LCS alumna, Marielle Laprès (’07) teaches French Drama to Senkyèm (U.S. 8th grade) students; Rheto (U.S. 12th grade) student, Jacob Kelly and Segond student, Jenne Love Laloi teach children from the zone who have limited or no access to education in Koukouy Sen Clare (Fireflies of Saint Clare), LCS’s early childhood education program, and Ekòl Ankourajman (Encouragement School), an after-school tutoring program for young people from the neighborhood.
Often we think of meeting people’s needs in terms of providing material assistance, such as food, clothes, etc.
James’s exhortation to not only wish others well, but provide them with what they need to be well (James 2:15-16) reminds us that we must give more than things to the marginalized. We must also provide an opportunity for the marginalized to realize their full potential. To meet James's bar, we must work to create a fair economic environment in which all people can flourish.
Fundamental in this interpretation of providing for others is ensuring that everyone has access to education. We live in a complex and ever more modern world. Education, understanding, gaining knowledge, analyzing data, and being able to apply what one learns are all necessary for human beings to succeed and have a quality of life appropriate to the dignity of each human being.
Meeting the poor in the street, as Pope Francis has recently pointed out, is a laudable act of solidarity and humility. But, it is also an empty one if we do not have something to offer as an alternative to the street. Education is one heck of an alternative.
I’ve asked some of our community members to share their thoughts on the subject:
Education is the basis for development. Education helps people to think about long-term development and to better understand what is needed. There is a maxim, “Olye ou fèm’ kado yon grenn pwason chak jou, pito ou montrem’ peche pwason.” [Rather than giving me a fish every day, it would be better for you to teach me to catch my own fish.] If one cannot fish for oneself, and someday the person who is giving the fish goes away, what will become of that hungry person? This is why education is the foundation of development. -- Myriam Rhodes Jean-Baptiste, LCS 2010 and current Junior Staff
Although providing food and health care can meet immediate needs, why not teach a man to fish and allow him to feed the world? Education is the ONLY solution that will empower Haiti to take care of its own people, to physically rebuild its own structures, and to elect honest and responsible leaders. LCS graduates are already setting a powerful example of how just one education can make a difference for so many others. -- Stacey Collins, THP Volunteer
I know that education is what Haiti needs in order to advance. By educating the people of Haiti, our population will become more literate and they will know what we need to do to improve our country. For example, if agronomists teach farmers how to be more efficient and improve their methods, this would improve the economy. We could export our produce and import less of our food. This would be development. But it must start with education. -- Katiana Asmin, Philo (U.S. senior +1) student
Education makes sense. If you agree, please put your cents and dollars behind it.