In 1984, we opened our first four literacy centers, and demand for this ministry has grown steadily over the past 30 years. Daily, these centers impart a very important lesson – that literate citizens can empower each other in the work of building a true democracy and functional economy for Haiti. In the course of a year, it is not unusual for FLM-Haiti to honor 1,256 graduates as they complete their second year in the literacy program.
FLM-Haiti has 72 government-certified literacy centers in 11 communities; 103 educators serve this ministry with instruction in arithmetic, reading, and writing to prepare the hearts and minds of young and adult Haitians to lead productive and fulfilling lives.
More than 11,000 people have received certifications of literacy through this program.
In fact, education drives much of FLM-Haiti’s mission and, in recent years, we’ve opened L’ecole Mixte Devese Pamphile, a K-13 school in Thomassin that educates girls and boys from local communities. The two-story school is named for and built on land donated by our executive director’s father. To sustain the school and its mission, FLM-Haiti must continually seek resources that provide for teachers, students, and capital improvements.
Reading and writing are valuable and necessary skills. However, FLM-Haiti provides service that empowers Haitians by working not only with their intellectual gifts, but also with their creative talents. Recently, FLM-Haiti launched a sewing ministry with nine women from local communities. Its goal is to teach the women to make school uniforms, using their skills to launch their own small business. In addition to learning to make sleeves and buttonholes, the women practice daily devotions, get public health lessons in women’s anatomy, healthy pregnancy, first aid, children’s literacy, and lessons in marketing/business.
More importantly, the sewing ministry is a micro-enterprise where the seamstresses support each other. A primary goal is to train the women so that they can teach others, eventually setting up a “sewing café,” where graduates from the sewing school can pay a small fee to use a machine until they are able to purchase their own.