A week before my 11th birthday my family moved to Haiti. We left less than a year later, before I turned 13. Our stay was cut shorter than it should have been, but those brief months in Haiti molded who I was for the rest of my life. Those months led me to study abroad in Uganda during college where Sonja and I met Patrick and William and began Beautiful Response.
In September, I’m going back to Haiti.
|Ticarme with friend and neighborhood partner, Jonas|
A Haitian woman named Ticarme has been a leader in her community for decades. Her dream is to see the youth in her village educated. Small groups of capable students meet together to encourage and tutor one another. These kids have families and ambition, but not enough resources to attend schools term after term. They are forced to drop out, or they attend school for a term, drop out, and then go back to school, never advancing.
Under Ticarme’s leadership, Beautiful Response is excited to announce a scholarship program aimed at ensuring that the kids who are capable of excelling in school get the chance to do so.
Here’s how it works: Families apply for scholarships and work with Ticarme and her team to determine how much financial aid is needed. The students receiving scholarships get academic support from tutors and from peer groups. Ticarme and her team keep tabs on the academic progress of the students and make sure they are given the tools they need to succeed and eventually graduate.
Since 2010, billions of dollars have been filtered into Haiti. In so many ways, it has been a development disaster. The amount of money and organizations doing development work in Haiti made us tentative about launching a new project there. But we believe that growth and progress in Haiti will come from Haitian leaders longing for the good of their own communities. Ticarme is that leader.
We’re excited to see what happens. We’re excited to meet the students who will get a chance at an education. We’re excited about good Haitian leaders seeking after the good of their communities.
On September 10th, 2014 I fly back to Haiti.
It will be 13 years, to the day, since I left.