This is my friend Miquette. Raised in the mountains of Haiti she saw her mother and father give up her youngest sister and a cousin to an orphanage. She stood on the side lines as they left their country for America, never knowing if she would ever see them again. Most orphans in Haiti are orphans of poverty, meaning their parents are alive, but unable to take care of them, unable to meet their basic needs of food, shelter and water. Mothers and fathers and children are dying every day in third world countries from starvation-every day. Their best option was an orphanage.
Miquette did see her sister and cousin again. The family who adopted them kept a promise to Miquette if she was able to keep her promise to her country-to return to Haiti with an education and give the same opportunity to children in her home country of Haiti. She was brought to Minnesota by the family, with hardly any English, and placed in a school in Detroit Lakes, MN. She went on to learn English, graduate High School, go to college and get her nursing degree. She is one of the strongest, hardest working, grittiest people I know. She is beautiful, inside and out.
She lives in Haiti with her husband and their two adorable boys. She runs a 501c3 called TeacHaiti, a school in PaP with a second being built in her home town of St. Michele - where students are given a good education, they are given a chance. Miquette is paying her opportunity and blessings forward, she is keeping her promise.
Miquette became a good friend of mine while I work at Quisqueya Christian School in Haiti, she worked there part time as a nurse and biology teacher. When I left Haiti and began Cedar and Cypress Designs she came on as a partner. As she is still living in Haiti, she works closely with metal workers and artisans and is a supporting partner of our work and products in addition to her role at TeacHaiti. She provides education and jobs and encouragement. I am humbled by her life and her example.
Last week I got to hear her speak here in Minnesota. She brought with her one of her "success stories", Valentine. When Miquette returned to Haiti, she was given money for ten scholarships from her board. There was no school yet, she had no children of her own, she had just graduated and had a dream of helping change the lives of children and families in Haiti through education.
Miquette went to a school and asked which children were in danger of being kicked out because they had not paid. This is common in the Haitian education program, most schools are private and students are required to pay monthly-many attend and never pay. This results in teachers also not being paid which trickles down to poor, under-educated teachers working in many schools.
Miquette was handed a long list with over 50 names on it. She asked which students showed the most promise, who were the hardest workers, the ones who wanted to be there, but simply could not pay. Valentine was close to being kicked out of school for not paying, but she showed significant promise. She was brought into the office and met with both the director of her school and Miquette, she was told that she no longer had to worry about paying for school. She no longer had to wake up, get ready for school, but not know if she would be allowed to attend, to learn. She was given a chance and an opportunity.
Valentine now works at Quisqueya Chrisitian school as the snack shop and lunch room manager. She has over 15 people who she oversees and is loved by every single student and staff member. She is welcoming and kind and has taken her opportunity and made something of her self. She is in America until July 6th for the first time ever. I was inspired by her speech at the TeacHaiti benefit and am encouraged by her success and her story.