There is a well-known African proverb that says, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire nation.”
If you grew up like me, with the privilege of a free education and equal opportunities for both girls and boys alike, this proverb may not seem that relatable. But for girls in Haiti, for our girls at Emmaus House, this is a truth close to the heart. And I have seen this to be true time and time again. An educated woman in Haiti is a powerful one. They are the influencers. The leaders. The caretakers. The champions for change.
Ask any of our girls what they plan on doing with their future careers and their first response will always be how they plan on using it to support their families and serve others in their communities. Jenny wants to be a nurse so she can help families who can’t afford proper medical care in the church. Kencia wants to be a midwife so she can financially help her extended family. Myriam wants to be a counselor so she can help girls who grew up orphaned just like she did. And the list goes on.
All our girls have dreams to use their educations not just to improve their own lives, but also for the betterment of their country.
This summer two of our girls will reach milestones in their educations. Although their journeys towards independence are still far from over, they will soon be one step closer to the futures they have both have been working so hard to achieve, and we are so incredibly proud of both of them.
Arianne will graduate secondary school next month after completing the required national exams. Only 29% of the Haitian population ever makes it to secondary school, and even less have the privilege of finishing. So this is an achievement we don't take lightly. Following graduation, Arianne plans to apply for nursing school in Cap Haitien and hopes to become a pediatric nurse.
Josie will graduate her professional school in hospitality and tourism in July. Following graduation, Josie will begin looking for a job. In a country with a 40% unemployment rate, we know this will not be an easy task. Tourism, however, is a growing industry in Haiti, particularly in Cap Haitien. With the skills she has learned from both school and Emmaus House, we are hopeful Josie will find much success in this career.
Today, I want to thank all of those who have sponsored, prayed over, and supported both Arianne and Josie through the years. It is because of you that both of them are about to achieve what few girls do in Haiti. We know this gift of education is a gift from God, and we teach all our students at Emmaus House that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). Together, we are committed to helping both Arianne and Josie learn how God intends to use their gifts and educations to love and serve others in Haiti.
Please continue to keep both Arianne and Josie in your prayers as they both take these next steps in their lives- Arianne applying for university and Josie beginning the search for a job. And please pray for our leaders on the ground as they work diligently to guide and support them.
In Haiti, that African proverb is true. When you educate a girl you educate a nation. Thank you for helping us educate Arianne and Josie. Together, you are helping us educate Haiti's future leaders.
- Jillian Kittrell