RAYJON EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Rayjon’s Education Programs empower children, parents, and teachers with training, resources and skills needed to create lasting change in their communities.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” − Nelson Mandela
PINSON COMMUNITY SCHOOL, Haiti
Rayjon’s first investment in community development was to support an education program in the rural, mountainous region of Haut de St. Marc (north-west of Port-au-Prince). Since 1989 we have supported the Pinson Community School, which today provides quality education for 250+ students from preschool to grade 9, and is home to 10 dedicated teachers who live on site during the week. The school is very far from the city, way up the top of a mountain. Life is hard in this rural community plagued by a near constant shortage of water, poor soil conditions, few job opportunities and poor access to health care.
Education programs are key to ending poverty.
50% of children in Haiti still do not attend school1, and of the children that do attend school, 60% will abandon school before sixth grade2. Gender discrimination is prevalent, and girls are often left behind without the opportunity to pursue an education. We are very proud that over half of students at the Pinson school are girls!
The Pinson community contributes a portion of the operating costs of the school through modest tuition fees, demonstrating their ownership and dedication and contributing to the sustainability of the school. The school is recognized by the Haitian government, though government funding is unreliable at best. Currently the school receives no government support.
Planning is underway for special training in sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry, to help parents in the community of Pinson gain knowledge and skills they can use to overcome poverty.
See below to experience the hike to Pinson School!
TUITION SUPPORT PROGRAM: CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti
The Tuition Support Program helping the poorest of the poor was started by the Sisters of St. Joseph some 20 years ago. It exists to allow children from impoverished families to attend school and receive a quality education. Many of the students have been funded since grade one and even preschool (a period of 16 years or longer). Rayjon inherited the program from the Sisters in 2004.
Receiving an education becomes a means by which the cycle of poverty can be broken; it is a gift of emancipation; it is a gift that brings joy, inspiration and hope to the students that are fortunate enough to be able to participate in being schooled.
During the 2021-2022 school year a total of 63 students will benefit from tuition support (elementary and secondary), and three students will receive post-secondary scholarship support (including Anise, now in her 4th year of med school!).
The education program provides books and school supplies. Support staff conduct home visits, checking in on the progress of each child and encourage parents to be involved in overseeing study habits.
CONSUELO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT,
Located on the outskirts of the town of Consuelo, Barrio 41 is a neighbourhood struggling with poor access to health care & education, high rates of unemployment and poverty.
Many members of this community are of Haitian descent, and came to the DR hoping for a better life for their families. Many heads of households seek work in the nearby sugar cane plantations, known as bateys. Life here is hard, and racial discrimination is a harsh reality.
“INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE.” – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
The project is called Plan de Desarrollo Social y Cultural Para los Bateyes (PLADESCULBA). The English translation is the Cultural and Social Development Plan for the Bateyes. Historically, the project has been referred to as “Jorge’s Project”, based on the founder’s name.
The project runs a pre-school education program for 50 children, ages 2 to 7, to help prepare them to attend grade one. Many of these children do not receive proper nutrition from home and a hot meal is provided at the centre. The children are taught basic reading and writing and helped to socialize with other children in a nurturing environment. The goal is to support young children so that they have a better chance of success in school and in life, than many of their parents.
Behind the preschool building is a garden and pilot aquaponics (fish raising) project, whose goal is to grow nutritious food for use at the preschool, but to also teach local families to grow and maintain their own backyard gardens.
The long term goal of PLADESCULBA is to work with the adults of the community, to engage in a variety of community development programs, including training, income-generating activities, home gardens, animal husbandry, improvement of the environment and capacity building, so the community can truly become independent and strong.
Behind every education program there are real people, with real life stories of transformation and hope. You’ll find them here.