4 years ago, my family opened a private school in Haiti. This year we are having our second graduation. Here are pictures from last year's (+ more info). AMA
I am posting this in response to that post about the Red Cross.
I was born in Haiti and have been an American citizen since 2008. 4 years ago, my family opened a school in a poor town there. This town has no running water, no electricity. The people there live off of the land and a nearby river. Nobody thereknows how to read.
Our primary school has been built and is continuing to be funded completely out of pocket: Teachers, food, construction, uniforms, etc...
Last year, we held our very first graduation, it was a bit of an emotional time personally being a part of something that will have such a positive impact on so many people.
The album i'm posting is hosted Facebook. You should be able to see from my history on here and some of the pictures in the album that i am the same person.
This is the link to it here <---
If you would like to donate towards our efforts, I just set up a page on our site here <-- We are a 501c3 Organization.
Please let me know if I should have posted this in a different subreddit, I posted it here because of the "album" element.
Currently on mobile but ill try to address all your concerns.
Our EIN is 45-5611617 Our fb page can use a whole lot more work. Our website too.
The people in that town cannot afford to pay tuition. Even with the free tuition they weren't interested in sending their kids to school. Not until we started offering free food to them.
How can we afford it? We do what we must. This is one part where I became incredibly proud of my family, especially my parents. My extended family in Haiti also contribute their time. I've come to realize that when you really want to do something, you'll figure out a way.
The good thing is that the land was already owned by my deceased grandfather so we didn't have to buy that.
I agree with you that there are plenty of scams in Haiti. We are not one of them. I was born and raised there, my family has a real desire to make a positive impact. We've been doing that for years on our own, and we intend to continue for as long as we are able.
We are not a big organization. We do not pay ourselves. Nobody gets paid but the teachers, construction people, et ...
You have no 990s filed and no record of existence, other than on Guidestar, so I'm guessing you very recently incorporated as a 501c3?
Last year. It took two years to get done. It was tough and expensive but you can't imagine how happy were when we finally got the papers from IRS
Well there's much more the two of us could say, but I'll just say that there's a reason that schools charge tuition, even if it's nominal, and sustainability and avoiding aid dependency are just two of the small reasons. Good luck to ya, mate.
I hope you're not getting the impression that I disagree with you on the fact that we need to charge tuition.
We need to, for the reasons you stated and much more.
If I am in charge of making decisions for my family, and we have no money. I have no education, and not much value for it. Neither did my parents and theirs before them. I already have a hard time feeding my family.
I would not have much reason to send my kid to that new school opening nearby even if it was free. Especially if I can have my kids stay home and help make money for the household. But maybe if on top of being free, they are also feeding my children. Then maybe I might consider it.
This is how they think. This is what we have to work with.
Honestly, I was mostly just concerned in proving that you're not a scam, as I have caught many that were flat up scams and dozens more groups which straight out LIE. And I don't mean the exaggeration and twisting that the Red Cross does, I mean straight up lying.
You're clearly not a scam, though the lack of photos and history is still a bit of a red flag.
But I'm not going to debate finer points. You and I both know that these things are much harder than the average folk think, and that there are no easy answers.
Carry on. :)
:) thank you
I still don't believe you. Seems off.
Help me understand your concern.
The school is growing, more students, and that's a good thing. But that means the needs have also increased. We have reached out to some other Nonprofits for assistance, which seems to be a very long process.
If anybody would like to contribute anything - ANYTHING (food, clothes, books[[preferably in French]], other resources. Please let me know.
Also, if there's a better subreddit I should have posted this to, I'd like to know that as well.
What do you guys think of English books/stationery? I have some French stuff as well.
Anyway just let me know if you have a list of things that you really need and I will try my best. :)
We do not teach in English, most of the teachers do not speak/read English. But I'm very interested in the French stuff you have.
Lets be in touch via PM.
I've PM'd you.
Thank you will respond later.
How much is your family worth? Opening a school anywhere can't be cheap.
We are middle class. My mom ended up picking up an extra job specifically for this reason.
Is there an enrollment fee for joining your school?
Nobody is charged anything. They wouldn't be able to afford it.
How do you know the school will help? How is the syllabus determined in order to ensure this?
I realize I didn't go into much detail about how it already started helping. Nobody in that town knew how to read before the school. Now, the kids do. That's just one example.
The school has already started to help. It's a primary school, so think elementary school. I'm not that much involved with the curriculum, but the people who put it together were already teachers from a school in a nearby city. We hired them and sometimes provide transportation into Dubedou (the city the school is in)
Litteracy seems to be a big part of it. I've heard that keeping schooling going can be very dependent on the socioeconomic situation at home. How does the school deal with what must be a difficult home life? Is there a high drop-out rate, even at the level it teaches at or is it not an issue?
Thanks for the replies.
That was one of our concerns too. Last year we started this project we are calling co-op. We really want to help the families of the students. So we provided goats to each family who wanted to participate. They will raise and mate those goats. Some of them have already multiplied.
You don't realize how much a single goat can change the life of a family over there. That's milk, over time... Food and etc...
There's a lot that will need to happen in order to completely help that town. For example there is no electricity or running water. But anything helps.
What do you think of the recent situation with the disappearing Haiti funds from FIFA?
I saw the trailer for a movie coming out soon named "The Martian". In it, they talked about how it is in our nature to want to help out each other.
But Wherever the opportunity presents itself, there will always be people to take advantage of general human kindness.
That one in particular hit home for me, so I'm unhappy about it. But it only encourages us to keep doing what we've already started. There are people doing good things in Haiti. They deserve more attention and support than those who aren't.
Is your nonprofit religious? Or does it affiliate with the church)es) of the island?
It's Christian based. But it does not affiliate with any church there specifically.
There is a Haitian man working on a construction site next door. He always has a smile, but speaks no English.
How can I say, "Hi" or "welcome" or something nice to him?
Lol, he more than likely understands French. If it's still morning, say Bonjour. If its night time say Bonsoir.
If you want to be more friendly than "professional" then speak Creole and say "Sak Pase!" But Yell it lol. His response should be "nap Boule!" that means what's up, and the response translates to "we're burning"
Is there anything you need specifically for the school? I would think getting certain items is hard for Haiti?
For the people in the town.. Clothes. Especially the kids. So many naked children. Shoes, sandals. Everybody is barefoot all the time. For the school, school supplies. So papers, pencils, crayons. Also desks... General office stuff. I wish I wasn't on mobile so I could answer you more thoroughly but I want to make sure I'm being attentive to this post.
I have lots of kids clothes and shoes I could send. What's the best way of going about it?
Can you pm me? I have a windows phone and can't figure out how to do it on this app. Thank you btw!!!
Do you teach in Haitian Creole or French? I've heard the education system is biased toward French which makes things very difficult for the lower classes.
We teach in French. The kids already know Creole and the teachers speak to them in creole. But let's say for Language Arts, they'd be learning that in French just as I did when I went to school in Haiti.
I can see what you mean that French makes things difficult for the lower classes. Because unless you went to school, you do not speak french. So the people from the town where the school is at wouldn't make it very far in any of the cities nearby. With this education, they will have that chance.
How's the Griot out there?
Lol the griot is better in other parts of Haiti.
Why did your family choose this town to set up a school in? What percentage of school age children attend the school? Does the government of Haiti give any sort of help for people that try to do these things?
We chose that town because my father's family is from there. Nothing has changed since my grandmother lived there besides there are less horses now from what I remember when I was young.
I don't know the full population so I can't really tell the percentage. But I walked through some parts and saw some kids just standing by their houses, some naked. Those are all kids who should be going to school.
How do you think the lessons make a difference in that child's life?
I like your question because of how hard it is to answer.
Their day-to-day lives does not require that they know how to read, history, etc...
But it is the single most important thing they will need in order to be able to make something of themselves and to help improve the town they live in.
Very cool what you are doing! Where do you get your teachers from? Are you trained educators?
God's work. There is a nearby town named Gonaiives. The educators are from there and yes they are trained.
What challenges have you run into dealing with government corruption? Or have things been rather quiet?
There have been some groups who come to our school saying they would like to help us out.
When we talk, their intention is to buy the school from us for a cheap price and add it to their list of projects they've done with money donated to them.
Would you ever branch off to other parts of the Carribean?
Do you think anyone will truly donate to Haiti again after all the scandals which makes Haiti seem like a goldmine to loot people ?
I think there is more good in this world than we give it credit for. The bad will never stop, but sometimes they get way more attention than the good.
The risk with being kind is that somebody will take advantage of you. The impact you have on those who benefit from your kindness will always far outweigh what has been lost through the bad people.
But I'm confident that people will continue to give to Haiti.
What is the state of affairs in Haiti currently? Is it really one of the poorest countries in the world?
There are good and there are bad. People make the most of what they have. You'd be surprised what people can be happy with in comparison to what we enjoy here.
That being said, in general Haiti could use some genuine help.
Er, private school? What makes you think most Haitian kids could afford that? Aren't you blocking the chance of success to the kids most in need?
The kids cannot afford it. We do not charge them to attend.
Can you donate your charity to Nepal country? Hope you know what happened
Something about this seems a bit...off.
What is your EIN number? Why do you only have one photo on your Facebook page? Why are you the only school in Haiti which doesn't charge tuition, when literally every single other school, including missionary schools and NGO-supported schools all charge at least a small amount of tuition?
Between uniforms for that many kids, food on a daily basis, a salary for the teachers, books, supplies and construction, you're looking at thousands of US dollars a month. How can a middle-class Haitian family afford to bleed out, say $30,000 a year out of pocket, plus expenses affiliated with being a 501c3 such as accounting fees, plus personal expenses?
I don't mean to call you out necessarily, because if you're legit, you're awesome and you don't deserve it, but there are sooooo many scams in Haiti, and you give all the appearance of being one of them (whether or not you are).
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