Haiti – Les Cayes



Primary Contact Person:   Joyce Pipkin          Phone Number: (803) 413-3128          E-mail: joyce@educationequalshope.com

Site Description:

Les Cayes is a city and seaport in southwestern Haiti with a population of about 70,000 people including its outlying areas.  It is located in the far southwest section of the country 120 miles from the capital of Port-au-Prince in the Sud Department.  Haiti has a rough, mountainous terrain and the entire country is slightly smaller than the State of Maryland.  It is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with a total estimated population of 10.4 million.  60% of its population lives in the outlying rural areas, 80% live under the poverty line.

Generally in Haiti, only 76% of primary school-aged children are actually enrolled and, less than 35% of those who enter will complete primary school.  At the secondary school level, approximately 20% are enrolled; thus, the opportunity to attend school is highly valued.  Public schools represents 10% of the available education and although there is no tuition, fees are required to be paid for textbooks, uniforms, supplies, etc.  A wide variety of private schools make up the remainder of the educational institutions; some are church schools, others are privately run and frequently staffed by non-certified teachers.  Tuition/fees in the Les Cayes area for Kindergarten and Primary Schools generally range from $100 – $250 each year and for Secondary Schools $250 – $450 each year.

Ministry Description:

Our ministry in Les Cayes is focused on education sponsorship for the active members of our local partner church, Paroisse St. Sauveur and outreach to the local community.

Each school year, tuition assistance is provided to eligible students of all ages who attend a variety of local schools at all levels ranging from Kindergarten to University. The students have been active members of our partner church, Paroisse St. Sauveur, for at least one year.  Many of the members of the congregation are unable to afford to pay the complete cost of tuition, as well as required textbooks, supplies and school uniforms for their children and a number of our students are self-supporting young adults.  Without our tuition assistance program, these children and young adults would not be able to attend school.  Prior to the beginning of each school year, the Priest-in-charge of the parish meets with each of the families or students requesting tuition assistance; their available resources and circumstances are carefully evaluated and their financial needs are identified.   For the past several years there have been an average of 100 students participating in this sponsorship program.

As part of the outreach to the church members and local community, our ministry also supports and coordinates health education workshops, business education, women’s programs and business development opportunities, as well as a Vacation Bible School program each summer for 200-300 children and youth.

Our board members personally fund their visits to our ministry site 2-3 times each year;  participation in these short-term missions is open to anyone who is interested. A variety of mission team activities include teaching, coordinating children’s programs, health education seminars, medical clinic assistance, English language workshops, craft projects, home visits, taking videos of our sponsored students and giving the gift of time to share God’s love and hugs with our kids!

The greatests needs for this ministry are PRAYERS and financial support for individual student sponsorships as well as general contributions to the tuition assistance fund.