DreamRoot continues its work in Haiti, supporting Rose and David in the Les Cayes community, especially as the people of Haiti continue to experience multiple conflicts.The Economist (starting around minute 12) sums up the recent situation in Haiti well:
“Over the past 12 years, Haiti has endured earthquakes, hurricanes and outbreaks of cholera all while political crisis have engulfed the country. The country has created a fertile breeding ground for gangs which roam the country with impunity. The rates of murder and rape on the island are exceptionally high. …. Haiti has a long history of problems, but the situation has really deteriorated since July of last year when the then president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in office. And this came on top of COVID. So, you had increased economic issues, a political vacuum and this all drove up gang membership and violence. Then in September of this year, the Prime Minister ended fuel subsidies since his government could no longer afford them. And young Haitians took to the streets…”
In Haiti, the school year begins in September, but with the unprecedented political and economic instability, and subsequent gangs controlling much of Haiti, schools across the country were not able to start their 2022/2023 school year. Instead, students across the country have spent the first half of the school year at home.
Students are quickly falling behind in their studies, so DreamRoot has continued to partner with local leaders Rose and David in Les Cayes to help provide tutoring and learning sessions for their students throughout the Fall so they can continue with their education.
School Year Soft Launch
During the last week of November, the gangs announced that they would pause their self-imposed restrictions during the FIFA World Cup. The area schools decided to take advantage of this opportunity and decided to do a soft launch of the new school year. Students have been trickling back in with more coming each week. This courageous move is despite the widespread threats by the same gangs to shut down schools.
In a recent conversation, Rose shared more, saying, “Everyone is taking a chance right now. School and parents. Especially since the gangs are saying that after the World Cup it's back to business. They announced on the radio that if parents want to take this time to send their kids to school that's fine, but not to pay a gourd/dime because they plan on closing down the country again. The threat is that any school they hear of working – they will personally close down and will make sure the school never opens again. The usual threats. I hope we make it the rest of the year. It would be a huge disappointment if not.”
Barriers to Education
As of today, Rose and David have been able to continue operating their school and are moving forward with the school year. Unfortunately, there are still several families who have not been able to send their children to school because they cannot afford materials like schoolbooks and even components of the school uniform, including shoes and socks. Depending on the grade level, it can cost around $90-140 for school supplies and schoolbooks per child. With an estimated 60% of the country’s population living below the poverty line, and this number growing during the recent instability, quality education has become out of reach for many.
Transportation has also been a barrier, especially now that gas is still over $15 per gallon. Despite the massively impeded circumstances that school leaders, families, and their children are experiencing, they continue to press forward as best as they can to fight for their right to education.
DreamRoot will continue to collaborate with the school leaders to provide extra tutoring support and resources to children in need, with hopes that the school year will continue to move forward unencumbered by gang control. Read more about the need for program in article found here. And read about the results of tutoring program during the previous school year here.
These children are the next generation of leaders and education is a critical success factor for them, their families, and communities, to ensure that Haiti and other countries around the world have a bright future. Accessible quality primary education is a basic requirement and starting point for social and economic development to take place. This is why education is a critical area of focus for DreamRoot as we continue to press forward in our mission.