Education Is Access To Opportunities

Krystal in the vineyard

C2C Champion Krystal Paulin

Krystal raised $2,179! for the Saul Louis Community School.

Not only did we reach the Brick By Brick Campaign goal of raising $1,804 dollars, we surpassed it and raised $2,179!  I am forever grateful to my generous community.  To my Mommy, Amaka, Danny, and Kesha, thank you for being the first ones to jump in.  It meant the world to me. I want to especially thank the existing Community2Community (C2C) family for welcoming me into your community and your generous contributions to the Brick By Brick Campaign for the C2C Education Initiative.

If you ask me why this matters to me, I would tell you that I remember a moment when I was in grade school, at the point in our curriculum where Haïti is mentioned in American history.  It was a single paragraph, something to the effect of:

“France was busy fighting a slave revolt in Haïti and Napoleon sold a huge swath of land called the Louisiana Purchase to the United States.  Toussaint L’Ouverture led the fight in Haïti and they won their independence on January 1, 1804. The U.S. went on to expand west settling middle America.”

That’s it?

Krystal Grade School Picture

I remember checking the index at the back of the book to see where else Haïti was mentioned. There had to be more! 

I remember checking the index at the back of the book to see where else Haïti was mentioned. There had to be more!  There has always been more to the story. I had heard about Haïti’s history from my parents and grandparents.  The Pearl of the Antilles, rich in resources and beauty.  A resilient people. It was then that I learned the perspectives of a few, could limit your view of the world.  I knew that learning meant having different points of view and therefore more information. That was my light-bulb lighting up.  I wanted more information, needed more information and thankfully, I had access to it.

At the Saul Louis Community School in Petit Goâve, students’ access to information is limited.  Their awareness is theoretical. If you have entered or seen a classroom in the United States, you will see bursts of color, boxes of supplies, and numerous hands-on opportunities.  There are coins for counting, blocks for fractions, rulers for measurements, all of which are used for the basic teachings that are the foundation of knowledge needed in our day to day lives.  Now, imagine a classroom with three walls, a corrugated roof, and a single chalkboard. When our access is limited, our capacity to learn is limited.  In Haïti, less than 50% of the population is literate.  Less than 50%! Compare that with 86% literacy in the US and 90% globally.1  

Why does it matter?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “Education is Key”.  I believe that education in all its forms leads to greatness, to opportunity, and to a fighting chance throughout the world.  A school does not just give children a place to learn. The Saul Louis Community School will impact the entire community and will allow them opportunities to change their world and the world of others.  Education is so important because it has the power to revitalize and renew, to remodel, reshape, and create new possibilities. I will continue to choose education as a means for change.

When asked how I related to the children at the school, I am reminded that I am still a student.  We all are. I would imagine like me, students enjoy school. I have always enjoyed learning. School is a place to make friends and learn new things.  Granted, I did not always feel that way during exams! School has always given me knowledge, perspective, and a place to ask questions and grow. Although my formal education has ended, I see examples of how my experiences and my recollection of alternative points of view have changed the outcome of decisions.

An educated population has the ability to make economic, political, social, and responsible sustainable change.  The ability to make lasting change reminds people of their collective and individual power. Learning ignites a movement in the community and results in more people working, owning, and contributing. 

Had I not had the opportunity to receive a formal education, I don’t know where I would be.  In the United States, not having a formal education makes it difficult to find work and harder to be seen for opportunities.  There are policies in place to favor those with degrees. Additionally, your options are limited and replaceable, which may force you into work you never wanted to do or no work at all.  In Haïti, only 50% of enrolled students complete 6th grade on time 2 and only 1% of high school graduates make it to university 3.  Although college is not the only route, I know that my time in elementary and secondary school has supported me in getting into college, finding employment, and most importantly opening my eyes to what is going on around me.

Take some time to think about your own schooling experiences.  If you did not have the opportunity to go to school, where would you be currently?  How would your life be different?

In reflecting on this experience, I remain committed to sowing opportunity into the lives of these children and this community and will continue to do so.  Maybe you (yes you!) are thinking about what you can do.

Although the Brick By Brick campaign has ended, you can still make an impact today. I invite you to:

I look forward to building alongside you, brick by brick, to see what our work with the community will produce. Let’s make lasting, impactful change together!

In partnership and solidarity,


C2C Champion Krystal Paulin

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