If you glance through photos of RISING students, you’ll notice that we have students ranging from small children in kindergarten all the way up to young adults in university. Sometimes people ask us why we support university students? It’s true that if you support younger students with lower school costs you can reach more students — but our goal isn’t only to reach more students.
Our goal is to equip bright young Haitians to one day bring about change in their country.
4 reasons why we choose to support students at the university level:
1. Employment in Haiti – A high school degree is highly beneficial in Haiti, but it is still very difficult to find a job if that’s all you have. To be honest, in Haiti, it’s difficult to find a job no matter what your education level but having a college degree truly does separate you from the pack. Haiti has a large surplus of workers skilled in blue-collar trades such as carpentry and masonry, but higher education opens the door to a wider range of professions, so you aren’t competing with the masses for the same jobs.
2. Employment Abroad - Of course, we would rather college graduates stay and invest in their own country, but we have to be realistic about where Haiti is at today. There are not enough jobs to go around, and a college degree increases your chances of finding work abroad. A large percentage of Haitians living in Haiti depend on money sent home by relatives living abroad, so when a young Haitian works abroad, not only will they likely find a better future, but they are also likely to help their family members in Haiti. Some of them might even move back to Haiti and find creative ways to re-invest in their own country.
3. Technology – It’s no secret that technology is changing the world at a rapid pace, and unfortunately young people in poor countries like Haiti often get left behind because they lack access to technological training. In most cases, students don’t get this kind of training in high school, but they can at the university level. For example, we currently have several RISING university students studying computer programing, and they are able to use the RISING resource center to access computers and the internet. This kind of technical training helps prepare young Haitians to enter the workforce in the 21st century.
4. Leadership –The training and networking opportunities that students receive at the university level are important stepping stones for attaining influential leadership positions in the government, non-profit, and business sectors. Our goal is to invest in the next generation of Haitians — and by investing in university students in the capital, we have a chance to put young Haitians in a position to influence the country’s systems at the highest level.
This kind of top-level systemic reform has the potential to improve life for far more people than any single education program.
Haiti is known as the “Republic of NGO’s” because powerful non-governmental organizations provide so many of the services for Haitians, but our prayer for Haiti is that she would be able to develop systems to support her own people, and it’s bright, educated young Haitians who are in the best position to make this happen.
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