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An Update from the Haitian EcoVillage School – 2/22

This update is provide by NDPC member Gordon French, courtesy of the Haiti EcoVillage School website. NDPC has been partners with the school since 2014.

The Long Journey to High School Graduation Begins 

Sixteen students from the EcoVillage School passed the national high school entrance exam last summer. We’ve been wondering what their next chapter looks like in light of present conditions in Haiti. We asked our Community Liaison reporters Guerda and Rosenel to find out.

Fifteen of the sixteen are attending school. Six attend a lycee, Haitians often say “classical education,” or our equivalent of college prep.  Nine are in a trade school with assistance from the EcoVillage School principal who was able to get scholarships to reduce costs to their families.

 Choudenailove Jean wants to become a doctor and the lycee is her path toward university and medical school. Her biggest adjustment is the distance of her high school from home. The EcoVillage School was a short walk; her new school is 90 minutes each way. Whenever she came to class in the EcoVillage School there was always a teacher, but sometimes teachers don’t show up at her new school. This is a common problem since teachers are paid by the Haitian Ministry of Education, which is not functional right now. It is a credit to the teachers who do show up, because they have no prospects of being paid for their work. She knows that her journey will be difficult because her parents are too poor to help her. But what saddens her the most is when she sees children who live near her who are unable to attend school because their parents cannot afford it.

Demane is father to Choudenailove and another child who is in the 9th grade at the EcoVillage School. He works his family garden to meet the daily challenge to put food on the table. “The situation is so severe that people cannot afford to buy food because it is so expensive,” he says. Demane fears that he will be unable to pay for Choudenailove’s high school from the meager output of his dry land. And a second child will be ready for high school next year.

Political turmoil has compounded the overwhelming sense of insecurity felt by all Haitians who live off of the land. “When the children leave home, we are anxious because we do not know if they will return,” he says. “Children are stressed and can’t study well. The situation in Haiti is so dire, only God’s intervention can fix it.”

The experience of the Jean family is echoed in the stories of others.

Dayouseline Dolce, (15) attended the EcoVillage School for 3 years and is now attending high school in Hinche. She walks 2 hours each way. Her ambition is to become a nurse.  She worries that their family’s lack of means may mean that a nursing education is out of reach. Meanwhile, Dayouseline walks her miles, applies herself to her studies and hopes for her future.

For her mother, Louisemene Lamour, worries during this period of lawlessness in her country. She waits nervously, praying that Dayouseline will be safe each day. Louisemene’s worry is compounded by the trauma of her sister’s sudden death in the rubble of the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake.

Dayouseline believes that her years at the EcoVillage school are the reason she can dream of a career as a nurse. “I want to thank the people of Atlanta who made my education possible. May God bless them and continue to inspire their support.”

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