The Power of Education Foundation (PEF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides a quality education in a safe and healthy environment to children in Port au Prince, Haiti. The PEF school currently serves 204 children in grades K-7. Generally, the quality of education in Haiti is low. Through the PEF school, we are working to change this by providing our students with a holistic education that considers the needs of the whole child. We train our teachers extensively, give them access to technology, and hold them to high standards. Knowing hungry and unwell children cannot learn, we provide our students with nutritional support, healthcare services, textbooks, and most importantly, a compassionate learning environment free of charge. The school opened in 2010, just nine months after the devastating earthquake. Our mission grew out of the dreams of community leaders to provide a better future for their children. Together, we are building a strong and lasting program that is transforming their community. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a GDP per capita of roughly $1,300 compared to $48,000 in the US. We believe Haiti remains so poor in part because most Haitians do not have access to effective education.
Government-funded schools are scarce, overcrowded, and generally dilapidated; students who are lucky enough to find spots must deal with inadequate textbooks and unskilled teachers. While the children of wealthy families attend private schools, the majority of Haitian children either drops out of school early or never attends. As a result, almost half of the population is illiterate. The earthquake exacerbated the problem by destroying 4,200 schools and taking the lives of 1,350 teachers and 38,000 students.
The PEF school is located in the neighborhood of Fontamara, with most of our students come from the surrounding neighborhoods of Grand Ravine, Tiboise, Sauray and Martissant. Our administrators and teachers have identified barriers that affect our students’ ability to succeed in school, including: inadequate access to free government schooling, lack of consistent nutrition and healthcare, neighborhood violence, and lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and electricity. With the Haitian PEF board, they are working to overcome these challenges and support our most at-risk students.
Our school differs significantly from other schools in Haiti:
- Our teachers are educated and qualified and receive ongoing training.
- Our students receive nutritional support, healthcare, vitamins, and textbooks.
- The curriculum encourages student engagement and analytical reasoning via group discussion, exercises, and small group projects.
- Our literacy program is supported by our library – the only one in the area.
We are accountable to our donors and committed to measuring and evaluating our results. We track health and academic outcomes to ensure the programs are working and share them with donors. Each year since our school began, our average exam scores have increased and our students have grown and gotten healthier. We provide all of this value for approximately $600 per student, compared to approximately $7,000 per child in the US. We raise money through Educational Scholarships ($300 annually or $25 monthly) and Full Scholarships ($600 annually or $50 monthly). Our US operations are run completely by a volunteer board and staff; almost all of a donor’s contribution is invested directly in Haiti.
If you believe in the work of the Power of Education Foundation, please visit www.powerofeducationfoundation.org to learn more about how you can join the cause.