Education partner spotlight:
Mission Evangelique Baptiste du Sud d’Haiti
For many of the world’s most vulnerable children, going to school is the key to unlocking life opportunities that can break their community’s cycle of poverty. The challenges of poverty are interrelated, that’s why our educational initiatives are multi-faceted. Together with our ministry partners, our school programs seek not only to provide a place to learn, but to serve as a pillar in a community that offers a stable food supply, a community shelter for emergencies, and a space to find good counsel, learn about the gospel, and find hope.
Our philosophy is that an integrated Christian education is more than teaching children about Jesus and His ministry, it is laying the groundwork for a commitment to lifelong learning and service. In the southern peninsula of Haiti, vulnerable children find hope for long-term and sustained impact at Cross International partner Mission Evangelique Baptiste du Sud d’Haiti
(MEBSH), a network of Haitian evangelical churches with schools that target “restavek” children –children stuck in a generational system of slavery –and those at risk of becoming restavek.
Gospel-centered learning forms the backbone for transforming a restavek child’s life from pain and abuse into a life of hope and purpose. Lives that will give back to the community and contribute to creating a better, healthier, happier Haiti. When daily nourishment, education, and a relationship with Christ combine, hope can grow. Our education programs include:
- Primary school for restavek
Primary school education to restavek and older children who are too old to enroll into primary school. Approximately two-thirds of the students are restavek in this 100% fully-funded CI school program. Within this program, our partners provide meals, support, and mentorship to children to attend school.
- Primary school/elementary school services
School operations are funded so children can attend for free or nearly for free. Most of these programs include a nutritional program or food assistance.
- Educational infrastructure support
Beyond just funding tuition, Cross supports educational programs in other ways – helping with stocking libraries, new technology in classrooms, repair and construction of school buildings, and paying staff salaries.
- Supporting higher learning
Cross increasingly shifts our focus to include how students are best served after completing primary education, like technical/vocational training.
- Providing for unique educational needs
To support the full spectrum of educational needs to those facing the challenges of systemic poverty, we support unconventional and unique situations. Some of these have included a night school program for teens who must work during the day, providing support for children with disabilities, support for court-appointed orphans, and adult literacy programs.
Right now, COVID-19 threatens the stability that restavek children have found at MEBSH by impacting access to school and in turn, availability of food and hygiene education. Without food support for their families, many restavek children are at risk of homelessness. Without prevention training and improved sanitation, families are likely to get sick.
In a powerful example of collaboration between Cross and our partners, we are providing emergency hygiene training, food, and technology to communities we serve. In response to COVID-19, 54,000 fortified rice meals have been distributed to 14 MEBSH centers to 500 children and their households. In order to execute distribution, MEBSH modified the school day to comply with Haitian law to limit the congregating of ten or more people. Families have been taught how to create their own ‘Tippy Tap,’ a low-tech hand washing device, and other essential WASH practices to better combat COVID-19.
Education has the power to transform lives from the inside out. We are so thankful for partnerships like MEBSH, and the ongoing support from our generous donors to our Thriving Kids education ministry. Together we can give children a strong education, the good news of the gospel, and the opportunity for a purposeful life now and for future generations.