Sponsoring Children’s Education with the Fondasyon Dauphin

Sponsoring Children’s Education with the Fondasyon Dauphin

children on the first day of school

Children on the first day of school

Education in Borgne

In Haiti, education is not free.  In addition to registration and tuition, families must purchase all the books needed for class and provide uniforms, shoes, and backpacks.  These items are required to attend school and the total expense of a year of primary education can run more than $150 per child. Secondary education is more than $300 per year.  Because most households are living on only a few dollars per person per day and there are many competing needs for food, medical expenses, and safe water, families are forced to choose which of their children to send to school.

Some families send the eldest child, hoping he or she can find work and help the younger siblings. Some send the boys, leaving the girls to cook and clean at home. And some cannot send any children to school at all. Many children start kindergarten at 5 years old only to miss whole years of schooling because of lack of funds.  Teenagers are often still attending primary classrooms. In rural areas, many families don’t send their children to school until they are 8 or 9 years old because it is just too dangerous to cross the river, or the walk is too far for them to arrive safely. Because of these issues, 30% of children don’t even complete third grade and 60% leave before finishing sixth grade (UNICEF Humanitarian Action Report 2008).

walking to school

Walking to school

families chosen for Fondasyon support

Families chosen for Fondasyon support

Fondasyon Dauphin helps parents send children to school

Friends of Borgne currently supports more than 45 primary and secondary school students from Borgne, Haiti through the Fondasyon Dauphin children’s foundation.  The participating children are chosen by the Fondasyon Dauphin through a participatory process where the community is called together at neighborhood meetings to identify the most vulnerable families and recommend them for support.

Our director then works with the family to determine which of the local schools will best meet the child’s needs (many schools are associated with particular religious traditions), and the child is enrolled by the director at the beginning of the school year.  Having a number of students’ annual tuition bills paid up front by the Fondasyon really helps the schools plan for the year, since otherwise they may struggle to obtain payments from parents.

parents receiving support for uniforms

Parents receiving support for uniforms

Remember, it is the custom not to smile for a camera in Haiti.
These parents are VERY happy!

sorting bookbags to be presented to families

Sorting bookbags and books to be presented to families

Parents are provided with cloth for the uniform and funds to have it sewn.  Uniforms are very important in Haiti.  They signify that a person is an involved participant in community life.  Every group has or aspires to have a uniform, including schools, civil protection groups, women’s groups, peasant organizations, and even church choirs.  Because of this, of course schools require uniforms.  And there’s no “uniform shop” to purchase pre-made uniforms. The child’s parents are also given a stipend to purchase shoes. Backpacks and books are purchased in bulk and distributed at the Foundation building the week before school.

We originally began with 25 children, 5 each from the five neighborhoods of Borgne, and have added a few new children each year. We celebrated our first high school graduate in 2018!

Dieunise Louis starting school

Dieunise Louis starting school…

Dieunise after high school graduation

…and graduating high school!