Haiti’s mountainous terrain led the Taíno people to call the land Ayiti, the land of the mountains. Despite boasting mountain peaks that reach over 8,000 feet high, the entire country is smaller than the state of Maryland. Nearly 11 million people call Haiti home, but roughly 80% of Haitians live beneath the poverty line and only about 60% of Haiti’s residents are literate (CIA World Factbook). To put this in perspective, imagine if 4.8 million of Maryland’s residents lived in poverty.
Throughout Haiti, only 76% of primary school-aged children are enrolled. Of these children, only 35% complete primary school. Statistically, only 27 of 100 children will complete primary school. Approximately 20% of eligible students are enrolled in secondary school, so this opportunity is highly valued. While there is no tuition to attend public school, there are fees for textbooks, uniforms, supplies, etc.
Savanette is located in rural southwest Haiti about 6 miles northwest of the coastal town of Les Cayes. An eight classroom building for St. Jean Baptiste School was completed in 1990, giving children in the Savanette area their first opportunity to attend school!
The school partnership which transitioned to Education Equals Hope in 2016, centers on providing a quality education in a safe and loving setting for primary students grades 1 – 6 and preschool classes for ages 3, 4 and 5.
The generosity of our donors supports not only academic expenses like salaries, textbooks and classroom supplies, but also a meal each school day for all students. Sadly, this is the only meal many students will eat that day. Just as proper nutrition is pivotal to the health and development of these students, so too does the meal aid their ability to focus in the classroom.
Two programs help strengthen the community. A goat program provides a sustainable source of food and income with SJBS orphans the first to receive a goat. Wonderful donors made it possible to give 11 goats and 50 pair of chicken to students in February 2017 to help replace animals lost in Hurricane Matthew (Oct 2016). In 2012, St. Jean Baptiste organized a micro-finance program with business education and loan components to help adults create an income generating business and provide for their families.
The school now offers classes through 11th grade with the cost for these upper grades being funded by student tuition. This is a huge success story for the community!
School Budget: $49,500 provides a quality education for 265 primary and preschool students plus a daily meal for approximately 457 students including grades 7 – 11. Funds are also needed to replace the primary classroom building roof which was blown off during Hurricane Matthew; for now, the salvaged panels have been reattached and are very leaky…
Site Coordinator: Susan Meeder