Nichal Josep does not know a single member of the Rotary Club of Bethlehem Morning Star in Pennsylvania, and yet they have had a great impact on her life. She has lived with her grandmother Madame Desomer St. Vilis in La Jeune, Haiti, since she was three days old when her mother died. That Nichal survived infancy was a blessing, but Desomer grieved at the prospect that Nichal would grow up illiterate. That’s why she contributed her labor to the construction of the school named Fwa Kretyen Ecole in La Jeune, which Haiti Outreach helped the community build. Even that school turned out to be beyond her financial reach however. In a nation in which many people live on $1 a day, the fee of $50, which would have paid for a whole year of school, prevented the St. Vilis family from emerging from hopeless poverty for another generation. Because so many families in La Jeune were unable to pay the fees needed to run it, the school board considered closing the school.
Enter Haiti Outreach and the Rotary Club of Bethlehem Morning Star in Pennsylvania. They contributed $1,000 for school scholarships, which were needed by nearly half of the 270 students. Other donations were made to Haiti Outreach so that all the students that needed support would have it. But this was not an ordinary scholarship program. Parents donated their time by helping at the school or maintaining the school property in exchange for the scholarships. As a result, the school was now able to remain open. The teachers salaries, books, notebooks, pens, and a meal a day (possibly the only meal the children will eat that day) are all the “little” things that the money pays for. The big things are new possibilities for the children and families of La Jeune and hope for Haiti.
Many scholarship plans give schools money for students and then the donors may get a picture of their student. The students often get the name of their sponsor, and they are very aware that their parents did not pay for their education. But according to the Haiti Outreach community development model, the donor group does not get the credit and does not select one student over another, deciding who will get an education and who will be deprived of one. The members of the Rotary Club of Bethlehem Morning Star in Pennsylvania gave all of that money without knowing Nichal Josep or any of the other students. And the students don’t know the Rotary Club of Bethlehem Morning Star in Pennsylvania. However, the students DO know their parents are taking their time and working hard at the school to earn the money needed so their children can get an education. A positive family structure remains in tact and there is an even bigger outcome – hope for the world.