The Power of Literacy
We are so proud to announce the graduation of the very first class of students from the 3 year Alpha Adult Literacy Program in Haiti.
The testimony of these courageous students (44 women, 6 men) is powerful. In Haiti, when you can’t read or write your name, you must sign with an “X.” Here’s what the graduates had to say:
“If I had enough time I would explain what the little crosses (writing an X) have made us suffer …I say ‘No,’ I will not make the small cross (X) again …. I send it to the bottom of the abyss … Thank God and thank you Rayjon Share Care Haiti.” – Fleuridor Ofilia
“When I was little, my parents had no possibility of sending me to school. Ms. Elida Jeanty saw me in a service of worship at the church and told me good news which was to participate in a literacy centre… Thanks to the manager, thanks to Rayjon Share Care, I thank God who sends us this Alpha Program to bring us out of the darkness and let us see the light.,.On this great day, I know how to write my name.” – Luverlande Joseph
As part of a celebration ceremony in St. Marc, graduates paraded down the main street accompanied by a live marching band.
Students also join together to sing a powerful song about never writing an “X” again.
“How horrible, how insulting, Oh so afraid to sign my name that I must make an X,
Ticking this little X like this one is not right,
This little X, I should not do it again
This year, I decide that I must know how to read and I must know how to write
Come, draw your pencil mark and mark…”
You can listen to the students sing their song here.
Consuelo, Dominican Republic
In 2016 a new class of women’s sewing began at the Consuelo Community Development Project (CCDP). A pilot program, the classes were designed to teach practical skills to unemployed women in the neighbourhood of Barrio 41. Many of these women have children who attend the CCDP preschool, and have difficulty providing for their families. With new skills, these women have an opportunity to sell their handiwork in the local marketplace. They have learned to design and sew sheets, curtains, baby layette and many other beautiful hand-made items. Congratulations, graduates and best wishes in your business endeavours!
Thanks to a generous donor in Canada, a second class will begin in 2017.
Haut de St. Marc, Rural Elementary Schools
Rayjon supports two rural elementary schools in the Haut de St. Marc region of Haiti. (For more information, visit the Education page here.)
In 2017, 418 students were enrolled in Grades K-7 at the Gilbert and Pinson schools. Demonstrating Rayjon’s commitment to empowering women and girls, 51% of these students were girls- a major victory for gender equality in Haiti.
We are excited about a new grant sponsored by Rotary International (with support from clubs in Sarnia and Southwestern Ontario) about to begin. This grant will allow a new class of Grade 7 to begin in Gilbert, Haiti, and will add sustainable agriculture to the curriculum, along with the creation of community gardens. Stay tuned for updates!
Students at both schools enjoyed cultural activities this year, including the celebration of Haiti’s “flag day,” and a trip to the beach (uniform free!).
The teachers at Gilbert school have extra reason to wear their “ECOLE COMMUNAUTAIRE de GILBERT” T-Shirts with pride. A whopping 85% of students passed their national exams in June!!!! ECG ranks in the top 5 schools in the St. Marc area.
In Pinson, construction is still underway to add two new classrooms that will accommodate the higher grades in September. Pictures coming soon.
The Pinson community is rallying to support the construction by working on the road each weekend so that materials can safely be delivered to the site. (Note: road construction in rural Haiti involves pickaxes and HARD labour… no construction trucks or other machinery).
We are proud of gender equality efforts at the school as well- 56% of students are girls!
Urban Education Program
112 students received tuition support and assistance with school supplies in Cap Haitian during the 2016-2017 school year.
Thank you to the Sisters of St. Josephs of Toronto, Ontario and to the many generous private donors who continue to make this program possible. So many of these children would not otherwise be able to attend school. Now, their futures are looking brighter!
Did you know that one of the graduates this year is a candidate for entry to medical school? Congratulations, Anise!
For more information about the tuition support program in Cap Haitian, visit the Project Page here.