Haiti (MNN) — The phrase “back to school” can mean a lot of things: newly-sharpened pencils, crisply-ironed uniforms, shiny new gym shoes, to name a few. In Haiti, “back to school” means big changes.
“They’re starting to install some new government regulations with regard to not only government schools, but Christian schools,” shares Ron Pierre of Baptist Haiti Missions (BHM).
“That means a dramatic, dramatic impact on us. We’re in desperate need of funds to cover schoolbooks.”
BHM has 320 church-related schools throughout Haiti, with nearly 70,000 students enrolled. These new regulations are making “back to school” season a difficult one.
“Schoolbooks [are] the single biggest expense that we have, and they need to be replaced,” says Pierre.
Shipping extra textbooks from U.S. schools to Haiti would seem like a simple solution. Pierre says it’s not that easy: new regulations put forth by the Haitian government create an obstacle.
“The schoolbooks need to be printed and sanctioned by Haiti,” Pierre explains. Haiti’s government paid Haitian publishers to print and distribute two million textbooks for the 2014 school year, which begins on Monday.
According to BHM, only a third of Haitian children ever begin school, and only 2% stay enrolled past 5th grade.
However, those who persevere and obtain an education find stability, opportunity, and the ability to study and understand God’s Word. Pierre says BHM weaves the Gospel into every part of their school program.
“The Lord is the Master Provider. He always has provided in days gone by, and we look to Him as the Provider for these schoolbooks,” notes Pierre. “He knows the need more than we do.”
Please keep Haiti’s next generation in your prayers.
“The youth are crying out…. They don’t want to sit and beg. They want to learn, they want to grow,” Pierre shares. “The poverty of Haiti is so crushing that, many times, it almost seems like an impossible task to reach these young people.
“We would ask your listening audience to pray fervently for the people of Haiti.”