Last week, Partners in Education Haiti (PieH) provided its member families with “survival” grants to help during difficult times.
Haiti students have been out of school all year. For the first two-thirds of the school year, the government closed schools due to violent protests countrywide. Shortly after schools reopened, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Haiti caused the government to close schools again and close its borders.
Closing schools in Haiti doesn’t mean that buildings are closed and that teachers and administrators find ways to educate students. It means there are no classes on or off-line, few teachers and administrators receive a salary, and students have little access to learning. There are no libraries, low access to the internet, and many parents or guardians do not have the education to offer assistance.
Inflation in Haiti is at its highest since 2004, which is due partially to the rising cost of gas prices, which in turn caused violent protests against the government. In 2012, the conversion between Haitian Gourde and U.S. Dollar was under 40:1. Today, it’s 98+:1, over double. Due to Covid-19, country borders have been closed, which means little or no importation, something Haiti heavily relies on for food and supplies. One might think that the cost of living in Haiti is cheap. But it’s not. A jar of regular-sized peanut butter in a Haitian grocery store is $9.00 U.S. That would be three to four days wages for most Haitians, so they purchase food and supplies from street vendors. (Most PieH heads of households are street vendors.) Crowded streets with no access to water increase their vulnerability to Covid-19.
Haitians cannot depend on their government for assistance. It doesn’t provide any, including any form of medicare, social security, or welfare of any kind.
On June 18, PieH Program Assistant Orvilus Edome distributed funds to each family. He relayed a message from the parents and students, “All the parents and students present asked for me to tell the team hello. They said, ‘May God bless you more and more.'” Edome added, “The gift is like the manna that Israel people received from God in the desert. ” (Exodus 16:31)
Even though Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Haiti, on July 3, the Haitian president announced that churches would reconvene mid-July, and schools would reopen mid-August. Nothing else officially closed because there was no way to enforce it.
Pictured Below: Some of the PieH students and their parents
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