Haiti has received a lot of aid for a lot of years. Has it made any difference? What are the answers for its long-term problems of poverty and lack of education? Converge believes God can provide these answers as churches and individuals follow the call of God to invest in the people and nation of Haiti. The One by One Haiti child sponsorship program provides one answer by addressing the needs of Haitian children, one child at a time.
October begins a month-long Food for Life campaign for One by One Haiti. What kind of food do the children of Haiti need?
The purpose of One by One Haiti is to raise up a new generation of transformational Christians. Converge partners with three Haitian churches that each oversee a Christian school. The leaders of these churches understand the battle for Haiti is really the battle for transformed hearts. The children of Haiti need spiritual food to build a life of faithful obedience to God that will impact their future families and the nation. These churches run schools for children in families with little income and limited means to pay for the costs of schooling. As an orphan, Amenson had no means to pay tuition when he began attending Melchizedek Baptist School. But his school costs are covered by his sponsor and he is thriving spiritually and academically. You will hear Amenson’s story in the coming weeks.
Education is key for a young life to climb out of poverty. But the schools in Haiti struggle to provide an adequate academic foundation. Since most parents and households are extremely poor, schools receive only a small percentage of the costs needed for teacher pay and academic materials. Many schools are run on a shoestring budget, but without them children would not be going to school at all. Sponsoring students in the One by One Haiti program provides our schools with much-needed school fees. One sponsor visited a school in Haiti that did not have a sponsorship program for students. She saw that “only a few students have books, a notebook or a pencil. It takes a long time for the students to write something because they will share one pencil or pen or notebook among several students. It’s amazing any students manage to learn.” Sponsorship has made a difference in the quality of education offered in One by One schools. In October you will learn of Wiseline, who graduated from high school in 2013 with the skills to study and learn a profession.
Nutritional needs must be met in order to absorb spiritual and academic food. Sponsor fees cover the cost of a daily meal for sponsored students at Melchizedek School. And because sponsor donations pay a portion of teacher salaries, the school is able to feed unsponsored students as well.
Unfortunately, Paradise School does not have adequate income to feed unsponsored students. The pastor who oversees Paradise of Children School says, “The economic status of the parents is very bad. Some children cannot eat even once a day at home. When they eat at school that is the only meal they have.” Paradise School is newer to our program and only a small percentage of the 330 students are sponsored. This means the school must provide the cost of feeding most of the students. Paradise School is not able to meet this cost as the 2015-2016 school year gets under way. It cannot feed the boys and girls who depend upon the school to provide the food that cannot be provided at home. The leaders of Paradise School do not believe it is right to feed the sponsored students while leaving many others hungry. So the school has asked for help with feeding all the students, sponsored and unsponsored, during the 2015-2016 school year.
The October Food for Life campaign has two goals:
- To recruit 40 new sponsors willing to provide the cost of spiritual, academic and physical food for students like Amenson and Wiseline.
- To raise $8,000 to help provide a daily meal for all students at Paradise School.
Please consider how God is calling you. To invest $35 monthly in the education cost of a young boy or girl? Or to help meet the nutritional needs of many students? These students are the future hope of this nation, as God changes lives one by one.
Note: The Christian Institute of Salem is the third One by One School. This school has a limited facility that does not have adequate space to prepare a meal.