Thirteen years ago, the retention rate among children in the public school system in La Gonave was about 15 to 20 % and the number of children passing the national primary exam was between 7 to 10 %. With the investment HLD has made over the past 13 years on average 75% of the children now are passing the National Exam and moving on the secondary school. It all begins with entrusting a child with a textbook and place before them a well-trained teacher.
After more than two hundred years of independence, Haiti does not provide basic education to its people. Three-fourths of Haiti's population cannot read and write, and this magnifies the country's problems. Three-fourths of the population live in the countryside, where there are very few public schools which are for the most part badly equipped, and isolated academically from the rest of the country.
Each year HLD distributes between 25,000 to 35,000 textbooks to approximately 5,000 children in all 19 public primary schools throughout the island of La Gonave, one of the more remote and impoverished places in Haiti to help eradicate illietracy among children.
This initiative will have a profound impact in the system of education on the Island of LaGonave and eventually the Republic of Haiti. By providing books to the students on a lending basis, we are alleviating the financial burden on the parents. Therefore, we are helping more students attending school who would otherwise be sent off to live with wealthier families or forced to work the land to help provide for the family.