The Education Support Program helping the poorest of the poor was started by the Sisters of Saint Joseph some 20 years ago. 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 when Sister Rosemary felt that she could no longer run it as she was having health problems. They introduced sponsorships early in the program to help raise funds but have, since its inception, always made up any shortfall in fund raising from their Haiti fund.
For the students, the privilege of being able to obtain an education is a gift that not only enlightens the mind, but also opens doors to possibilities that would otherwise be unobtainable. 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 2017-18 school year a total of 98 students will benefit from tuition support (elementary and secondary).
Students attend a number of quality schools in Cap-Haitian, though the majority attend Oasis and Centre de Formation Chretien (CFC). Funding for tuition support comes from generous donors who reside in Canada and the United States. Many of these donors have supported children right from preschool through high school. The cost is typically $150/year per student for elementary grades and $300/year for secondary level education. The education program offers students tuition, books and school supplies. Parents are asked to contribute to their children’s education by providing the uniform. In most cases these items are reused from the previous school year.
Vocational training options were introduced as a pilot project in 2015 and have been so far quite successful. Students that are not continuing academic studies can enter more practical programs such as mechanics, heavy machine operation, truck driving, etc.
In November 2017 the C-NEW-C awarded the first ever post-secondary scholarship (funded by a generous Canadian donor). Anise is now studying medicine at a university in Port au Prince. She has pledged to give back in service to her country when she graduates from medical school. (To learn more about Anise, please read the November 2017 E-bulletin Nov 2017 )
The Sisters of St Joseph of Toronto have provided generous grants to the Education Support Program since July, 2011.