Michael Towey (age 49, father of 3):
“One of the most powerful memories from my trip was watching the older students hand the younger students their new books. It was as if they were handing them bars of gold.”
Hannah Towey (age 18, Freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill):
“I will never forget when one of the students, probably only around 10 or 11 years old, raised his hand and asked if he could say something to us and the class. He then stood up, looked us in the eyes and said “Thank you so much for all the books you have brought us today,” and sat back down. I have never witnessed so much gratitude.”
Griffin Patterson (age 19, Sophomore at Trinity College):
“I went to Haiti with Louis twice, once when I was in fifth grade and a second time my Junior year of high school. Both were incredibly life changing—my favorite moments were playing soccer with the kids after a reading session. Despite the language barrier, playing with them made me realize how similar we all really are.”
“I believe the greatest most singular gift a person can give to society is giving a child access to an education that honors that child’s dignity and challenges their hopes and dreams. That is what I have been doing on the island of La Gonave, Haiti for the past 19 years with the support of a very small, very committed group of people.” – Louis Elneus, founder of Haiti Lumiere de Demain(HLD), Inc.
Haiti Lumiere de Demain (HLD) was founded 19 years ago and is now at the forefront of efforts to eradicate child illiteracy and renew the environment in Haiti.
At HLD, we believe opportunity begins with a textbook and a well-trained teacher. Each year HLD distributes between 25,000-35,000 textbooks to approximately 6000 children in all 22 public primary schools throughout the island of La Gonave, one of the more remote and impoverished places in Haiti.
Eighteen years ago, the retention rate among children in the public school system in La Gonave was about 15-20% and the number of children passing the national primary exam was between 7-10%.
But, with the investment HLD has made, 100% of the students in 6 out of the 22 schools we work with passed the (CEP) national exams, are moving onto secondary school and are likely to complete high school.
Often, the parents who send their kids to the public schools do not have the economic means to purchase textbooks or uniforms and put food on the table at the same time. But, if a child does not purchase the required textbooks and uniform he/she will be sent home.
That is why the majority of children on the island and other rural parts of Haiti have never made it to school to begin with. On top of this, the prospect of being sent home from school is too humiliating for some families to even attempt, so they keep their kids home for their entire education.
This is part of the reason why Haiti’s illiteracy rate remains so high and the country's development prospect has not improved. High illiteracy rates often hamper economic development and sustain object poverty. These effects aren’t just numbers and are devastatingly visible on the island of La Gonave and in rural Haiti.
The Haitian school year will begin in approximately one month and the children are looking to HLD for their next set of textbooks. In the past 18 years on La Gonave, HLD has removed the humiliation of a child being sent home for not being able to afford textbooks—this is something we’re extremely proud of and have no intention of stopping.
One day, we hope you will take a trip with me to see the life-changing effects each donation has on the education and future of these thousands of children. Now, HLD is asking for the generosity of your support.
As a small, committed nonprofit, every donation goes directly towards the future of Haiti’s children, literally serving as their “light for tomorrow.” Without this support each volunteer trip, textbook, teacher training or after-school program would not exist today.
Your donation helps keep HLD moving forward and we thank you for your continued support. We cannot do what we do without your generosity.
I will keep you posted on our progress with this campaign. Please share it with your circle of friends.
Louis Elneus, President and Founder
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