Mission E4 has found a special place in the hearts of many individuals at GRC. We have sent 2 mission teams to Haiti through this special group. Please take the time to read the following interview with Chelle from Mission E4 on what goes into selecting a child for their schools and what happens once they are there.
Q/A with Chelle from E4
1. How are children accepted/chosen for Mission E4 schools? The pastor of the church connected with the school is the one who chooses children for each school. They choose the most needy and the poorest who would otherwise have no opportunity to go to school. It appears to me that they also will fill open spots with siblings of children already in the school to keep families together.
2. What is the length of the school year? How many hours/day do they attend? The length of the school year is much like ours in the U.S. They go from September thru May or June, BUT, sponsorship pays for them to go year 'round, and during the summer they have Vacation Bible School and continue with their free hot meal every day. The purpose is twofold...to feed them and to teach them the Bible.
3. Is there Biblical teaching incorporated during the regular school year? There is Biblical teaching incorporated during the regular school year. They also have Sunday classes before church.
4. Do children begin school at age 5 typically? Typically they do begin school at 5 years old for kindergarten, but I know of 4 year olds as well.
5. Do they get one uniform (or fabric for one) or more? They get only one uniform per year. In July, they are measured and given fabric for a new uniform. They take great pride in their uniform because it shows that they are in a school. As soon as they return from school, they get into play clothes and keep their uniforms cleaned and pressed. Haitians are very neat and clean in a very dusty and dirty country!
6. Do they have school books? All children are given school books for their grade (in Haitian Creole, of course!). When they pass a grade, they are given new books for the new grade. For the first 3 years they are automatically passed to the next grade. After that, they must take an exam to pass. If they fail the exam two years in a row, they have to leave the program. Most pass! Education is more important to them than food! Many in Haiti cannot read or write.
7. What do they typically carry in their school bags? They carry their school books in their school bags, along with any pencils, pens, markers, rulers, etc. that they might have. They must provide their own, and when a child is sponsored they frequently get these items as gifts and then share with other family members or children in their village.
8. Do they bring snacks? Is lunch provided? They do not bring snacks...they are too poor and many do not get anything to eat all day except for the hot lunch they are given at the school! It is hard to imagine in the U.S. where we have refrigerators full of food! They do not have snacks or money to buy snacks.
9. Do they have recess? If so, What do they do during recess? I believe their recess is at lunch time...they like to go out and play soccer if someone has a ball, or they play clapping games. They will jump rope if someone has a rope. There is also a game they play with pebbles, much like our jacks game.
10. What is the length of school day? Their school day is shorter, they get out about 12:30 or 1:00 p,m. after lunch...the afternoons are very hot and most of the children have chores to do for their homes, like fetching water from the well, or sweeping the dirt floors in their homes (usually one room homes), or washing dishes. They do not have dish washers or even sinks. They must draw water from the wells, dump them in plastic tubs and wash dishes outside, as well as clothes.
11. Do they have homework? The children do have homework! If they cannot ready or write yet, they have reciting lessons.