Education and mentoring for women and girls is one of the top factors in a country's economic development. In rural northern Haiti about 90 minutes from Cap Haitien, the High Hopes Haiti project will provide group lessons in English, business development and computer literacy to high school girls and young adult women. All 30 participants will, in turn, "give back" by providing weekly English language training to local school children and sharing aspects of their training with other area women.
Unlike the capital city Port-au-Prince, where post-earthquake support is focused, rural northern Haiti has limited access to humanitarian development. This void perpetuates the poverty cycle. Young women in particular do not have access to career education and vocational training. Without opportunities for skills-based education, they are at high risk of early pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other quality of life challenges. This erodes dreams, a sense of empowerment, and self-reliance.
The High Hopes Haiti project guarantees that up to 30 high school girls and young women will receive 9 months of weekly, in-person group lessons in English as well as career planning and basic management. Lesson plans incorporate computers and software for business skills, financial tracking and language translation. This intensive experience includes books and training materials, as well as periodic SKYPE conversations in English with virtual supporters and mentors in the U.S.
Targeted education for women in low-income countries contributes to shifts from subsistence to "real development." English is increasingly spoken among business people in Haiti. Interviews with managers of manufacturing, healthcare and service companies in the region confirm that jobs will be available to participants with enhanced English, computer and business skills. Increases to average per capita income from higher quality jobs will impact lives of the young women and their families.