Why I Donate: Laura Burns

Our monthly donors are our biggest asset: they provide us with a steady monthly income to cover our small overhead costs (mostly transfer fees and monthly banking fees), and help us save up for the next scholarship distribution.  Read below to see why one of our monthly donors, Laura Burns, thinks investing in Haiti Scholarships with a monthly donation is a worthwhile cause!

I donate each month to Haiti Scholarships because I truly believe my money is going to support a worthy cause.  Not only do I know most of the board members, but I also personally know several of the students who are benefitting from this program.  When I volunteered in Haiti years ago, I was touched deeply by how wonderful the Haitian people are, and how strong they were in the face of such horrible tragedy and poverty.  Haiti Scholarships allows dedicated, hard-working young people from Haiti to pursue their dreams, and operates with very low overhead costs, so you know your money is going directly to help those in need.  And the monthly donor feature makes it easy for me to donate and track my donations each year, and helps provide Haiti Scholarships with a steady source of donations each month.  I am so grateful that I can contribute to such a great cause!

Click here to read why other donor’s choose to give to Haiti Scholarships, and click here to sign up to be a monthly donor today!

Student in Focus: Pierre Wilby

By Pierre Wilby and Berlyne Bien-Aime

 

Hello,

Here is my short story. Please read it!

My name is Pierre Wilby. I am twenty six years old. I am from Petite – Anse, La Gonave, Haiti. I live in Belval, Leogane. I am living with four people. My mother ‘s name is Weseline Charles. My father’s name is Dieula Pierre. My mom and my dad are living in La Gonave. My mother has eight children in total and my father has three children. They have three children together and I am the third one. I have

eight brothers and one sister.

I was in Wesleyenne of La Gonave for my primary studies and I came to Leogane for my secondary studies. This academic year, 2015-1016, I am in philo at College Phare of Leogane because Haiti Scholarships has been helping me to continue the studies. Because you donate, a lot of Haitian students go to school, they have their school paid. Without your donations, Haitischolarships would not have been able to do this incredible work in Haiti.

Leogane a is pretty town, but I prefer La Gonave. In La Gonave, there are lots of cows, goats and horses.

We have the best watermelon in the country and the world and it is cheap home. You can buy a big melon for fifty or sixty Gourds. And when the watermelons get to Leogane, you will pay one hundred to two hundred Gourds for one big melon, and if you have five Gourdes, you will have a small piece. Williamson is another place in the North of Haiti you can get melon, it is in Archahaie .

La Gonave is an island. Everyone knows how to swim there. If you ever have a chance to visit Haiti, please visit Leogane and La Gonave. You will fall in love with the country for its beautiful , and good people of hospitality.

Before ending my story, please, let me wish you Donors and Haitischolarships Staff members a ‘Merry Christmas 2015 and a Happy new year!’

Thank you for your help!

Haiti Scholarships Pierre Wilby Photo 2015

Please help us continue to provide these life changing scholarships by donating towards our 2016-2017 Scholarship Fund, just click here to make a one-time donation, or sign up to be a monthly donor for as little as $10.00 a month!

Student in Focus: Fleurome Jean Alex

By Fleurome Jean Alex

 

Hello ,

My name is Fleurome Jean Alex. I am nineteen years old. My story is very complicated. I was born in a hospital in Carrefour. I have four older sisters and two little brothers and I am living with two of my sisters in Leogane, Haiti.

My mother’s name is Saintine Rose – Marie. Unfortunately, I lost her on November 14th, 2013 from a heart attack. And my mom had two other boys after me. I was her first kid.

After my mom gave birth to me, I was adopted by my father ‘s wife. The name of my father’s wife is Laimilie Moise. She has four children. And I am her fourth child. My father’s name is Fleurome Alexandre. I am his second child and also living in Leogane.

I was sent to school when I was three years old at Le Mignon Kindergarten. I graduated from Kindergarten when I was six. Then I went to Ecole Freres Louis Borno & Institution Toussait Louverture for my Primary studies. For the secondary studies, I was in College Nouveau Surin Eveillard . After the earthquake in 2010, I was in 9th grade. Our school was totally collapsed and life became so hard, we could not go to school, we lost about five months of classes. The unforgettable earthquake!

A friend suggested me to like HaitiScholarships on Facebook. I applied and I was that lucky boy to be selected for a scholarship. I will never stop thanking you Haitischolarship and Donors for your big support to my family.

In Rheto , I was the third laureate for my school with 1005/1800 Points. In Philo, I was the second laureate , 1050/ 1700 points. I was successful. I just finished my Secondary Studies.

Now , it is time to write another chapter in the book of my life. University time! I am going to University this month in Port- au-Prince to learn accounting, and I would like to know about medicine too. Please, continue the donations to change Haitian’s life. May God protect and bless you all!

I am also the Vice-President of a local organization. It is called OPJDK ( Organisation Progressive des Jeunes pour le Development de K-da ), founded on December 24, 2014. We already cleaned a gutter which was filled with bad and dirty stuff in it and it smelled really bad. Each time heavy rain fell, it caused floods and health problems. For our first anniversary, coinciding with Christmas . We want to clean the area and have a Christmas decoration in a part of our neighborhood because we will not have enough decoration for the whole area.

This is the story of a young and very polite Haitian student, sponsored by

Haitischolarships.

Keep up the great work!!! I am Fleurome Jean Alex!

Jean Alex and Berlyne
Jean Alex and Berlyne

YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.  Continue to support our efforts by donating today.

Mother’s Day: the gift that gives!

Yeye and her mom <3

This Mother’s Day, give a gift that gives back and gives twice: just click on our “donate” button on the right and a mom in Haiti receives the gift of education for her son/daughter, and YOUR mom gets a handmade card from Haiti-it’s a win-win!

Johny Joseph with his beautiful mother

Our students in Haiti worked really hard to make some great mother’s day cards for YOUR mom–donate any amount TODAY and get your hand made card to give to your mom on Mother’s Day.

 

Alex Fleurome and his mom

Follow us on Instagram (haitischolarships) or on Facebook to see more pictures of our students with their beautiful mother’s!

#haitimoms #giveback#giftsthatgive

Renewal Applications are due July 15th, 2014

STUDENTS!  If you are currently receiving a scholarship and would like to receive a scholarship again for 2014-2015, you MUST send in your renewal application by July 15th, 2014.

Click on the link below to fill it out, save it, and email it to haitischolarships@gmail.com.

Haiti Scholarship Application Renewal

 

A wonderful update from Lamarre!

Lamarre gave us such a great and detailed update that I just felt the need to share it almost entirely with you guys.  I hope you each enjoy it as much as I did, and see that your donations are going to some pretty amazing students who are striving to get ahead!

Q. What was the most difficult thing about your studies?

A. The most difficult thing about my study this semester is the Geopolitical and Geography classes.  They are very important classes that I want to master, but it’s complicated too because they give you a short time to do a presentation and the world map is not easy to understand.  …[T]hese are the classes that take most of my time during the semester.

Q. What is your favorite class so far?

A. My favorite class so far is the history of International Relations.  This class shows me the beginning of International Relations around the world and gives me a basic understanding of the system, and I learn many things that are basic in diplomacy, which gives me more enthusiasm to study and know many things about the international society. 

Q. What did you enjoy the most about school this month?

A. What I enjoyed most about school this month was the visit of the UE (European Union) and German ambassadors and they presented a conference about UE and talked about the cooperation between UE and Haiti in different sectors.  The German representative said their visit to the school may be an opportunity to have a relationship between the Haitian Universities and the universities of the country members of the UE.  The conference was done with questions between students, professors, and the ambassadors.  It was a great day, students were taking pictures and relaxing.

Q. Describe your biggest or most difficult project or homework assignment.

A. My biggest or most difficult homework assignment was a presentation about a geopolitical class which asked me to work a lot and memorize a lot, and be able to explain how something on the map and then answer questions during the presentation.  I had to prepare it and I did my best. 

To the donors, Lamarre says:

I have to be thankful to you who make my study possible through Haiti Scholarships, I thank you a lot.  Without you my education would not be possible and I have chance now to make this experience.  You are doing a wonderful work, please keep up the good work.  I can’t thank you enough not only for me, but I also thank you for other Haitian students that you are helping.  You contribute in the reconstruction, the future and the development of Haiti.

I don’t know about you, but I just love reading updates like these from our students.  It fills me with joy to see them working so hard in their studies, and being so dedicated to their education.  In a country where so many other things take precedence, it’s refreshing to see them focusing on their studies this diligently.  Way to go, Lamarre!

 

Why I Donate: Mike

I was thoroughly disgusted by many of the charities and non-profits working in Haiti. For example, there were career aid workers buzzing around in $50,000 SUVs with tinted windows (which I assume were bullet-proof in a largely gun-free country). This wasn’t a singular sighting – they’re everywhere. That’s a hell of a message to send to the people you’re there to help: ‘I’m afraid of you.’

Non-profits aren’t any different than corporations in some ways: Our money reinforces their practices. Give $25 to McDonalds and it will strengthen McDonalds’s practices all the way down to the chicken cages. Give $25 to Komen and you know that it’ll reinforce wasteful practices within the bureaucracy.
I came away from Haiti certain that the best way to give support is by giving the money directly to an individual. I DON’T KNOW where my money is going when I give it to a large NGO. And I suspect they themselves don’t realize where a lot of their money is in the communities.
There are three types of people to whom I feel confident when giving my money: Locals of strong character, aid workers who are particularly passionate, or small organizations run by people whose character I trust.
I donate to Haiti Scholarships because I know Alex. I trust her. I’m confident that she genuinely, in her heart, wants other people’s lives to improve. This is an organization I feel good about supporting, and she’s an aid worker I feel good about supporting.
Further, I met many of the recipients. I know that they are men and women who are burgeoning community pillars still in the process of learning. I know that my own money is going to one particular guy whose character and values I want to support. I also know, personally, several of the other students and I’m happy that I might be able to support them in becoming positive influences in their communities. There are also many students I don’t know, but I trust Alex’s judgment.
Mike volunteered several months in Haiti in 2011 with All Hands Volunteers.  Haiti Scholarships thanks him for his contribution to Haiti Scholarships, not only financial, but also in taking the time to share his thoughts with us!

Why I Donate: Jessica

I have a dear friend named Alex. We don’t speak often, but thankfully, in the Facebook era, we don’t have to. Yes, it’s impersonal, but social media is such a blessing for maintaining a line of communication with friends, organizations, even celebrities, from afar. Alex shared with me about her experiences in Haiti as an All Hands volunteer and I was truly proud to know someone as amazing as her. I was equally impressed when she told me about Haiti Scholarships and her work in building the organization. Work that I can keep up with relatively frequently thanks to the “social network”.

When Alex asked me to write a little bit about my “giving” and why, I knew the answer. I am a talker and a thinker, for as far back as I can remember. I’m simply not a doer. Not yet at least. For now, I satisfy my need to contribute to the world outside of my comfort zone by supporting those that “do.” Though I am apprehensive about the way money is used to “help,” I choose have faith. Faith that when I entrust an organization (such as Haiti Scholarships) with my hard earned money that they will be able to do something I cannot (or perhaps will not?) do myself.

When I choose to support an organization, it is never because I am looking for a tax benefit, or have money to burn (though I really wish that were true). I donate when I am compelled by a personal connection to an organization – either through a friend, through a respected authority, or through a shared vision. I would always encourage people to give what they can, but to really be cognizant of what they are contributing to. The fact is, we give because it feels good to give.

Thank you, Jessica, for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

How about you? How do you contribute to causes you believe in: are you a thinker, a talker, a doer, a supporter?

Why I Donate: Ben

Here at Haiti Scholarships, we think it’s important to highlight not only our students, but also those individuals that help us do what we do.  Ben has been a frequent supporter of Haiti Scholarships, and we can’t thank him enough for that!  We asked Ben why he chooses to support organizations (Ben supports many other great causes, not only with his hard earned money, but also with his time), and here’s his response:

I have been blessed to have seen much of the world in my 29 years on this planet.  In the US Navy, and as a small part of All Hands Volunteers: Project Leogane in Haiti, I have seen that there are people who need real help, and at some point all of us will be in a position to help and need help. That help could take the form of a smile, a hand up, an opened door, or in some cases some really heavy lifting.  Through all of this, the one thing that I am absolutely sure of is that we are better when we come together.  When we actively help each other, our community and our world transform to something better than what was before… Something beautiful.
I do what I can.  I am not rich and I am not influential, so I volunteer and give what I can when I can.  And you know what? Often times I’ve gained so much compared with what I’ve given.  The feeling that comes with doing good is special, and it’s totally free.
When I see groups like Haiti Scholarships spending their energies on causes that help people help themselves, I want to be a part of that.  They are making this a better world, and I am so grateful to be allowed to be a small part of their program.  I have lived, worked, and sweated with the people of Haiti, and they are good, strong, and willing to work.  Helping the people of Haiti gain the education necessary for them to leverage their talents is the single most important thing we can do, next to creating and supporting jobs. I am thankful for the opportunities to help in my own small way make this a better world.
Thanks for sharing, Ben!
Why do you support great causes?  Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page or email us: haitischolarships@gmail.com.

Career Counseling in Developing Countries

When I was reviewing our fall applications, I realized that quite a majority of our female applicants wanted to be nurses.  Of the 9 new female applicants, 7 of them expressed a desire to follow careers in the medical field (78%).  Of these, 6 of them said they wanted to be nurses (86%) and one of them said they wanted to be a doctor (14%).  I know it’s not a huge pool of applicants I’m working with, but I still thought it was interesting, and it made me ask myself: “Why?  Are there no alternative careers for them, or do they all really want to be nurses?”  I asked a friend of mine who’s been working in Haiti for a while, and she stated that it’s just the career that girls follow in Haiti: “they have a limited view of what they can do…sad thing is some of them really want to be doctors, but they don’t think women can be doctors.”

This reminded me of going to school in Guatemala.  In third and fourth grade, my dream was to become a bilingual secretary.  It was something I aspired to.  The only alternative I knew of was to be a teacher, which didn’t sound too bad either…but I already spoke English, so it made the “bilingual” thing pretty easy.  It wasn’t until I got older and returned to study in the United States that my options opened up.  This was due to the availability of career centers in my junior high and high school, career guidance specialists who met with me to discuss my plans for college, career aptitude tests, career days, etc.  I don’t know that any of these really made me focus on a specific career, but it showed me options.

For students in less developed countries, these “amenities” aren’t options for them.  In researching the availability of career counseling and guidance for developing countries I came across a study done by the World Bank, titled Public Policies for Career Development.

Some of the highlights of the study:

Career guidance is increasingly viewed as an integral part of a human resource development strategy designed to harness technological and economic change and enable the country to compete effectively in global markets.

Career guidance policies and services support economic efficiency by making the labor market operate more effectively.

Career guidance can perform a valuable role in raising the aspirations of the disadvantaged and individuals in poverty by making them aware of opportunities, and supporting them in securing entry to such opportunities.

Issues faced by developing countries:

  • Limited public resources: developing countries need to prioritize their investments, and career guidance is not one of them
  • Poverty and unemployment: may mean people drawn to accept any job in order to provide a source of income, suppressing the concept of choice, and leading to career guidance being regarded as relevant only to those who are perceived to have choices–who might be quite a small minority.
  • Informal economy: many seek economic survival outside the formal wage economy (2/3 of Haitians have no formal employment — http://www.lambifund.org/news_HaitiStats.shtml#Overview)
  • Community capacity building: need to help individuals decide how they can best contribute to their community
  • Importance of family structures: family may exert stronger influence on individual’s choices, not least because it is more directly affected by the results of those choices
  • Emigration: option of emigrating or seeking employment abroad for better opportunities
  • Cultural factors: in certain cultures there may be some resistance to help seeking, which may be viewed as a sign of weakness, or there may be traditional occupations roles for groups and individuals that are difficult to change.

So what are the suggestions for developing countries?  “Strengthen structures for policy coordination and strategic leadership, explore the role of legislation, collect improved financial information and review the role of markets, assure quality, build an evidence base, examine the role of international support in enabling middle-income countries to benefit from experiences, materials and systems developed in other countries.”

You know, no big deal.

The reality is that even with these systems in place, even with students having a clear focus of what career path they want to follow, they still need to be able to find a job in that career path once they graduate.  It’s great that a student aspires to be lawyer, doctor, business man/woman, advocate, engineer, etc., but it does that student no good if he/she can’t obtain a job in that field.

This was expressed in an article discussing the career guidance and employment opportunities of students in Tanzania.  The article starts by addressing the difficulty students have in finding a job after they graduate.  It then goes on to discuss the lack of career guidance in Tanzania, which stems from a lack of resources and teachers who are unable to provide such guidance due to a lack of knowledge about available careers.

“Experts agree that career guidance, widely accepted as a powerful and effective method of helping to bridge the gap between education and the world of work, can also help decrease unemployment.”

The Executive Director of the Association of Tanzania Employers states: “most of our trainers have no idea what exactly they are supposed to be teaching.  We have potential in students, but there is no-one to unlock it.  The trainers don’t know what is relevant or not in today’s job market.”

I think this is one of the biggest challenges for any organization that is working with students: you see the potential so many of these individuals have, but you have to learn how to unlock that potential, and how to encourage them to pursue that potential, to make something of themselves in a society that maybe does not appreciate such potential, nor knows what to do with it.

If our applicants want to be nurses, I’m more than happy to help them pursue those dreams.  But I want them to have alternatives.  I don’t want them to pick a career path because it’s the only thing available to them.  I want them to pick a career path because it’s what they want to do, or because they believe it’s the best way to achieve the financial stability they desire.  I hope that in the near future Haiti Scholarships can help our students discover these options, and help each of our students achieve the full potential that each of them have locked up inside themselves.

Your thoughts?