Helping Literacy to Enable Dreams

 For Not Just One Child…But a Nation

Imagine being immersed in a country and culture where you cannot read nor write the common language. Now imagine sitting in school where the teachers do not speak your native tongue, so though you wish to learn, you have difficulty understanding what is being said and feel unable to communicate this lack of comprehension. The frustration of wishing to learn, but not being able to, is not hypothetical, this is precisely the situation in Haiti today, where millions of children are unable to learn due to the lack of educational classes and materials in their spoken language of Creole.

A United Nations independent expert, Gustavo Gallon, has declared it crucial for Haiti to overcome its immense illiteracy issue if it is to rise out of poverty and pull out of a “catastrophic human rights situation,” which it has faced for too many years. Without the ability to read and write one cannot enjoy the most basic human dignities, let alone excel in the world by being able to communicate with neighboring countries and those who might employ you or listen to your ideas.

Reading and writing are not luxuries; they are necessities that every world citizen ought to enjoy if they so desire it. Thousands of children in Haiti are without this right and are standing on the brink of altering their futures forever thanks to one organization that has been moved to inspire change in the way of education.

A chance visit to Eagle Brook Church in Lino Lakes, MN with a visiting student from Haiti resulted in the formation of what is known as -Haitian Advanced Learning Opportunities - or “HALO”.  We can call this a “chance visit” but someone has said that the Lord’s middle name is coincidence.  Eagle Brook Church is not associated with Halo in any way, but has been instrumental in supplying the inspiration and discipline needed to form Halo.  HALO, has made it their goal to shed a little light and literacy into the situation. One of their objectives is to publish a keystone educational textbook where students can learn English using their native tongue of Creole. This has never been offered before, and would help to offset the often unaffordable costs of attending a special language school with costs of $25-$50 per month for each student -which is nearly impossible for many families.  This text is just the first in a series of educational, motivational, and inspirational books in both Creole and English.

In a country with 10 million people, where perhaps half cannot read nor write, it is crucial that educational opportunities in their native language of Creole,  be made available to them immediately. HALO has worked for over a year and a half to nearly complete this first published Creole-to-English text.  They have lined up a local publishing company who can work with them to print the book at a much lower fee than publishers outside of the region.

Funds will need to be raised in order to offer this book to the students of Haiti. Many of the teens in the area are already drumming up entrepreneurial ideas in order to afford the funds they will need to buy the books and become educated. They want nothing more than to be able to communicate with the outside world and make a life for themselves beyond the walls they have thus far known; walls that have been paved with illiteracy and the stumbling blocks of poverty.

By supporting the literacy of children in Haiti we are supporting a new world, one where every voice can be heard and every heart has the ability to share their deepest dreams and visions for a better world.  We have no idea how changing the life of even one child could alter the future of the world, let alone changing the fate of an entire country.

HALO is working with others to build a library of Creole translated books as well as to provide books for each interested child to learn English and Spanish and excel in their studies. Those interested in donating can choose to help one child, buy books for the children, contribute to the growing library or assist with the cost of publishing.  All these methods of support can be found on HALO’s website: www.halolearning.org.

If you would like to know more or wish to donate to the cause, please visit Halolearning.org to find out more and lend a hand.

By Stasia Bliss