HELP’s admission policy is open, objective and competitive. Only Haitian students with a straight-A or A+ average (7.5/10 in Haiti) throughout secondary school are eligible to apply for HELP scholarships. An admissions committee evaluates the applications, giving most weight to high school transcripts, but also considering baccalaureate scores and an essay. Finalists are interviewed by the committee and must demonstrate financial need. In the past two years, HELP received 500 eligible applications, but due to financial limitations was only able to accept approximately 15% of applicants.
In order to attract the best students wherever they may be, HELP recruits nationwide, making annual visits to all ten geographic departments in Haiti. HELP has partnered with the Digicel Foundation to produce radio spots to inform secondary school students about HELP. Conscious of the extra obstacles facing young women, HELP has a strong commitment to gender development. HELP recruits at all-girls’ schools nationwide, encouraging girls to stay in school.
No. HELP only supports Haitian students studying at internationally accredited universities in Haiti. There are several important reasons for this approach. First, sponsoring students to attend local schools represents a highly cost effective investment. Secondly, Haiti suffers from an extreme skills gap and lacks a professional class due to decades of repression and instability. The result is 84% of university-educated Haitians living outside the country, creating a “brain-drain” of monumental proportions. Finally, providing scholarships for students to study in Haiti helps to strengthen both the local university system and the local economy. In short, as a nation that needs a massive increase in university enrollment, Haiti will not be able to educate generations of its citizens outside the country.
No. HELP sponsors only undergraduate studies in Haiti.
HELP scholarships cover full tuition at internationally accredited universities in Haiti, textbooks and school supplies, stipends for basic living expenses and housing. HELP also offers academic counseling, internship placement, career support, and mandatory classes in English and computer literacy. All students volunteer at the HELP Center, tutoring and providing accounting services, IT support, library management, etc., and participate in a leadership training program.
HELP has need for skilled volunteers – such as journalists, photographers, filmmakers, teachers, and environmental science and IT professionals. If you are interested in being a HELP volunteer, email your resume along with a brief description of the type of work you would like to do, and we will contact you if we might be able to utilize your skills. One way that most everyone can volunteer for HELP is to host a fundraiser in your community. In the past, HELP supporters have hosted dinners, dances, silent auctions, raffles, and more. Learn more about hosting an event for HELP.
From time to time we accept donations in large quantities of items such as new computer equipment, textbooks, etc. However, HELP is generally unable to accept donations of most goods, as they are difficult and expensive to ship, store, and distribute in Haiti. Monetary donations are usually the most effective way to help our students in Haiti.
The devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th affected HELP greatly. Two HELP students, Marc-Erline Dezulma and Evenson Jean, died in collapsed buildings. HELP has established a scholarship fund in their memory. The HELP Center was also completely destroyed, and 40% of the staff members in Haiti were injured. In the face of the death and destruction, the staff and students moved to an undamaged dorm building and set up a temporary Center, working with recovered electronic and paper files and donated equipment. Now, all the universities have reopened and our students are back in class.
Thanks to the support we received in the months following the earthquake, HELP was able to re-establish a learning environment in the midst of chaos. We placed more than 80 students in internships and volunteer positions with organizations such as the Red Cross, the United Nations, and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, allowing students to apply their education and leadership skills while supporting their fellow Haitians. Learn more about the impact of the earthquake on HELP and our role in the relief and recovery efforts.