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Education

“Angel” Companies Make Donating Free

The Illiterate Is the New Slavery in Haiti

Haiti is poor. Arguably, it is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most lacking in the world.  Things were dreadful before the devastating earthquake felled any glimmer of hope.

Approximately, 50 percent of the inhabitants are not literate.  That means that at least half of the people are destined for intellectual slavery, locked in low-paying jobs – even if they can find work.

“As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967.  “Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery.”

The Haiti Constitution guarantees education.  That assurance, however, is hollow.  Currently, France, Canadaa and the United States, or church-run schools educate 90 percent of the students.  I have boldfaced, italicized and underlined the word educate; the reality is that the education supplied is pitiful.

There is a lack of everything – teachers, schools and supplies.  A third of the children do not attend even primary education.  The president of Haiti, following the earthquake of 2010, gave the Inter-American Development Bank the authority to work with the Education Ministry in the National Commission.  They were to establish a five-year plan to reform Haiti education.  Nothing effective has happened yet.

At present, less than 40 percent of the schools are accredited.  Incredibly, only 15 percent of the teachers at the elementary level have basic teaching qualifications – including university degrees.  Unbelievably, a quarter of the teachers have never attended secondary education.

Slavery was a big part of the  of colony of Saint Domingue, which later became Haiti.  More than 500,000 Haitians were enslaved in 1800, but with the creation of Haiti in 1804 that notion of slavery was to be eradicated.

“If slavery isn’t wrong, nothing is wrong,” said Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

In 2012, if Abraham Lincoln were to analyze the harm being done to the young in Haiti, he would conclude: failure to provide adequate, free education (with properly trained teachers and adequate schools with textbooks and supplies) creates a lifetime of bondage.”  This is present-day slavery in Haiti.

“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.” Mohandas K. Ghandi, spiritual leader in India, said, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

The war against poverty and the fight to educate the children of Haiti must be waged on the ground day by day, village by village. The non-profit organization HavServe (havserve.org/education) is helping the fight with its volunteer project to collect and distribute supplies to Haiti and five elementary schools in the small village of Lebrun.

HavServe writes, “The Global Campaign for Education published its 2010 annual report indicating that Haiti has topped the list of the world’s worst places to be a school child. We are focusing on providing the less fortunate children in Haiti the educational resources they need to beat poverty and improve learning.”

The goal is a lofty one.  Save one child at a time, then one village and, finally, the entire country.  Nonetheless, without financial support the good intentions equal annihilation for the HavServe.org/education program.

“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions.  You may have a heart of gold – but so does a hard-boiled egg.”

HavServe has created the opportunity.  There are a variety of ways to donate including purchasing goods from companies which set aside a portion of the sales for the Haiti education program.

I was surprised to find that there are literally a hundred major companies listed on the Good Shop purchase-donation program. Buy from a sponsoring company and dollars will flow to Charity ID 930185.  In the past 60 days prior to this exploration, I personally have purchased goods from sponsoring companies; however, failing to use the Good Shop purchase-opportunity coupons, I deprived the children.  My ignorance cost the little ones in the village of Lebrun, Haiti.

Times are tough everywhere.  I am retired,  living on Social Security and savings.  Therefore, even though I would like to make a large cash donation toHaiti education, practically, that is impossible.

However, as a writer I am always purchasing supplies from Staples, which qualify for a two to five-percent donation.  In our family, we use Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot and Go Daddy regularly.   It costs nothing extra to have good intentions turn into positive results.

The HavServe.org/education program has other possibilities, including outright donations of goods and/or funds.  Nonetheless, for students, retirees or other families fighting the recession, the program of buying from “Angel” companies is a no-brainer.

I feel like a knucklehead who has failed.  I’m embarrassed to realize I could have supported the Haiti education program for months. I have found in writing articles and news stories for nearly 50 years that I gain far more from research than the readers.  I am thankful for the opportunity to target an inexpensive way to help the children inHaiti.

Sometimes, for me, keeping in mind a memorable quote helps to spur action.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

GoodSearch and GoodShop Today For Charity ID 930185: http://www.goodsearch.com/nonprofit/havserve-volunteer-service-network.aspx