FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Haitian Project Embarks on Ambitious Plan to Significantly Expand Access to Secondary and Higher Education in Haiti
North Kingstown, RI—September 10, 2018—The Haitian Project is embarking on an ambitious plan to develop The Louverture Cleary Schools Network in Haiti—a national system of 10 schools, one in each governmental department, providing 3,600 students with a rigorous, tuition-free Catholic secondary school education and supporting 1,200 alumni on scholarships to Haitian universities each year.
The Haitian Project (THP), which has been providing quality secondary education in Haiti for three decades, sees this endeavor as a game-changer for Haiti—a way for the country to finally have the human capital necessary to emerge as a successful nation out of the poverty and chaos that has gripped the second oldest republic in our hemisphere for over two centuries.
“The reason we are so confident in the positive multiplier of education is not just because of our own mission’s success, but because of the Church’s long history providing education to immigrants, marginalized and disadvantaged people around the world,” said THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan. “Catholic education has been extremely successful helping immigrants escape ghettos in the U.S. and around the world."
Deacon Moynihan continued, “We are joining a legacy in Haiti started 150 years ago by groups such as the Christian Brothers, Salesians, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, to name a few. The Church has every reason to be proud of its second mission, education, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
The Network builds upon the success of THP’s existing Louverture Cleary School (LCS), a tuition-free, Catholic coeducational secondary boarding school located just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, serving 350 students. In a country where children are more likely to die before the age of five than finish high school, LCS’s historic pass rate on Haiti’s national exam is 98 percent—four times the national rate. Thanks to THP's university scholarship program, LCS graduates go on to attend and graduate from university in a country where less than one percent of the population holds a university degree.
Upon finishing university in Haiti, Louverturians are highly sought after by local employers for their education, ability to speak four languages and leadership skills. Having come from families earning less than $1,000 a year, alumni are earning an average of $12,000 a year just several years out of university.
Most importantly, in a country where 70 percent of college graduates leave the country, 90 percent of LCS graduates remain in Haiti. This is by design and embodied in the school motto: What you receive for free, you must give for free—Mt 10:8. Louverturians are committed to remaining in Haiti and building strong families, strong communities, and a stronger country for themselves and their children.
The leadership of The Haitian Project envisions the Network not as an end unto itself, but as an opportunity to galvanize support around a broader movement to direct more funding to education in Haiti overall.
Deacon Moynihan explained, “While we are going to focus our mission specifically on building a school in each of Haiti’s 10 dioceses, we recognize the good work of many other organizations increasing the number of parochial elementary schools in Haiti. We see providing excellent and accessible regional secondary schools as our participation in this collaborative effort of providing more and more opportunity for young people to receive a quality education. For our part, once our schools are completed, fewer students will have to migrate to the big cities to find quality secondary educational opportunities.”
Just like at the current school, students at each of the new schools will be responsible for maintaining and cleaning the campus. What will be new are increasing opportunities for them to be exposed to emerging green technologies as a part of their normal maintenance activities. THP plans to work with a select group of technical advisors and members of the Haitian private sector to use the Network as a platform to pilot innovative and sustainable energy and water solutions. The current campus is already 100 percent solar sufficient and an excellent steward of the environment, making the pursuit of these new opportunities the next chapter in a long history of responsible growth.
While full of excitement and promise, the ambitious undertaking is not without its challenges. For starters, THP will eventually need to raise over $10,000,000 each year to operate the Network, which can be a challenge in the current philanthropic environment. Deacon Moynihan noted, “We are going to have to move education higher on the list of things people choose to fund when helping developing countries. Currently, the split is about 80 percent for immediate services and relief—the majority of which is health-related—and less than 20 percent for education and social institution-building. That mixture has proven ineffective at creating systemic long-term change. If we can increase the amount going to education, we can be of better assistance.”
At $73,100,000, the initial investment required to construct the schools and fund the start-up costs for the project is also no small feat. “We have to find the funder (or funders) who is fully engaged in philanthropy at the top end and convince him or her that EDUCATION is the right catalyst—that it’s the best multiplier by far,” said Deacon Moynihan.
THP is confident that the payoff for Haiti will be significant and that the Network will be nothing short of a catalyst for robust institutional and economic growth. The projected cumulative earnings of graduates over 40 years underscores this point. At over $9 billion, the impact of graduates from the Network will be transformative. For comparison, Haiti’s economy today is approximately $8 billion.
This transformative change is a major topic in THP’s new Network campaign video, Education Works. It is partly why the film’s producer, nationally renowned message-maker Tad Devine, considers the Network a “demonstration project” with potential to change how philanthropy interacts with developing countries around the globe.
Dr. Scott LeGrand, Chair of THP’s Board of Directors is upbeat but also candid about what the Project needs at this moment to make the Network a reality. “Based on my years of first-hand experience working with The Haitian Project and Deacon Moynihan, I in no way doubt our ability to accomplish the Network,” LeGrand said. “All we need at this point is for the general community to provide the day-to-day support to keep us there. It is actually our loyal donors and the new donors who pitch in what they can that will keep us at the table long enough to secure the $73 million gift. The success of the Network will be to their credit as much as anyone.”
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Colby Bowker, VP of Communications
The Haitian Project, Inc.
401-500-0287 / [email protected]
About The Haitian Project:
The Haitian Project through its support of Louverture Cleary Schools, a national network of tuition-free, Catholic, co-educational secondary boarding schools in Haiti, provides for the education of academically-talented and motivated students from Haitian families who cannot afford the cost of their children’s education in order to maximize their potential and enable them to work toward building a Haiti where justice and peace thrive.