Kaitlyn Guzik's blog

Haitian Bishops Call for Education Support


From Left: THP Board Member Dr. Scott LeGrand and LCS alumus Dr. Theony Deshommes ('03) work on spring cleaning in the LCS St. Francis & St. Clare guest house; Deacon Moynihan works with Dr. Deshommes to prepare a new green space on the campus.

This week, Monseigneur Launay Saturne, Bishop of Jacmel in Haiti, called on Catholic parishes to place a stronger emphasis on supporting education in Haiti. While there are many clinics and other activities supported by foreign parishes, Bishop Saturne and Archbishop Guire Poulard of Port-au-Prince see education as crucial to Haiti's development. Describing the current state of education in Haiti, Bishop Saturne stated:

"...we want people to come and get involved because the children cannot learn. The teachers are not being paid. The schools are in bad shape," he said.

"We need the type of help that builds our capacity,” he continued. "Without education we will remain in the current situation until the end of time."

The comments were a tremendous affirmation of the Project's mission in Haiti. THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan notes, "I am impressed, moved and relieved to read Bishop Saturne's remarks. Nobody knows better than Haitians that random acts of kindness, no matter how well-intended, cannot provide Haiti with opportunity. However, education can."

Also this week, THP Board Member, Dr. Scott LeGrand, made his third visit to Haiti, which he spent getting to know the latest generation of Volunteers, visiting classes, and learning more about Haiti's medical system from Dr. Deshommes.

Having traveled to LCS before, I knew it was a special place filled with staff, students, and volunteers all working to change Haiti from within. Since my last visit 6 years ago, many things have changed- new walls have been poured, new faces fill the volunteer and several of the administration roles, and new programs have been further deveped and refined.  LCS's commitment to its motto of giving for free that which you have been given, however, remains stronger than ever, and there is no doubt in my mind that the work done at LCS is the work of Christ.

Languages Connect

Myriam Rhode Jean Baptiste ('10) serves as a member of the teaching staff in Louverture Cleary's Koukouy Sen Kler early childhood development program for children from the zone while completing her degree in education thanks to a scholarship from THP.

After a sound work ethic and a willingness to serve others, one of the more remarkable qualities of a Louverturian is their fluency in four different languages: French, Kreyòl, English and Spanish. These language skills help graduates of LCS find work at a rate far beyond the national average and earn an average of ten times the per capita income.

In addition to Haiti's official languages of French and Kreyòl, Haitian employers consistently look for applicants to have a third language of English or Spanish on their resume. While English and Spanish are both taught in Haiti's secondary schools, most students, even in their final year, have difficulty getting past a simple greeting. To really become fluent, young people enroll in expensive language institutes for one or two years to supplement their language education.

Myriam Rhode Jean-Baptiste ('10) would like to see all of Haiti's secondary schools fully prepare their students for the job market. This semester, she is finishing her degree in education at Haiti's Université Quisqueya. The THP community provided her scholarship for university, and Louverture Cleary is now the subject of her thesis, which addresses the challenges of language education in Haiti: 

My thesis is called “Teaching and Learning English and Spanish in Haiti: Importance, Challenges, Stakes, and Propositions.” 

I am using Louverture Cleary as an example of a new and effective approach to teaching language. At LCS, students can practice the language and not just memorize. They read books and develop the ability to think in English. That is because they learn in an immersion setting.
We are fortunate to have Volunteer teachers who are native English, and sometimes Spanish, -speakers who teach in their language, but Haitian teachers can teach like this too. I have visited schools in Haiti where English was being taught in French. Schools need a program like LCS where they can practice using their languages. 

My proposition is that every school in Haiti use a model like LCS, so that in seven years, or less, students will have learned English and Spanish so that they do not have to pay for more classes, but have the language skills they need to be successful in the global community. 

THP does look forward to building a second school in Haiti to equip students with the skills they need to help their country move forward. Before we can expand the mission, we must expand our community of supporters.
Please consider how you can help spread the good word. Contact the Office of Community Development for ideas on how you can get started. We're here to help!


Students from Bon Samaritain primary school in Cité Soleil receive their tickets to the Louverture Cleary entrance exam in May. Bon Samaritain serves children from the poorest and roughest area of Port au Prince. Philo and Rheto students from Louverture Cleary teach beginner's English at the school.

Addressing a group of young people in the Diocese of Providence, Deacon Moynihan recently commented on the fact that Lent reminds us that our faith is not a win-win faith. In fact, whoever loses his life will save it (cf. Mt10:3916:25, Mk 8:35, Lk 9:2417:33, Jn 12:25). Lose means detachment through fasting, almsgiving, and works of mercy
On Monday, Philo (U.S. 13th grade) student, Ronaldo Bernier was overjoyed to see some of his students from Bon Samaritain primary school in Cité Soleil at Louverture Cleary, "I was so HAPPY to see them. They called me over, 'Teacher! Teacher!'" 
Local Board Member Patrick Brun first introduced us to Bon Samaritain, identifying their students as good candidates for Louverture Cleary. He supported the construction of their schoo and, through his initiative, several of the children were able to register for the LCS entrance exam this year. 
Bernier and several of his classmates teach beginner's English to the 6ème AF (U.S. 6th grade) students at Bon Samaritain. Twice per week, members of the teaching team travel to the primary school which serves children from the most impoverished area of Port-au-Prince. It means a lot of extra work for Bernier and the other teachers -- they have to keep up with the classes they miss at LCS, in addition to coordinating their lesson plans (they teach on a rotating basis). 

THP President, Deacon Patrick Moynihan commented: 

Though I have seen it played out before my eyes many times, I am still impressed by the immediacy with which Louverturians give back what they have received. The participation of kids from one of Haiti's toughest and most under-served neighborhoods--thanks in part to our LCS student teachers--is inspiring. Hats off to Patrick Brun as well for giving these kids a school to attend.

Thank you for your continued support of OUR mission TOGETHER to provide an education that not only changes the lives of our students, but their families, their communities and their country.

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