Originally occupied as a French colony, Haiti gained independence in 1804 and achieved recognition as the first nation of freed African slaves in the Western Hemisphere. Yet the Republic of Haiti today lags far behind most nations in its capacity to educate its citizens. Current statistics indicate that only half of all Haitians can read. As a consequence, illiteracy stands in the way of most other opportunities for Haitians, who rank among the world’s most impoverished citizens.
To bring positive change to this situation, FLM-Haiti dedicates every day of its ministry to helping Haitians to acquire fundamental reading, writing and math skills. These basic tools for intellectual and spiritual development would otherwise be denied to the people touched by our work.
In the 28 years that it has provided these basic tools for a productive life, FLM-Haiti has taught thousands of Haitian children and adults to be apostles of change in their communities and contributors to an improved standard of living through their work.
Our reputation in Haiti as center of education is well earned by the Haitian teachers at College Mixte Devaise Pamphile and FLM-Haiti’s literacy centers in 11 communities. One hundred and three educators working for this ministry prepare the hearts and minds of young and adult Haitians to lead productive and fulfilling lives. And they impart a very important daily lesson – that literate citizens can empower each other in the work of building a true democracy and functional economy for Haiti.
While education drives much of FLM-Haiti’s mission, we must seek resources on a continuing basis to sustain the two-story College Mixte Devaise Pamphile, which is located in Thomassin on land donated by Pastor and Mrs. Devaise Pamphile. At the heart of our ministry, FLM-Haiti offers K-12 education to some 600 Haitian children. Those students also receive a daily warm meal from the school’s kitchen, a vital provision that many of these young children rely upon for daily nutrition.
FLM also provides instruction for adults and young people alike within the context of their church communities. In 1984 we opened our first four literacy centers, and demand for this ministry of literacy has grown steadily over the last 28 years. In the last two years, even in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquakes, 96 Haitian literacy teachers brought instruction in arithmetic, reading, and writing Haitian Creole to young and adult Haitians at 60 locations in 11 communities.
Seeking the most basic tools of learning, our literacy students receive well-deserved public recognition their accomplishments in a special graduation ceremony. This summer FLM-Haiti will honor 1,256 graduates at the end of their second year in the program. More than 11,000 people have received certifications of literacy through this program.
Our work as educators extends as well to the many families and individuals who receive basic health-education and counseling, along with medical treatment, at FLM-Haiti’s House of David Community Health Center. Our medical staff, including volunteer doctors and nurses who come to our clinic in Thomassin twice a year, provides guidance for young wives during pregnancy as well as counsel for the health and nutrition of infants and children.
Building upon the very strong religious faith of the Haitian people, FLM-Haiti works beyond the shadows of Haiti’s instability and woe to place the lamp of learning among the Haitian people. Supporters of FLM-Haiti make it possible to provide the opportunity for education. In so doing, they help us to keep the light of hope burning bright in the lives of thousands of Haitian children and adults.