Project Edeline

The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, not surprisingly Haiti also has the highest illiteracy rate — both illiteracy and unemployment levels have been estimated as high as 85%. Haiti counts about 15,000 elementary schools, of which 90% are non- public and managed by individuals, religious organizations or NGOs. The enrollment rate for primary school is 67%, of which less than 30% reach sixth grade. These statistics represent Haiti before the earthquake; since then, hundreds of thousands of kids living in tent camps have completely dropped out of schools in Port Au Prince alone.

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Despite the tremendous need, education is not free in Haiti. Yearly subscriptions, uniforms, books and school supplies must be bought by families at both private and public schools. The result is that huge numbers of kids do not attend school at all and many more go without educational materials including books.

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Edeline’s dream today is to build and oversee an elementary school in Croix des Bouquets, the neighborhood of her relatives and church — where she was a teacher. The goal is to serve the poorest children in the surrounding area where none would be denied because inability to pay. She has agreed to a fitting name: Ecole Edeline.

Since most of the children will come from families unable to pay minimal, economic self- sustainment will figure as the overarching challenge. To that end, an arts/crafts program will be implemented whereby articles created by the students will be used to raise funds in the United States to expand the school’s facilities and offset operational costs. Thus, the concept is not to provide another give-away but an opportunity for children to learn how to build productive lives through a visionary, enriching program that they will help support themselves. This concept has already had success with a Youth Without Borders program in the summer of 2010 when over $10,000 was raised from donations in turn for bracelets made by poor children in Haiti.