this happen. We are so thankful to you for your partnership in giving the hope of a future to these precious ones. Many of them have had none or at the least little education before illness, disease or disabilities brought them to the HOH. While they are with us receiving hope for their other needs it is a great blessing to be able to help them with hope, through an education, to help them go further in life. Thank you for helping us make this possible.
If you are interested in helping us send our students to school, we would love the help. Once we finish up last school year in a few weeks, we will be going right into the new school year and will once again need these tuition fees. Follow this link to see the ways you can give to help.