By Matt Wilkie
“It’s not a project anymore — it’s a reality.” Pastor Samuel looks up at the two story building, realizing the life-changing opportunity it presents for his community.
I met Pastor Samuel in 2010 when I visited his school and church in Haiti. He’s a strong leader and I could tell that his vision, already in motion, was transforming the lives of children in his community for years to come.
I believed it was a strategic time and place for our teams to work given our long-standing history with the school and Pastor Samuel. Since then, hundreds of Field Teams members have served the students of the school with passion and a lot of hard work.
We’ve built a kitchen and a storage building for food; installed a fuel-efficient gas stove; helped finish the high school; and painted and built a two-story building that houses a computer lab, a library, and as of March 2017, a new vocational school!
This school is helping the Haitian students get to work — and I’m thrilled.
On registration day, 42 students joined to learn welding, plumbing, electrical work, sewing, and more. Most are high school age students whose family situations didn’t include them attending school as younger children. Instead of growing up with very little education and a need to find assistance elsewhere, they’ll grow to adulthood with skills that help them secure relatively good paying jobs — allowing them to take care of their families and support their community.
After the success of the first week of classes, the number of vocational students more than doubled, and 92 students are currently being engaged in the program.
The future leaders of Haiti are learning skills that can help communities flourish. That’s something to be proud of.