We know that one of the best ways to keep kids out of slavery is to keep them in school. That's why we're overjoyed to report that this school year we helped our partners in Haiti launch 11 Accelerated Education classrooms - one more than our goal - and we did it thanks to your support.
How does school keep kids out of slavery? Older children from rural communities who are unable to start school at the traditional age of 6 are much more likely to be sent away to live in the city as household slaves. Parents often don't know the risk of sending their child away, believing life in the city means the chance to go to school.
Sadly, the reality is that many children who are sent away face neglect, abuse and an unrelenting regime of household chores at the hands of their 'host family.'
Beyond Borders is working to change this by supporting the movement to end child slavery in Haiti. A centerpiece of our effort is the Accelerated Education (AE) program.
These 11 AE classrooms are hosted in 7 Haitian schools this year and are educating more than 160 kids. Most of the students were at risk for being sent away into household slavery and some were rescued from slavery by parents who now rejoice to have their children back home.
In addition to creating classrooms for previously unschooled youth, our strategy includes training for adults on the rights of children and how to take action to protect vulnerable kids.
In communities across rural southeast Haiti and in Port-au-Prince, our 22-week child rights program is training groups of 12 to 15 adult neighbors who in turn are saving kids from slavery and helping reunite them with their families. Since 2010, Beyond Borders has trained more than 3,000 adults using this method. You can read one such story of how an adult trained by Beyond Borders rescued a child from slavery in our Winter 2013 newsletter, available now.
Beyond Borders is committed to expanding our efforts to support the movement to end child slavery by keeping kids in school and training adults to protect children. And we know this work only happens through your support and partnership. We are humbled by the trust you place in us and we are committed to using your donation in the most effective way possible.
We invite you to visit our website to learn more about how you can partner with a community working to end child slavery. And while there, read our four most recent IRS Form 990 filings, our three most recent audited financial statements and our Charity Navigator report, which ranks us in the top 1% of charities evaluated.
Thank you for supporting the movement to end child slavery!
For the second consecutive year every child in the rural mountaintop village of Meno is enrolled in school - thanks in part to your support for Beyond Borders' Accelerated Education program.
How do the teachers and administrators at the Meno Community School know that every child in their village is in school?
"The teachers themselves go out to every corner of their village to search for children not in school," explained Jean Prosper Elie, Beyond Borders' program director.
Hiking through steep and rocky terrain on narrow, mountainside trails, teachers go door-to-door to the most remote corners of their village.
Often what they find explains why the Accelerated Education program is so important: older children who are unable to start school at the traditional age of 6 because their families are too poor to send them.
When the teachers first did a survey of their community they found 49 children not enrolled in school.
With each passing year that older kids aren't in school, they become more and more likely to be sent away to the city to live as household slaves.
In Meno your support for Accelerated Education plays a large role in ensuring that every child is a student - not a slave.
Today those 49 young people are in school - as is every child in Meno.
"Accelerated Education is key to keeping older kids out of slavery and getting them in to school," Elie said.
David Diggs, Beyond Borders' Director, agrees: "This is an extraordinary achievement," Diggs said. "Our goal is to replicate these same results in the 10 classrooms where we support Accelerated Education and then continue to expand the program to more communities."
On Nov. 22 those of us in the United States will pause and give thanks for the blessings of our lives. In the current economy, many of us are especially thankful for a job and for the education we received that made employment possible. In Haiti, so many children not only miss out on an education but are forced to work as household slaves far away from their families.
This Thanksgiving, if you have a job, if you've had the chance to get an education, consider showing your gratitude by giving a day's wages to our "Schools Not Slavery" campaign.
A gift of $160 - less than a day's wages for many - will send 2 children to school for a year in our Accelerated Education program.
We at Beyond Borders, the students of Meno and their parents are thankful for your solidarity and support.
Anise Mathier is one of the young women that you helped send to school. Anise is 15-years-old and she lives in the remote village of Meno, an hour and a half walk up a rocky, treacherous mountain incline in southeastern Haiti.
"I want to be a nurse," said Anise, who is the only one of her 6 siblings - 2 brothers and 4 girls - on track to complete her education.
Thanks to your support for Beyond Borders' Accelerated Education Program and our "School, Not Slavery for Haitian Children" campaign, many more children like Anise will have the chance to go to school, complete their education and contribute to the renewal of their community and their country.
"I'm about to start the 5th grade with my friends," Anise proudly declared.
She's done so well in her two years in the Accelerated Education program, Anise's teachers recommended that she be mainstreamed in to a regular classroom where she can join her peers.
But Anise's chance at an education almost never happened. Unable to start school at the traditional age of 6 because her family was too poor to send her, with each passing year Anise became more and more likely to be sent away as a household slave than to see the inside of a classroom. Why?
Families that can't feed their children or send them to school often believe the alternative - sending their child to the city to live as a household servant with at least the promise of a meal and a chance to go to school - is better.
The reality, however, is that most of the time children sent away to be household servants never go to school. Instead they end up as household slaves, working long, backbreaking hours and suffering emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of adults.
"Our goal is to see no child sent in to slavery instead of going to school," said David Diggs, Beyond Borders executive director. "Our Accelerated Education program is a key component of our strategy to save kids from slavery."
This past school year 146 young people - 62 girls and 84 boys - in 7 classrooms had a chance to be something they've never been before: students. Your support made this happen.
In the coming school year we will add 3 more Accelerated Education classrooms to bring the total number to 10. It's a modest start to be sure, but with your continued support, and the intense dedication of Haitian teachers, school administrators and parents, we believe we will continue to add new Accelerated Education classrooms each year.
Simply put, we can save more Haitian children from slavery with help from you and your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors.
With each additional $80 in support, Beyond Borders can place another student like Anise in an Accelerated Education classroom for a year. How can you spread the word about Accelerated Education with those in your life and help us welcome more students like Anise into a classroom?
Thank you for your generous support for Beyond Borders' Accelerated Education program in Haiti!