July 9th, 2023, was a very special day for the Province of Ganthier. In these difficult and bleak days in Haiti, 49 young men and women in the Community of Ganthier had been attending Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men, a professional school in Haiti built by Foundation for Peace in partnership with the community leaders of the Province.
July 9th was their graduation. About 2000 people including family members, friends, pastors, school directors and local business managers attended the ceremony, a joyous occasion of hope for the future. These young people had applied themselves to the following disciplines: Tiling, Cooking, Sewing, Driving, Computing, English.
This Graduation Ceremony was special in many ways: it allowed us to honor the sacrifices of these young men and women who worked hard and sometimes had to take the roads under a rain of bullets to make it to the school. Some of them live at the far end of the province which requires about two to three hours walking one way when they don’t have money to pay a moto taxi. They have worked hard and risked a lot for that.
The Laureate of the computing program could not hold back his tears when he was receiving his gift computer for his class position. Neither his mom nor his dad could attend his graduation. While he was at graduation rehearsal, gangs invaded his house and set it on fire. His family miraculously escaped, but they did not get a chance to save anything from their home.
All has seemed dark and hopeless, with the people in that part of Haiti being stuck. Because of the gangs, they cannot go to the nearest city Croix-des-Bouquets where they used to go for mostly everything.
The graduation was full of music, dance, songs and colors. It offered a relaxing space that people really needed to set their cares aside to honor the achievement of these young people, to feel life and recharge for three hours.
On Monday morning, the day after the graduation, the Director of the Police of Ganthier called me to express his disappointment because he did not receive the invitation we sent for him to attend the ceremony. I am quoting him, “Pastor, you have no idea how much participating in that ceremony would have helped me deal with the stress I am facing to keep the town safe.”
Everyone seemed super happy. Local media shared the ceremony on Facebook live. The pictures and videos of the ceremony were all over on social media. The afternoon also offered opportunities for the graduates.
A school director who was participating in the ceremony recruited three graduates from the English program to teach at his school. A couple contracted the top chef in the cooking program for their wedding ceremony in August. And two Tiling graduates found jobs to tile a school the week after.
We hope to track the path of the whole group and keep you posted. Some of them have ideas to create a small business, but they lack the necessary funding for that, for instance three of the Computing program graduates mentioned they would like to open a Copy Center which is very needed in the town.
We are committed to equip the youth of Ganthier with the education they need to move closer to the future they deserve. And with your help, it can become a reality.