We believe that education changes lives, so when we discovered that the school system in Haiti was failing its students, we knew something had to change.
On a trip to Haiti, our founder, Fran Leeman, visited children in our child sponsorship program.
After giving one of the sponsored children, Chedlie, a letter from her US sponsor, he realized something was wrong. This young girl was visibly upset.
Fran asked Chedlie what was wrong, but she kept quiet. After a few minutes of silence, Fran asked, “Chedlie, can you read?”
She slowly shook her head no.
This was when the New Life for Haiti team realized most students in the fourth and fifth grades were illiterate.
How did this happen?
Well, Haitian schools aren’t exactly like what we may be accustomed to in the United States.
Most are overcrowded, often packing fifty to seventy children in one class, with one teacher.
Teachers lack access to the most updated teaching methods, primarily relying on lectures to instruct. Children are forced to learn through rote memorization and recitation.
And with limited access to free public schools, only 20 percent of parents can afford to send their children to school, a school where they may not even learn the basics like reading and writing.
Knowing the complexities the communities we serve face, in collaboration with local leaders, we decided to build a school where students can attend for free and receive high-quality, Christ-centered education.
Under the direction of New Life for Haiti’s executive director, Marnie Van Wyk, the School of Hope began.
This school incorporates innovative learning techniques and maintains a small student-to-teacher ratio, ensuring the highest quality education to empower future leaders.
It provides free yearly teacher training with the most updated teaching methods and philosophies.
Children who attend the School of Hope receive a weekly meal of protein, rice, and beans and a daily protein-rich snack on the other days of the week.
School uniforms, books, and supplies are covered, and children receive two new pairs of shoes each year.
When medical crises arise, children have access to transportation to the nearest hospital, with costs covered by sponsors.
A well on campus provides clean water to teachers, students, and the surrounding community.
And students receive Christ-centered, gospel-filled education, transforming their hearts and their loved ones.
We believe in picking one place and making it better, and with the School of Hope, the impact we’ve made together is profound.