Education can be the key that sets entire families free from poverty. With quality schooling, children have a much higher chance of accessing good opportunities, helping their households, strengthening their communities and achieving their God-given dreams.
Tragically, it is often a lack of education that prevents children from escaping their difficult circumstances. The cost of tuition, transportation, uniforms, books, school supplies and other necessities is simply out of the question for many impoverished families.
That’s why ministries like the Kobonal Haiti Mission have been so vitally important for poor families with children. The good stewardship of our donors empowers the Mission to provide a Catholic primary education for students in Kobonal, Haiti, and these bright boys and girls have been able to accomplish incredible things as a result.
Nearly 40% of Haitian adults can’t read or write, and 60% of the population lives below the poverty line. Haiti’s education system does not offer free public schooling as we know it in the U.S., and many Haitian parents cannot afford the fees and uniforms required by most decent schools. Without outside support, it becomes nearly impossible for their children to break the cycle of poverty.
When Father Glenn Meaux first arrived in Kobonal, Haiti, in 1989, the situation was even more disheartening. Very few employment opportunities existed, and most of the children were not attending school. Deeply impoverished families were plagued by a pervading sense of despair, with no hope for improving their difficult situations.
However, Fr. Meaux was faithful to the calling that God had placed on his life — and more than 30 years later, his Kobonal Haiti Mission has transformed thousands of lives. The Mission provides holistic support for families in need, empowering entire households to increase their self-sufficiency. It works with the community to feed the hungry, install clean wells, build strong houses, host medical clinics, improve agriculture, facilitate microenterprise opportunities, and ensure a vibrant future for the next generation through education.
Today, the Kobonal Haiti Mission’s primary school is considered the biggest and best in the region. It has two campuses — one on the Mission grounds and another 5 miles away in Mathebonite. Last year, the schools provided a high-quality and affordable education for nearly 1,300 students. This year, it has increased its enrollment to 1,600 students.
At the Kobonal Mission School, students’ families pay a low annual tuition (equivalent to a few U.S. dollars) in order to invest in their children’s education. Scholarships are provided for the poorest of the poor who cannot afford the token tuition.
Cross Catholic Outreach’s generous donors help cover the cost of teacher and staff salaries, operational expenses, and equipment. With their support, students receive books, backpacks, uniforms and school supplies. They also eat a nutritious morning snack and school lunch to fuel their minds and bodies. Additionally, our donors fund scholarships that allow primary school graduates to continue their education through secondary school, university and technical programs.
The faithful giving of compassionate Catholics makes it possible for children to overcome education issues in Haiti, press beyond economic boundaries and achieve their goals. Featured here are stories of three inspiring individuals from Kobonal who have been blessed by the opportunity for education.
Name: Carlo Sylvain
Education: Graduate of Kobonal Mission School; attending University of Notre Dame in Hinche, Haiti
Major: Medical Biology
Message to you: “I have a dream because my parents did not have the opportunity to do what I’m doing now. If I can continue, I will not only save lives in Kobonal but [also] in surrounding areas.”
Name: Loubens Pierre
Education: Attends the Kobonal Mission School
Favorite subject: French
Career aspiration: “I want to be a priest. I like to serve the Lord. School is the first step.”
Message to you: ““Thank you for all the support of the Kobonal Mission. I like that they teach us Catechism and go deeply into the life of God.”
Anise Lefort is a first grade teacher at the Kobonal Mission School. She is also an important role model for the students in her classroom. She is an example of homegrown success, having received her primary education at the very same school.
Anise will be the first to tell you that Catholic education transformed her life. She and her eight siblings grew up in a poorly constructed two-bedroom house with a thatch roof and walls made from sticks and mud. The structure seemed to melt away during every rainstorm.
Anise’s future changed forever the day her parents enrolled her in the Kobonal Mission School. She savored every lesson and learned that God wanted her to have a bright future, free from poverty. Today, with her teacher’s salary, Anise is living comfortably and even has money left over for savings. She also helps her parents and generously gives to neighbors in need.
Our donors help cover salaries for 50 teachers, including Anise, and 28 educational support staff at the Kobonal Mission School. Their generosity is making education accessible to Kobonal’s poorest children, helping them use their God-given potential and achieve the Lord’s best plan for their lives.
A medical researcher. A priest. A teacher.
Any Catholic parent would be proud to have their children pursue one of these honorable vocations. After all, every parent would love to see their children apply their God-given talents and help others along the way.
Thanks to incredible ministries like the Kobonal Haiti Mission, children in Kobonal finally have a chance to dream those big dreams. Parents can watch their sons and daughters learn, grow and succeed. Thanks to the priceless gift of a Catholic education, they know that poverty does not have to be the future for their beloved children.
As always, we are so grateful for the prayers and donations that make miracles like this possible. Through their giving, our donors declare that all children deserve the opportunity to make their dreams come true. Boys and girls in Kobonal — and other communities around the world — are praising God for those who invest in their future.
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2021, the close of our ministry’s new fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.