Antoine Vedline is eight years old and lives in the isolated mountain community of Manac, Haiti. About 80% of the children in Manac are labourers to help support their families. Antoine is in the second grade and is the only one in his community whose family can afford to send him to school.
Antoine travels about two hours, each way, to attend the only school in his district. Free The Children has started construction on a school in Manac so that soon Antoine and other children in his community will have access to education and won’t have to make the long and perilous journey.
In Haiti, male children are favoured for education (Antoine has two sisters, and they don’t attend school), which creates inequality for women growing up in Haitian communities. The people of Manac are understandably enthusiastic about the construction of the new school – it will mean the girls will have the opportunity to actually attend – and are volunteering their time and effort. Some haul supplies while others donate stones from their yards to be used as concrete for the walls and foundation of the school.
Antoine’s father is a farmer. His mother sells rice and wood oil. To make money, Antoine’s parents must travel to Hinche, a five-hour hike down the mountain. The journey is not fit for vehicles and even donkeys have difficulty travelling up and down the slope, thus the transport of supplies is very limited.
With the construction of the school already on the horizon and the hope of health care, Free The Children is helping improve the quality of life for children like Antoine.
To learn more about Free The Children’s work in Haiti, visit www.freethechildren.com/haiti