The MREF provides ongoing support to The Joseph School, a primary and secondary school in Cabaret, Haiti. In a country where 43% of kids are not in primary school, The Joseph School equips Haitian children with an education based in leadership and focused on service.
Why The Joseph School?
Most Haitian families are unable to afford the cost of school uniforms, classroom textbooks, or transportation. In addition, 48% of the population is undernourished and only 65% has access to basic water treatment services. While education is a priority for The Joseph School, the nonprofit understands that if students are not well fed, they will lack the energy needed to focus and learn. At The Joseph School, the food budget is a priority. This is essential in a country with an unstable economy.
Mission trips were once an effective way to introduce new individuals and volunteers to the school, however, with the ongoing issues in the country, they have been difficult to continue. So, the MREF is very excited to give you a closer look at this amazing community! Bildad Michel, director of operations at The Joseph School, shared stories and updates in an interview with Carl Rossow, member of the executive board of directors at the MREF.
The Joseph School makes a positive impact on its students
Members of The Joseph School have a passion and desire to give back to their community to better the future for children in Haiti. Bildad said, “The Joseph School is not just a school, it’s a community.”
“Education is the only way out for the children,” said Bildad. “All of them right now have the same story. Right now, they fear for their life and, with what's going on in Haiti, the only hope they have – it’s you and I that give it to them.”
The Joseph School reminds students that they have a purpose and will do great things in life. Bildad said, “In spite of everything, in spite [of] what you see in the news, I’ve always said to them ‘if the news is bad, you need to find a way to be the news to make it good.’”
Classroom operations at The Joseph School
Children are respectful of each other, their community, and their education. They learn to clean up after themselves and help each other understand course materials. And each student understands the importance of community. Bildad shared a story where a new teacher began to continue a lesson despite a single student being confused. Knowing this went against the school’s philosophy, another student stood up and said, “No, that's not how we do it here. In order for us to move [forward], all of us have to understand.”
To offer their students a better social standing, The Joseph School has added two campus buildings, one focusing on science courses and one on computer basics and coding, and has implemented real-world concepts they can incorporate as a classroom.
To teach about democracy, the school held student council elections. Six classmate-nominated student candidates were selected based on a set of criteria. The children not only understood but also enjoyed the process. Students presented speeches on how they would serve their school and community and parents were invited to attend the final ceremony.
Supporting The Joseph School
“Every dollar that I give … because of your overhead structure, almost every single dollar gets to those kids, gets to making a difference in their lives. For the MREF, The Joseph School has always been one of the organizations we wanted to support because we were so close to being able to feel our dollars actually make an impact in all of these kids' lives,” said Rossow.
If you are financially able to, consider donating to the MREF’s campaign for The Joseph School.