At The Schoolbag, we believe education can make children's dreams come to life. Knowledge means opportunity, self-advocacy, global communication and understanding, and quality of life. Happy and prosperous futures, with a healthy family and valued career, stem from this early learning process; each year of schooling increases an individual's earning by a global average of ten percent.
For many, however, even going to school never becomes a reality, largely due to lack of school supplies. Purchasing school supplies can prove a daunting expense for low-income or impoverished families; nonetheless, children are frequently turned away from class due to inadequate materials (simply a pen or pencil) and are unable to participate in class or complete homework. Over 115 million children of elementary-school age do not attend school. One-third of children do not complete five years of formal education, the minimum for basic literacy.
Education levels in Haiti are extremely low, with literacy around 53 percent (significantly lower than the 90 percent average in Latin America / Caribbean). In 1997, the government passed a 10-year education plan, with the goal of universal access to quality schools. The education budget increased from 9 percent of national budget to 22 percent in 2000, which paid for school lunch, uniforms, and bus transportation programs. In 2002, the government began a literacy campaign, facilitated by 30,000 literacy monitors and the distribution of 700,000 literacy manuals. School attendance rose from 20 percent in 1994 to 64 percent in 2000. Even with these improvements, the country still faces severe shortages in educational supplies and qualified teachers, and the rural population remains vastly underrepresented in classrooms. Most schools are private rather than state-funded; international private schools (run by Canada, France, or the United States) and church-run schools educate 90 percent of students. Haiti has 15,200 primary schools, of which 90 percent are non-public and managed by the communities, religious organizations or NGOs. The enrollment rate for primary school is 67 percent, of which less than 30 percent reach 6th grade. Secondary schools enroll 20 percent of eligible-age children. Here is a partial list of schools in Haiti. Higher education is provided by universities and other public and private institutions. It falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.
Lack of access to, or availability of, satisfactory school supplies and materials prohibits many children from learning. Acquisition of knowledge is the first step on the path to global sustainability, prosperity, and world peace; innovation and progress stem from education, a universal right. The Schoolbag allows students to further their studies, particularly those living in disaster or conflict-stricken areas or chronic poverty.
The Schoolbag enables children to pursue an education by providing basic school supplies to young people in need. Raising awareness about the lack of access to education around the world, each bag contains adequate materials for one student to learn for one year. The Schoolbag features environmentally sustainable and ethically produced tools and materials to initiate environmental education. And it begins in Haiti!