Last week in Haiti, we met Jean Dumace Maurice, an ambitious 26-year-old who is working hard to lift himself out of poverty and make an impact on his community. Jean earned his bachelor’s degree through the Cross Catholic-sponsored Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP), which provides scholarships for poor but talented high school grads to go to a quality university. Today, Jean supervises HELP’s computer lab and teaches a computer class while also studying for his master’s degree. That’s a big deal in a country where very few people even make it into college.
What makes Jean’s situation especially interesting is that he lives in Cite Soleil, a Port-au-Prince neighborhood with a reputation for being the poorest, roughest, most dangerous slum in the entire world. There’s no electricity or sewage, and armed gangs control the streets.
Jean’s employer told us about one time when the gun-fighting inside Cite Soleil was so intense that Jean called him to say goodbye because he didn’t think he’d make it through the night. The spurt of violence was nicknamed “Operation Baghdad,” because some victims were allegedly beheaded. But God protected Jean, and now he expects to graduate in January. All HELP scholarship recipients are required to stay in Haiti, instead of finding jobs abroad. That way, they can stimulate the economy and bring much-needed services and expertise to their struggling country.
Cross Catholic shipped 20 laptops that were donated for HELP’s computer lab, so students can use them to access the Internet and do research. We are also funding scholarships for six promising students to attend the University of Notre Dame, Haiti. Click here to find out how you can help a Haitian student pursue his or her dream of a professional career!