How do we know the money goes to the kids?
When I started this I wanted to manage it so that I paid the schools directly. That will be the process but in some instances not practical. My fear was the same as there are so many competing needs these families face. Ultimately have have to trust the family commitment to their children and that has proved to be beyond what I expected.
For the professional schools are there criteria for the students to meet?
No. They just have to want to go. The plan so far is that in the identified families all children are eligible. Now they do have to pass their courses and I do want someone to visit them two times a year to evaluate how they are doing and how the school performs. Look for ways the student may need help to succeed. Tutors? Adjustments to new culture etc.
How do you know the schools are legitimate?
This is a difficult question and we are constantly attempting to gather information. Accreditation in Haiti is not a credible gauge as the process is political. There are lots of good schools that are private and not regulated and there are a lot of schools that are scams. We have already been burned by a bogus nursing program. Having someone one the ground to evaluate is essential. We are looking at ways to do that. I can guarantee we will make mistakes but will try our best to get started on the right foot.
Will there be jobs?
We don’t know. Just as in the US, graduating from college does not guarantee work and this is even more so in Haiti. There is 1 Nurse for every 10000 people in Haiti. There is need. Is there a job? This is improving.
How do you decide which students go and which don’t.
If it comes to that we don’t decide, the family does. They have already made this decision as some years students stay out of school so others can attend.
Are there other costs?
Tuition is about half the cost for lower grades. Books and uniforms are about as much as tuition. Families still have to put their own money and resources into the pot.
How much of the fund raising money will go to the students?
We would like it to be 100% but that will depend on grant writing. There are some expenses like financial charges for money transfer that cannot be avoided. We will need to pay for someone on the ground in Haiti. This person will be Haitian and the job supports Haiti. Best guess if we cannot get a grant to cover administration costs: 85% will go directly to school support.
Will we have reports about how the students are doing?
Absolutely. One of the jobs of the administrator will be to give an annual report as to what is happening with each student. Pictures each year. The administrator will be visiting the schools and talking with the student and teachers.
How do you transfer money?
Easiest way is Western Union and an NGO Fonkoze. There may be another way that is less expensive but I don’t know yet. There is a bank in Aquin. We may set up an account there.
Do you have non profit status?
Yes we are a 501 3 c non profit.
How much money do you expect to raise?
For 2012 $9500. We hope to get grants to cover the costs of applications and registrations which will cost close to $1000.
How much does it cost for the schools?
The grade school and high schools are $100 to $200 a year. National schools are much less. The professional schools run around $600 to $1650. There is also a teaching hospital being built outside of Port au Prince that will be a state-of-the-art hospital. I am trying to find information about what programs they have.
Can your students get in?
We have 4 in nursing school one in law and one in Engineering.
One of the problems we may run into is that rural education is often inferior to private schools in Port au Prince. Students have some difficulty competing. The major problem is the quality of French as all advanced Education is taught in French. Local French training does not prepare them well. In some cases this may require us to provide tutors to bring them up to speed. This is true at the university level. Professional schools do not require a university education. I do not know how crucial French is in those institutions yet.
What are particular challenges you see ahead?
Communication is always a challenge. My Kreyol is not strong enough to communicate well. I will be depending on help from Haitian friends to translate. And communication when you do understand can at times be confusing. Haitian culture does not speak directly. Haitians will not admit fault. Responsibility is sometimes difficult to determine. Giving feedback is best done indirectly and that can be a challenge in person and a bigger one from a distance.