Health Education Project Haiti
1) For the school, our goal is to maximize the education quality while sustaining the school on a very limited budget, and making it accessible to local children either free or with minimal expense. At present, we can send a child to school for $50 for the year.
2) In two other districts, we run affordable family planning programs in conjunction with volunteers from the local communities. These are combined with women’s groups that we facilitate, but are lead by local women to address their needs.
3) HEP conducts health education talks at schools, community groups, and churches.
4) We fund the cost for Mr. Bastien’s medical schooling so he can continue this work as a physician, and make a lifetime of difference for Haiti.
Who is involved?
Samuel Bastien is a Medical Student who started the NGO, and I work closely with him and his team to manage and plan HEP projects. There is a group of young Haitian students and professionals who comprise the team. For all our projects, we run them in conjunction with community volunteers, so it always becomes the community’s own project, with our group as a partner.
Why this matters now?
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. And unfortunately, most development projects have been shown lack of organization and management, and rarely become sustainable. Working with good local people, developing their skills and teamwork, while identifying the most important development factor will create a sustainable change for those we are able to reach, and for the people in our team.
HEP’s school is in the Santo district of Port Au Prince, and the local children have no other school. For children, who have no other school to go to, education is transformative for their lives.
Our family planning and women’s programs are in the Canaan district and the town of Tiburon. Family planning saves the life of a woman who is not ready for a child. It saves the sibling, who would drop out of school once mother and family spread cannot afford the cost of multiple children. It saves the life of a child who is born to a teenaged mother, or a mother who, despite best intentions, does not have the finances of family stability to raise him or her, and there is no safety net.
Health education saves lives when people learn healthy behaviors, and surpass myths or lack of information for basic issues like sanitation.