As summer fast approaches and the current school year winds down to a close, I find myself thinking about the students I met on a recent trip to the Divine Shelter Schools throughout Haiti. Cross International helps this network of 18 Christian schools provide a quality education and daily, nutritious lunches to more than 5,000 students from the poorest areas of the country.
In a nation where an estimated 80 percent of the population struggles to live below the poverty line, access to an education is vital. Going to school equips poor children with the important skills they need to one day work their way out of poverty and become productive, moral adults.
Though students attending the Divine Shelter Schools come from poor households—with many being orphans, malnourished or affected by HIV/AIDS—they were all smiles when the topic turned to school. I had fun hearing them discuss their favorite subjects, their favorite Bible stories and their favorite foods. I thought you may enjoy hearing their words of gratitude as well:
“School is doing me well. One day I would like to become a nurse, in order to help my family and help children who are sick and have no food.” -Eveline Celeste, sixth grade
“I like going to school because I enjoy learning. I also like the food at school. I look forward to it because it’s always here.” -Jeanel Pierre, a fifth grade
“I like going to school with a bunch of kids that were never able to go to school before and now they’re here learning things they never knew before. I never knew how to count, but now I can count!” -David Millor, third grade
“If I wasn’t able to come to school, I would have to work and find a little money here and there to survive on. But now school is teaching me all kinds of things that I’d never thought I’d learn in my life—like stories in the Bible!” -Marie-Love Thime, sixth grade
“There are devotions every morning at school. I want to continue to learn more about Jesus. I love learning about Jesus because he helps me. In my heart, I know Jesus is right. It’s part of who I am.” -Carlos, fifth grade