This has been our journey and we have dreamed of giving them proper education. After 6 years of providing them with food and medications, we were ready to focus on education. Of course, there were some orphanages running their own schools already and sending orphans to outside schools. We started to support three orphanages where they haven’t gotten any donations to run their own schools and provided teacher’s wages and school textbooks and supplies. Our aid went into basic necessities of education including blackboards.
Our mission further expanded into finding sponsors for children who need to attend outside middle and high schools and was able to support their school tuitions, uniforms, textbooks, backpacks, and even shoes.
In the fall of 2015, two orphans met their sponsors who enabled them to begin schooling, and since then,
the education ministry became the main steam of our mission along with food support. As the children grew physically and spiritually, we earnestly prayed for their intellectual maturity as well. Ultimately, it became our new hope for them to graduate high school and come out from the orphanages with the ability to live out this world with any type of career.
Regrettably, the donations and supports were not sustainable and we were often struggling to provide teachers’ monthly paychecks in the new year. Due to the instability of the financial support, we felt helpless to the point that it was difficult to match the color of the hair ribbon with the color of their uniform, in addition to the cost of tuition. We had hoped that, at the very least, the education ministry would stabilize and have consistent funding for 10 years, if not more. That, unfortunately, did not happen.
As Haiti’s political chaos, violent protests, and unstable public security continues, the schools had to close and open with no promising plan. Furthermore, the unexpected pandemic of Covid 19 made the schools close for a long time. However, even with the closing of schools, we could not stop the teachers’ wages. On another note, it is hard to obtain proper receipts while using donated funds, such as when buying food in the streets. In turn, it creates a default in the annual financial report and it becomes difficult to request for next year’s donations from sponsors.
This year’s currency made the matter worse. Our support in Haiti is currently being burdened by the increasing rate of currency; what used to be 115 Haitian Gourde/$1 US in September suddenly became 62 Haitian Gourde/$1 US in October.
Christina and Clean in the orphanage are going to be juniors in High School. When the sponsor asked us about this year’s support, we could not readily say the cost of schooling. It became a huge burden to mention even if she may understand the double rate of tuition in comparison to last year. When we finally spoke out about the current situation, the sponsor sent us a message saying, “ We should at least let these children graduate.”
We could not stop the everlasting hope in Haiti. The message of graduating orphans from the sponsor was heard as God’s message. We could not stop this journey for the children who still have a long and dark pathway because education is their last hope in leading a better life. We should have an increasing feeling of responsibility and work harder for support to lit the dim light of children's hope. However, we could not secure over 50 orphans' tuition and teachers' paycheck in the upcoming new semester.
- Jailene Baroni
- Hochan Jeong
- Sung Seo
- Yun Soo Choi
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