Fighting Poverty with Education

If there was ever a place in Haiti that needs help, it’s Gonaives.

Far from the city life of Port-au-Prince and the beauty of Haiti’s tropical

Emory Wilson truly has a heart for serving God’s children in Gonaives.
Emory Wilson truly has a heart for serving God’s children in Gonaives.

mountain ranges lays a barren desert on the northwestern coast. The landscape looks like the moon: white, empty, flat, and dusty. The city of Gonaives, which is home to about 200,000 people, blisters under the hot sun, and many of its people suffer from hunger, malnutrition, poverty, joblessness, and homelessness.

It’s here that Emory Wilson, one of Cross International’s mission partners, says God wants him to be.

“I’ve been dependent upon God to show me the way,” Emory says. “He’s been my strength and compelled me to go where I didn’t want to go.”

Emory began coming to Haiti in 2004 on outreach trips, and he moved to Gonaives for good in March 2008. Cross first began working with Emory in 2008, when Gonaives suffered horrible flooding. Today he’s building a new school in one of Gonaives’ worst slums, Jubilee, with help from Cross. Several classrooms are expected to open this fall in time for school.

To begin with, the Jubilee School will have preschool, kindergarten, and a

Several classrooms of the Jubilee School are scheduled to open this fall for students (photo taken July 2010).
Several classrooms of the Jubilee School are scheduled to open this fall for students (photo taken July 2010).

class for “late bloomers,” or older children who need to start at the kindergarten level because they’ve never had the opportunity to attend school before. Emory plans to add more grades when the school is completely done.

With education, the children of Jubilee will have a chance at making better lives for themselves than the dirt-poor existence of their parents. The things they’ll learn at the Jubilee School—reading, writing, math, Bible lessons—will be tools they can use to get jobs as adults. These children are faced with some of the toughest economic conditions in Haiti, and thanks to Emory’s work, they’ll have what they need for a brighter future.

Emory says the school has been a community effort as much as anything.

“I liken this work to that of Nehemiah—when he went to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, each family built their part of it. When families come and see the work we do, I see what spot they can build along the wall…people are finding things and places they can do and are doing it.”

Click here to read about how you can help Cross International support education in Haiti. You CAN make a difference just like Emory!

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