This is a question I challenge you to ask yourself as I share about Haiti One by One; a ministry that strives to give children in Haiti a Christian-based education to prepare them for a better future.
Haiti One by One is a student sponsoring initiative overseen by Converge partner Beraca Baptist Church, Brooklyn NY that provides children in Haiti a Christian education from elementary through high school graduation. Beraca Baptist Church has partnered with several Christian churches and schools to sponsor impoverished students that would normally not be able to attend school to give them an opportunity to do so. Sponsorship includes tuition, medical care, enrollment fees, uniforms, and school supplies. The children are recruited by the pastor of partner churches and chosen based on their economic need. Those who are most in need are referred to the Haiti One by One program.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Lovely Pierre, who is the Director of Haiti One by One at Beraca Baptist Church.
“Unsurprisingly, education is Haiti has changed drastically over the past three decades as a result of political and socio-economic instability. Most schools are run by private entities which charge fees that can be prohibitively challenging to families that have low or no income. Despite the supposedly free run governmental schools for those families, they are often stalled by lack of government funding and because of this, the students suffer.”
Because of this scarcity, education is extremely valued in the Haitian culture. Pierre, who moved out of Haiti at the age of twelve, explains more about this.
“There is a Haitian saying that goes ‘what you have in your mind is the only thing you possess. That is the wealth of your riches.”
Lovely explained that in the climate of Haiti, everything can be temporary, but the knowledge and education these students have had can be taken to any country through any stage of their lives.
Currently in the works is a program that not only teaches academic subjects, but to teach life skills for students to take with them after graduation. Some students may progress to university, others may progress to professions such as beauticians, culinary arts, technology, photography and more. Having a foundation allows more opportunities for the students. Currently, Haiti One by One is gathering both the capital and resources to bring this into fruition.
Haiti One by One students receive much more than an academic and life skills education. They also receive Christian education which can change the lives eternally!
“They are getting exposure to the gospel of Jesus Christ and for them to really understand that they are not just getting a free education. This is all possible through the love of Christ. Because it’s about love at the end of the day.”
Without this Christian education, these children might not otherwise be exposed to the good news of Jesus Christ.
As a district, many of our churches are supportive of this initiative. Having the support of Converge Northeast churches truly makes a major difference with the overall security of the program.
“Being a part of Converge Northeast is significant in having the support of likeminded churches with similar missions and the ultimate goal of fulfilling the call of the Great Commission. That certainly magnifies the support we can acquire to achieve this life-changing work.”
If you are wondering how you or your church can get involved in Haiti One by One, you can promote this program in your churches, sponsor a child for just forty dollars a month, make a onetime donation, or contact Haiti One by One staff.
As you read and ponder the question “Do you value your education?” understand that the value of Christian education for that Haitian child cannot be measured.
“This program is transforming lives. This program is giving hope. This program is offering hope not only for the one student, but for their whole family and for their future children.”
To learn more, call Baraca Baptist Church at 718-257-1000.
Jenna is a Connecticut native on Converge Northeast staff as the Administrative/Communications Coordinator. She recently graduated from Sacred Heart University with her BA in Communication Studies and Theatre Arts.